Andrew Considine Feature
In the first half of the season Andrew Considine became only the sixth player to make 500 senior appearances for the football club, joining celebrated company in Willie Miler, Alex McLeish, Bobby Clark, Stewart McKimmie and Jim Leighton.
In the context of the modern game, where players come and go with remarkable frequency, Considine’s record is all the more astonishing, not least when you also recall that he missed almost a year of football with a broken leg. There’s no question about it, Andrew Considine is a bona fide Aberdeen legend.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to now be alongside such incredible players on that appearance list, it really is very special. It’s truly humbling to be included in and amongst these names.
“Thinking that I’ve played 500 games is a bit surreal if I am being honest. This is my 17th season at Aberdeen as a professional now, but I can still remember the early days, going all the way back to when I was signed up at 11 years of age. I have been here a long time but I feel like this has come around quite quickly. I have enjoyed almost every moment.
“My dream was always to make it as a professional footballer. I left school when I was 16 and initially, I almost signed for Rangers. But I always felt that I had more chance of getting into the Aberdeen first team and the rest as they say is history. I’m still here!”
Andrew has followed in the Pittodrie footsteps of his dad, Doug, who won the league during his time here as a player under Alex Ferguson. Understandably he has been a big influence on Andrew’s career, but so too has another big name in Aberdeen’s recent history, as he explains.
“I have always seen Russell Anderson as a mentor. When I broke into the first team, he was probably the one player, along with Ryan Esson, who was my gym buddy. Added to that, as a player Russell did a lot for me.
“I will always remember we played Queen’s Park at Firhill in the League Cup and we lost on penalties. I played alongside Russell in that game and I remember coming back up the road on the bus after the game and it was a horrible experience. It was a very quiet bus, but Russell made a point of coming up, sitting next to me and speaking to me. He said that although we lost, he felt I played well that night. Little things like that when you are a young boy help massively. It made the journey that little bit easier.”
Picking out particular games from a run of 500 isn’t easy, but there are certain stand outs, including a spooky encounter with St Mirren when Andrew scored his first goals for the club.
“My dad had called me the night before and told me he had a dream that I scored a brace. It was so weird that it actually happened! I knew it was my day as I gave away a penalty late on but Jamie Langfield saved it and we won 2-0. That was a highlight back in the early days.”
It’s not all highlights of course and a broken leg back in 2012 put a real halt on his progress for the better part of a year.
“I would say that the mental side of it was the toughest part. I was lucky that Chris Clark was recovering from a long term injury at the same time so I had someone, someone who was experienced, to help me through it.
“It was a long nine months. I had never broken a bone in my body before that incident. I was lucky because there was a specialist surgeon working in Ninewells at the time and I got my operation within a couple of days. I did not land up in a cast, I got a pin and a couple of screws put in my ankle, which took some time off my recovery.
“I will always remember the week before I started training again I ran up some sand dunes at Balmedie beach with John Sharp. I was borderline being sick! It was me and Michael Rose. It was horrendous, but he got me fit and I am grateful to him for that.
“Nine months is a long time out, but all the hard work paid off that night that we beat Motherwell in the League Cup quarter-finals at Fir Park. I have spoken about this on many occasions, but it’s my favourite game. I came off the bench and scored and helped the team win a very tough game with ten men. It was a very emotional evening for me. We then went on and won the cup which made the game even more special.”
Ambition is a key driver when you have clocked up such a huge milestone as 500 games. Thankfully, there are plenty of targets till in Andrew’s sights, including a possible Scotland cap.
“The way I look at it, there’s always still time. I’ve seen players older than me getting international call ups. Football is a game of opinions and the Scotland managers have taken the view that other players do a better job. I’ve come to terms with that. That is fine. The only thing I can do is to keep playing consistently week in, week out and hopefully change the current manager’s mind.
“I’ve had six managers now at Aberdeen. I have had to consistently prove to people that I can do a job. I’m still having to do that. If I did get called up one day, it would be fantastic. Maybe I’ve just been unlucky that Scotland has in recent years, and particularly now, good options down the left side and also that the current coach has decided to go with youth. It is good to see young boys like Scott McKenna and also Ryan Porteous getting involved. But I do feel the older I have got I have got better. I feel that I would be good enough to play.
