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Match Preview | Aberdeen v Livingston

April 21, 2022 3:51 pm Author: Aberdeen FC
Match Preview | Aberdeen v Livingston

 

Competition: cinch Scottish Premiership
Match: Aberdeen v Livingston
Venue: Pittodrie
Kick Off: 15:00
TV Coverage: RedTV International, Virtual Season Ticket and Pay Per View. Audio Commentary is available to RedTV UK subscribers.
Reminder: RedTV subscribers must link their Dons Account to RedTV to access the match coverage. Click here to find out more.
Virtual Season Ticket holders can access the stream on the dedicated Virtual Season Ticket site. Please click here & login in using your usual VST details.
Post Match on RedTV: Reaction at full time, full match replay available from 10.00pm and extended highlights from midnight.

Manager Jim Goodwin spoke to the media on Thursday lunchtime to preview the first of our post split fixtures with Livingston at Pittodire on Saturday. To watch in full on RedTV, please click here. 

“It goes without saying that is not the scenario that we had hoped for. We believed that we were capable of getting into the top six and we had to beat Ross County to do that. Unfortunately we were not able to do that on the day. I don’t think that it was down to a lack of commitment or effort from the players, I think that we were not good enough in the final third. We had 14 attempts on goal, we only had two of those on target. Fair play to Ross County, they came to our place and got the job done.

“We now have to refocus everything on the remaining five games and make sure that we finish best of the rest in seventh place. There is still a lot riding on it for a number of different factors. From a club’s perspective there is prize money for every place in the league, finishing seventh would be the best we could hope for right now.

“Players have got different situations, some are playing for their futures here at Aberdeen, others are playing for their future elsewhere. We all want to try and restore a bit of pride. We all want to finish the season off on a positive note and win as many games as we possible can.

“The players attitude and application to both training and games has been very, very good. There are certain games where we hold our hands up and say that we were not good enough on the day. The Hearts game we deservedly lost, we went to Ibrox, which is always a difficult venue but we held our own for large periods of the game. We didn’t do enough to win the game but we were unlucky to lose a very sloppy goal.

“The other games, I think that we deserved to beat United, I thought we should have beaten Dundee but for two silly set plays and against Ross County we had more than enough possession and more than enough attempts on goal to win that game as well. The bottom line we were not good enough in the final third. We need to accept that and try not to deflect the blame anywhere else.

“As a group, my staff and my players will all take it on the chin. It has not been good enough, we can only try and make amends as best as we can in the games coming up. The players attitude in the last couple of weeks has been brilliant. They know that we are not winding down here by any stretch. We are not thinking about holidays here. We have to go and make sure that we get enough points on the board so that we can drag ourselves away from the bottom of the table and to ultimately finish best of the rest in seventh place.

Looking Ahead to Saturday

“The boys are in great shape. There is no anxiety or nervousness.  Myself and my staff, all we have been doing is encouraging the boys to try and have that self belief. Obviously confidence plays a part in any walk of life and winning games gives you that. When you are in the position that we are in, yes they might not be as confident as we would like them to be but at the same time they still have to have a positive mindset going into the game.

“We know that we will be in a challenge on Saturday. You know what you are going to get get with Livingston in terms of their commitment and their effort. They are not the long ball team that they might have been two or three years ago. Davie Martindale deserves a lot of credit for the changes that he has made to the system and to the personnel. They have got some very good footballers in their team that can cause us some problems of our own.

“We have to give them the utmost respect. We will be favourites to win the game and we need to accept that. To be a player to play for Aberdeen, you need to be a certain type of character. The ability is all there, we have got some very good players within the ranks but you need to be able to handle that level of expectation.

“You are at a club that is ambitious, that is not in the position where it wants to be. I do not ever begrudge fans booing teams off the park or venting their frustration, like they did against Ross County. I will never shy away from that. I will never not walk around the pitch to thank them for their support and I will never not accept the responsibility of the frustration that comes my way while I am doing that like I did against Ross County.

Improvement

“We know we need to improve, we know we need to do better next season and we will do that. I can only foresee good things happening next season. Once we get a proper pre-season under our belt, once we get the recruitment right which we are doing a lot of hard work on. Steven Gunn, Darren Mowbray and myself are working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the quality of player that we bring in, will ensure that what has happened this season will not happen again. It is all well and good me sitting here talking about it, I am pretty sure people will say that talk is cheap, lets see it. Give us the time to make the changes that we need to make and I can assure that next season will be a whole lot better.

“I don’t think there is a whole lot to change in terms of the system. I don’t think that the reason we have lost the games has been a tactical one. If I think back to the goals that we have conceded, a silly penalty against Ross County, a silly penalty against Dundee Utd, a couple of set plays against Hearts and Dundee. That all comes down to key moments in the games that we need to better and our decision making needs to be better in those occasions. We need to be a bit more clinical on the top end end of the pitch.

