The Mooch Faces His Waterloo Against Celtic As Underachieving Dons Blow It Again.

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There has to be a trick to it.

To being so chronically bad at even doing the bare minimum.

The Mooch said before the game that Aberdeen are the third biggest team in the country.

Talk about damning a club with faint praise.

The thing is, he’s half right for once. In terms of league form over the last decade or so you can see that they should be.

The trouble is, Aberdeen are the biggest underachievers in the game here if you exclude the fact that the club with the second biggest budget and the second highest wage bill has only won two domestic trophies in the last 11 years.

They at least have the excuse of having been outside the top flight for four of them. They’re in the final here, and Aberdeen are not. Which is another in a long line of check marks against their once famous name.

Outside of Scotland, who remembers them?

Those who do recall them only through the name of the man who was at their helm in the glory days; Alex Ferguson.

And if he had not gone on to become one of the greatest of all time, would people even recall his sterling work at that club?

They were the last team outside Glasgow to win our domestic title; it’s a horrific statistic and all the more so because you cannot see where, or how, there will be another one in our lifetimes.

In 2016-17, when the current Ibrox club had made it to our league, Aberdeen actually pipped them for second place.

The following year, they did it again.

2017-18 was the last time Aberdeen even appeared in the top three.

From having a chance to make that second place their own they have gone backwards.

They had it in the palm of their hands, but there’s an argument for saying that when it came to FFP and forcing a domestic version their club was even more lax than ours was. That was their moment of greatest advantage.

What a mess they have made of it. What a shambles.

Today they had the lead against the Ibrox club for the second time in a matter of weeks.

Once again a moment of utter madness – again, by Stewart who proved in the Pittodrie match that he was a serious liability in these high pressure fixtures – cost them and handed the Ibrox club an advantage that they scarcely deserved.

Their suicidal tendencies are really quite something.

Their players lack the belief that they can be anything more than they are.

That belief has to come from the top, and I mean the very top.

The chairman, not the manager.

The hiring of such an uninspiring figure as Jim Goodwin for the dugout, after the barmy Stephen Glass experiment, should concern fans who think their club should be aiming higher. Of course they should.

They aren’t going to break through their glass ceiling like this.

Their last League Cup win was nearly a decade ago; 2013-14 where they beat Inverness on penalties after a 0-0 draw. That was their first trophy since 1995. They haven’t won the Scottish Cup since 1989-90, another 0-0 draw which they also won on penalties.

Since then, Hearts, Dundee Utd and St Johnstone have won two Scottish Cup’s each.

Kilmarnock, Hibs and Motherwell have all won one apiece.

At some point, when you think of yourself as the third force, you have to stop and ask if you’re only indulging a delusion.

There are those who will say the third force tag actually belongs to Hearts, and the historical cup timeline is certainly more generous and flattering to them than it is the Pittodrie side, but three Scottish Cup Finals out of the last four – and losing the lot of them – isn’t exactly something to boast about.

Their last win in the tournament was actually in 2011-12.

Which means Aberdeen’s last cup triumph is of more recent vintage.

Hearts haven’t won the League Cup since 1962.

I said that we can’t see a challenger in the league, outside of Ibrox, in our lifetime but something nags and me and tells me that it will happen. Because really, as I’m fond of saying you don’t have to be initially good enough to challenge the Glasgow hegemony, the first thing is to prove yourself consistently better than everyone else.

We will see that challenger emerge for real first in the domestic cup competitions, which is where a lot of clubs which go on to great success first sample silverware.

Brian Clough used to talk about how he knew he had something at Derby when they won the Texaco Cup; until then they were only a side which had won what was then the Second Division.

At Notts Forest, his first triumph as boss was the Anglo-Scottish Cup in 1976-77.

The first step towards two European titles was getting those players to experience what it was like to go up and collect a trophy. For some of them it was the first of their careers.

So sooner or later, yes, I do believe there will be a club in Scotland which emerges as not only a third force but a genuine threat. The first sign of it will be when their victorious campaign parades around Hampden as a winner.

Belief will flow from there.

But today we seem light years away from it.

The Mooch has steered his side to a final, and for a day or two he’ll bask in the glory of that before the reality sets in and that reality is that we will be there waiting for him and his team, who were a defensive shambles again today and will not be looking forward to the occasion at all.

Without getting ahead of ourselves, I’m pretty confident.

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  • Ricky says:

    Pish article
    Am no fan of Goodwin or Aberdeen but they played well today .The big boy Juk going off didny help them and of course the sending off was a game changer .
    Tha auld saying about people in glass houses no throwing stones stands here , we were more to blame than any other team for giving that mob a leg up . Pretty poor

    • Scud Missile says:

      Hence why the BITCHING must stop our club and fans have allowed sevco to be innthe position they are today,challenging us,so they only have themselves to blame for that.
      Now hurry hurry and them tickers purchased for the big wrestling match next month,as big Peter LIEWELL has some money to deposit at the bank.

  • John Copeland says:

    When Aberdeen scored in the first half today to take the lead , BBC Sportsound co commentator Willie Miller ,their ex captain sounded as if he had been called for jury duty ! I know he is from staunch Bridgeton ,but for god’s sake show some of your passion for your old club on the BBC

  • Tam says:

    The old rules for an offense not seen was I can’t give anything “I didn’t see it” . When Kent punched Scales the referee was told by Scales he had been punched. The referee is duty bound to ask the grade 1 referee to look at it using the VAR TECHNOLOGY . To help the referees make the correct decisions ……. that wasn’t done today “unsurprisingly” but it should be done NOW

  • Scud Missile says:

    Oh dear your pretty confident well I’m even more confident than you. Sevco will beat us in that final their name is on the trophy as I speak.
    The cheating continues and our fans play their part in contributing to it by attending these games knowing they are fixed.
    So you can BITCH all you want but the league cup has gone the decisions have already been made.

  • Mick S says:

    I dont think thats what the articles is saying at all. Theres no excuses for Scottish teams to push the Glasgow clubs in the league, and compete for trophies without over spending. Look at the success of Brentford, Bodø/Glimt and Midtjylland, with use of data analytics, they find young ambitious coaches, find a system that works, and recruit the right players. In the case of the latter 2 they have even broke the oligopoly and won their first league titles, they continue to compete in their respective leagues, and perform well in Europe for so called small clubs.

  • Paul Blair says:

    James, as an avid reader of your blog, and highly appreciative of your work, nottts forest disnae sound right. I think the great BRIAN CLOUGH, was THE boss /manager of Nottingham Forest.. BIG difference when talking about or discussing the two teams. It’s like the uber ignorant SKY calling dundee, dundee utd. Doesn’t go down well.!

  • Dolphin Bhoy says:

    Well the Mooch is on record when he said Celtic winning the treble is unthinkable. On that basis he is sure to have many sleepless night between now and the day of the final.

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