“Here at Aberdeen, I think I could get to 600 games. If we keep getting to Europe that helps! The biggest thing is looking after myself and keeping myself fit. Touch wood, I have not had a lot of injuries and if I avoid them, then the appearances will continue to rack up, though I think I’d need a pretty long contract to get anywhere near Willie Miller!
“I have always looked after myself. I’ve never been blessed with pace ,so I feel that doing my upper body weights helps, but it did hold me back for a while as I was overdoing it. I feel now I am in the best shape of my career and if I can keep on top of that then there is no reason why I can’t play more games and climb higher up the appearances table.
“My ambition is certainly to finish my career at Aberdeen. We’ve now moved out to Cormack Park. It is the move the club have been desperate for, for 10 or 15 years, but we finally got there. We’ve only been out there for a week or two but it already feels like home. Everybody is together.
“I was out coaching with the U14s the other day and having all the youths together, it really is such a game changer. It gives players, young and old, the chance to practice as much as possible before and after training. It can only be good for the long term future of the club.
“If you want to be a player and have a good career, you have to sacrifice a lot. I wish I had sacrificed more, especially when I was a young kid – between the ages of 17 and 20. I wish I had my head screwed on a bit more. You need your rest, you need to eat well, you need to look after yourself.
“I always wish I’d had someone like Graeme Kirk around at that time, our sport scientist. I spent a lot of time in the gym with Ryan Esson, but I got too big and too heavy up top. It was actually when Mark McGhee came, he helped me lose a stone and I played some good football under him.
“My secret to playing that number of games is probably keeping my head down and working as hard as possible, especially on my weaknesses. The fact I have had to prove people wrong over the years who have doubted me has spurred me on. People have said I am not good enough, why is he still playing there, we should get rid of him. I have seen it all, but you grow a thick skin over the years. You have to!
“That negativity is sometimes a good thing because it gives you that drive to prove people wrong. It’s the same in all walks of life, but when you have thousands of people screaming at you, you need to be able to deal with that. It is part and parcel of football.
“I am pleased I have been able to grow that thick skin. I do not read any of the papers anymore. I do not take notice of what is said on social media. I know if I have had a bad game. I will analyse it and there are plenty of people around the club who I can speak to.
“But the biggest thing that has kept me going is a love of the game. Every day driving into the training ground, being able to do something that you love and play for my team, a team I have watched since I was a kid, it has been an absolute dream and I have been very lucky to have played 500 times for this wonderful club. It has been amazing.
“And to have had a testimonial too was special. It was a fantastic year. I had my golf day, a great dinner and the game against FC Twente when I had all my family there. It was a great year that I will always remember. I have a big plaque on my wall with pictures from the night, some fantastic memories. I only ever wanted to play football and I have been fortunate enough to pull on the red shirt. To do something you love is truly special.
“You don’t do it alone. All the managers I have worked under and the players I have played alongside have helped me massively. One of the biggest influences has been the current manager. He has built my confidence by having faith me and I feel that my game has got better and better over the years. I feel that I can still get that bit better. Getting to play every week helps but with that comes challenges. I need to still prove in training every day that I am good enough and then in games that I am worthy of a place in the team.
“I have played alongside some very good players. At the moment I have internationals around me like Scott McKenna and Niall McGinn. Playing alongside these guys brings me on as a player. I also feel that this is one of the strongest squads that we have had in years. Scott Wright is still a long-term injury but once we get Funso back, hopefully at some point in December, then the manager will have different options and choices.
“It has probably taken until now for us to gel. I think Zak coming into the midfield has helped give us a steeliness in the middle of the park that helps Lewis Ferguson. He has got the legs to play that position and he is good with the ball at his feet. I think Zak and Lewis can form a good partnership with Craig Bryson also in there too.
“Every summer in recent years, there have been six or seven boys leaving, so you don’t get the chance to build long-term relationships. That is football nowadays, but it has meant we have maybe not started seasons so well, as it takes a little while to get an understanding going.”
Andrew is also quick to point out the debt he owes to his family in posting this 500 game milestone. A real family man, they are the cornerstone of his career.