“If you look back on all of the stats from the games that we have been involved in, we have had so many entries into the opponents box, so many crosses, so many shots, but the fact of the matter is our conversion rate is not good enough. We are trying to give the boys that belief and that confidence and we are working hard on that on the training pitch. One of these days it will click and hopefully it will be Saturday. In terms of personnel, there is scope there now with boys back from injury, and other players getting fitter, who have been out for a long time. Maybe I will make one or two changes, you will have to wait an hour before kick off before you get those team lines!

“There is nobody here, whether that is a player or a staff member that is in holiday mode. There is still a lot of work to be done here. We need to be realistic about the situation that we are in. If the teams below us start to win games and we don’t, then all of a sudden you start to get dragged into a real relegation battle. I am not arrogant enough to sit here as Aberdeen manager and say that we are too big a club to think about that type of thing happening. I do believe that we have enough here in the squad at the moment to drag ourselves away from it.

Remaining Five Games

“Our ambition and our focus needs to be now on finishing seventh. Albeit we will not celebrate that at the end of the season because it has been a real disapoitining campaign. That is our short term objective right now, is to go and try and win the next five games and restore some pride. Any time a player and myself as manager, the team goes onto the pitch, we are being judged. Whether you are under contract here and you have two years left or no years left, it doesn’t matter. You are still playing for your jersey, you are still here to play for Aberdeen or your trying to impress someone else to try and get a move elsewhere.

“We have also got players who are fighting to be involved in the international set up as well. There is still a lot to play for and we want to give the fans something to cheer about. The supporters have been absoueltly brilliant since I came to the club and I have said that on a number of occasions. You can see that already with the backing that we have had from the season tickets, I think we are well over 6,000 now which is incredible off of the backing that we have already had. We thank them for their support, I never take that for granted but we need to give them a team that they can be proud of and one that they want to come and watch and hopefully over the next five games we can restore some pride and finish the season on a positive note.”

Head to Head

Overall:

Played 30, won 16, drawn 8, lost 6. Scored 40, conceded 27.

At Pittodrie:

Played 15, won 9, drawn 3, lost 4. Scored 22, conceded 15.

Last five games between the sides at Pittodrie

01/12/21: Aberdeen 2 (Hedges, Bates) Livingston 0
02/02/21: Aberdeen 0 Livingston 2 (Lewis og, Devlin)
23/09/20: Aberdeen 2 (Ferguson pen, Wright) Livingston 1 (Pittman)
26/12/19: Aberdeen 2 (McLennan, Anderson) Livingston 1 (Dykes)
16/3/19: Aberdeen 1 (McGinn) Livingston 1 (Sibbald)

The Last Time Out at Pittodrie

We last faced Livingston in Aberdeen back in December when we ran out 2-0 winners. Ryan Hedges put us ahead with a fine strike in the first half and David Bates got his first goal for The Dons in the second half when he connected with a Jonny Hayes free-kick to secure the three points. The away side finished the game with ten men when Jackson Longridge was sent off after picking up two yellow cards.

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Dons go down after controversial calls

April 23, 2022 6:23 pm Author: Aberdeen FC
Dons go down after controversial calls

 

ABERDEEN 1 LIVINGSTON 2
SPFL Premiership
Pittodrie
Saturday 23rd April 2022
Attendance: 12,338
Referee: Grant Irvine

In a game shrouded in controversy, Aberdeen fell to another home defeat after some big calls went against them in the Pittodrie sunshine. In many ways the 90 minutes summed up the season as a whole, the Dons having a lot of the ball but not the goals to show for their efforts.

There was one change to the Dons side that lost 1-0 to Ross County a fortnight ago in the final game before the split. Jack MacKenzie came back into the starting XI with Christian Ramirez starting from the bench.

Livingston made two changes after missing out on the top six at the death in their previous game against Motherwell. Andrew Shinnie and Adam Lewis replaced Alan Forrest and James Penrice.

Pittodrie had a start rather than end of season feel to it, bright sunshine and an immaculate looking playing surface greeting the players. Aberdeen made a bright start too, Jonny Hayes’ fourth minute corner nodded back across goal by Lewis Ferguson, Ross McCrorie stretching to get on the end of it only for Livi to clear their lines. Hayes was impressive again moments later, twisting into space just inside the box and drifting a shot wide of the target.

In the seventh minute, from a Connor Barron free-kick, Funso Ojo was in a similar position to Hayes, just a handful of yards further out, but his curled shot didn’t quite bend enough to hit the target.

On 13 minutes, Marley Watkins and Ferguson exchanged passes around the edge of the area, the Welshman looping his effort over the bar from there. Ten minutes later, a dangerous looking cross from the left from Vicente Besuijen was just a shade too strong for Watkins to reach at the back post.

Aberdeen had dominated the opening spell but were unable to find a goal despite the number of corners and crosses going into the visitors box.

Hayes was in the book for brushing Lews with his arm as he turned past him on halfway on 28 minutes, a very harsh looking yellow card for the Irishman. Yes he caught the player, but it was completely accidental.

Livi would have been in front on 31 minutes but for sharp reactions from Joe Lewis at his near post. Nouble fired in a cross, David Bates stretching to intercept but only diverting it at goal at some pace, Lewis taking the ball full in the face to save. Ojo followed Hayes into the book on 35 minutes for hauling back Nouble as he tried to accelerate away from him on halfway.

A Dons corner on 38 minutes caused chaos. Stryjek claimed a McCrorie header at the back post. The Livi goalkeeper charged through his area to try and make an early throw out. Besuijen was in his way and as they collided, the goalkeeper appeared to flick his right glove into Besuijen’s face. He fell to the floor but when he finally got back to his feet, it was the Aberdeen man who was booked and a free-kick awarded against him, Stryjek also cautioned.

From there, Livi were on the break and in the lead on 41 minutes. Shinnie cut inside and crossed for Bailey. His header was brilliantly saved by Lewis but it was Devlin who reacted quickest, following to stab the ball home.

On 44 minutes, Lewis hurled himself into a tackle on Barron, off the floor and seemingly with studs up, but all he conceded was a throw in.

HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 LIVINGSTON 1

Longridge replaced Lewis for the away side at the break. Aberdeen threatened early on, McCrorie finding Besuijen in the inside-right role, the Dutchman’s low shot across goal fielded by Stryjek. McCrorie was in the book on 52 minutes for a late tackle on Bailey.

Neat football almost had Aberdeen level on 54, Besuijen’s clever back heel putting the ball in the path of Watkins. He released MacKenzie down the left and his ferocious drive was batted away by Stryjek at the near post.

Declan Gallagher was next to come close on 62 minutes. An Aberdeen corner was half cleared back to Hayes on the right and he fired in a cross to the back post, Gallagher acrobatically volleying over. A minute later, Hayes tried his own luck, cutting in from the right before firing over at the near post.

Livi made their second change on 65 minutes, Kelly making way for McMillan. Three minutes later, after a clever through ball, Shinnie got inside Ojo and the referee awarded a penalty when the opposition player went to ground in the area. It looked a soft penalty as there was very little contact. Holt was the man to take the kick, and, after hesitating in his run up, he clipped his shot against the underside of the bar and in for 2-0. Christian Ramirez immediately replaced Gallagher.

A speculative lob from Pittman on 73 minutes might have made things worse as he chased down a long ball but fortunately, his effort from 30 yards was well over. Shinnie was then substituted, Montano coming on after 74 minutes.

Things went from bad to worse on 78 minutes, McCrorie clipping Holt in midfield and a second yellow for McCrorie followed – the Dons were down to ten men. While that was going on, MacKenzie needed treatment and eventually had to come off too, Teddy Jenks replacing him.

Good feet from Besuijen saw him move away from three defenders. He found Watkins and on to Ramirez. He got plenty of power on his shot from 18 yards – and a deflection, Stryjek somehow shovelling the ball over his shoulder and over the ball with eight minutes left.

Lewis was to smart action at the other end a couple of minutes later, plucking a swerving Longridge shot out of the air as Livi were on the break. Calvin Ramsay replaced Watkins on 86. The visitors replaced Bailey with Soto at the same time.

A penalty for the Dons in the 89th minute, Obileye hauling Ferguson to the deck as he was about to fire at goals from ten yards. From two yards further out, Ferguson buried it in the corner. Suddenly, with five added minutes to play, there was a faint sense of panic in the Livi ranks but Aberdeen couldn’t find the one clear opportunity to try and force the draw.

ABERDEEN: Lewis, Ojo, Gallagher (Ramirez 71), Bates, MacKenzie (Jenks 80), Barron, McCrorie, Ferguson, Hayes, Besuijen, Watkins (Ramsay 86).

Subs not used: Woods, McLennan, Considine, Polvara, Ruth, Milne.

GOAL: Ferguson (pen) (90)

SENT OFF: McCrorie

BOOKED: Hayes, Ojo, Besuijen, McCrorie

LIVINGSTON: Stryjek, Devlin, Fitzwater, Obileye, Lewis (Longridge 46), Holt, Pittman, Kelly (McMillan 65), Bailey (Soto 86), Nouble, Shinnie (Montano 74).

Subs not used: Konovalov, Maley, Boyes, Sibbald, Anderson.

GOAL: Devlin (41), Holt (pen) (70)

BOOKED: Stryjek, Obileye

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