“My wife, and my two boys, Harry and Teddy, they help put things into perspective. I think I am a lot more grounded nowadays. When you have a disappointing result and you are down, then you go home and see your boys with a smile on their face because they are pleased to see you, you realise there is a lot more to life than football when you see that.
“I play football for them. That is what I feel now. I want them to feel proud of me and hopefully one day they will look back and say my dad did that. My eldest son turns five in January so he knows what I do. He is football daft.
“All he speaks about is big Joe, he wants to be a goalkeeper. It’s a dagger through the heart, I am not going to lie, not because of big Joe, but because he wants to be a goalkeeper! He does a lot of football classes and he said recently, “I just want to be in goals now!” My youngest is starting to play now as well. The two of the them play football in the house together and I am going to be supportive of them like any parent.
“It reminds me of going down to watch my dad play when he was still involved with Banchory St Ternan. It was something my older brother and Douglas loved to do. The way dad talks to me about the game has changed over the years. I feel like now, I need to ask him how I played whereas early on, he used to give me a call after a game and I knew what was coming! He would be very quick to tell me where I went wrong and what I needed to do.
“Now I also speak to my wife, she comes to all the games home and away and we will sit and mull over things after a game. She has told me a few times if I’ve not had a good game and that did not go down too well! But seriously, she has been a massive influence on me and made me better as a person and as a player.
“There is nothing better than the love of the family, that’s what it’s all about”.
ANDREW CONSIDINE TIMELINE
15/05/04 SPL |
Steve Paterson, in his final game in charge, hands Andrew his Aberdeen debut on the final day of the season against Dundee. It was the defender’s first season as a full-time player.
27/01/07 SPL |
Andrew’s dad Doug, who was a league title with Aberdeen in 1980, has a dream that his son would score two goals against St Mirren the night before. The follow day Andy scored his first two goals for the club!
04/10/07 UEFA CUP |
Against all the odds, in his first European tie, Andy helps his side drew with Dnipro in the UEFA Cup first-round second leg in Ukraine, Aberdeen winning on away goals. The win led to some memorable nights against the likes of Bayern Munich. Andy has so far played 35 games in Europe.
14/02/12 SCOTTISH CUP |
Andrew wheels away in delight after scoring a late winner against Queen of the South in a fifth round replay. It was revenge for the semi-final defeat in 2008, where Andy had scored two goals at Hampden. In total he has five Scottish Cup goals. He would go on and win the AFC Player of the Year award that season.
30/10/13 SCOTTISH LEAGUE CUP QUARTER FINAL |
Andrew rises to head the ball home and give Aberdeen the lead late against Motherwell in a match that Andrew has picked as his favourite game. It was his first match after almost a year out recovering from a broken leg.
16/03/14 SCOTTISH LEAGUE CUP FINAL |
Andrew Considine, Barry Robson and Nicky Low celebrate with the League Cup trophy after the 4-2 win over Inverness CT on penalties.
27/03/15 ANDREW CONSIDINE TESTIMONIAL MATCH |
Andrew at his testimonial match against FC Twente.
16/07/15 UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE QUALIFIER |
Andrew heads it home to put his side 1-0 up against HNK Rijeka in Croatia, his first European goal. The Dons would go on and win 3-0, one of their finest away wins in Europe.
31/03/17 SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP |
Andrew with the match ball after scoring a hat-trick against Dundee at Dens Park. He is the first and only Dons defender who has scored three goals in a game. He has gone on and scored 37 goals.
17/05/17 SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP |
Andrew helps Aberdeen secure their first win at Ibrox since 1991. Three more wins against Rangers in Glasgow followed last season, in three competitions.
13/05/18 SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP |
Andy celebrates with team-mates after he fires the away side in front at Celtic Park on the final day of the season. His favourite goal. The 1-0 win meant Aberdeen finished second and above Rangers in the league. He is once again named AFC Player of the Year.
24/11/19 SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP |
Following in the footsteps of Willie Miller, Alex McLeish, Bobby Clark, Stewart McKimmie and Jim Leighton, Andrew makes his 500th appearance for Aberdeen, only the sixth player to have done so.