Andy Considine confident Aberdeen squad is ‘strongest in a very long time’

Aberdeen's Andy Considine scores to make it 1-1.
Aberdeen's Andy Considine scores to make it 1-1.

Dons defender Andy Considine accepts there was criticism about the lack of transfer deadline day signings.

But he insists Aberdeen are strong enough to deliver a successful season.

Another step towards proving that is tonight’s home clash with Rangers, which will have a huge bearing on the extent of that success in the Premiership.

It was a case of two into Pittodrie and five out during the winter window with loan deals for Birmingham attacker Greg Stewart and Derby left-back Max Lowe the only additions.

Max Lowe in action for Aberdeen

Transfer deadline day failed to yield any new signings, the only movement being the loan exits of Scott Wright (Dundee), Bruce Anderson (Dunfermline) and Mark Reynolds (Dundee United).

That followed the contract terminations of midfielders Chris Forrester and Greg Tansey earlier in the window.

Sections of the Red Army vented their frustration on social media at the lack of fresh additions on deadline day but Considine is confident the Dons have a squad to compete for honours this season.

He reckons that was underlined by the 2-1 win at Easter Road at the weekend, when the Dons battled back from a goal behind despite losing leading scorer Sam Cosgrove and keeper Joe Lewis to injury in an eventful first half.

For Considine it is quality, not quantity, that counts at Pittodrie.

He said: “I know there was a lot of grumbling about us not bringing in too many players.

“However, we have such a strong squad here.

“I know to some it looks thin but the quality we have is the strongest in a very long time.

“We showed that at Easter Road as the boys were outstanding from start to finish.

“We lost two big players with Sam and then Joe’s head knock against the post.

“Those were two blows but Tomas (Cerny) did well and James (Wilson) could have had two or three goals, he was outstanding.

“We also have a couple of boys out injured who are set to come back. It is hopefully going to be an exciting run-in to the end of the season.”

Aberdeen’s Sam Cosgrove goes down with an injury.

Aberdeen will tonight bid to extend their dominance over Rangers since Steven Gerrard was named manager last summer.

The Reds have won the last two clashes in Glasgow and were held 1-1 at Pittodrie in August.

After that draw, the opening Premiership fixture of the season, Gerrard insisted Rangers “are a class above” Aberdeen.

Head-to-heads and the tightness of the league campaign make a mockery of that claim.

Considine insists those comments are forgotten and have no bearing on the build-up for tonight.

Besides, no added motivation is needed when facing Gers in a game that always delivers that “extra edge”.

He said: “Whatever has been said by whoever, that doesn’t matter.

“Just playing Rangers fires you up. Playing any of the Old Firm fires you up.

“Football nowadays, though, you have to be fired up for every game, regardless.

“Games against Rangers, there is always that little edge.

“Everyone will be up for it and it should be a full house.

“It is a great chance to go second but it is so tight.

“We will go in with confidence and Rangers will go in with confidence so it should be a cracker.”

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

Following the appointment of Liverpool and England legend Gerrard as manager last summer, Rangers were installed by bookmakers and many pundits as favourites to challenge Celtic.

That was despite the Dons finishing Premiership runners-up for the last four seasons.

Gerrard and the Ibrox board have splashed well in excess of £10 million to shift the balance in Scottish football yet have failed to beat Aberdeen this season and are only two points ahead.

Considine reckons the Reds are underestimated every year in favour of the Glasgow two. It is a situation Aberdeen are comfortable with and an assumption they have consistently proved wrong. They intend to do the same this season.

When asked about the focus being on Celtic and Rangers, he said: “Every year it seems to be the same as we get pushed aside.

“However, the manager has always said we take it game by game and that is one thing we do very well at this club. We don’t get ahead of ourselves and our football talks for itself.

“With what has happened over the last five, six years, since the manager has come in, the results have shown that.”

Aberdeen’s Andrew Considine at full-time

Throughout an ongoing centre-back injury crisis, Considine, 31, has underlined his versatility by operating at both left and right-sided centre-back.

Prior to that he had featured at left-back for the Reds.

One of Aberdeen’s longest serving players with 462 appearances, Considine’s contract expires at the end of the season.

He has had preliminary talks with boss Derek McInnes and hopes to step that up soon.

On his Dons’ future, he said: “There is not much happening at the minute.

“I had a conversation with the manager towards the end of last year but hopefully in the next couple of weeks we will sit down again and have a chat.

“This is my 15th year here and I am well settled. It is a fantastic club that has been very good to me but once we have a conversation with the manager we will take it from there.”

Hibernian’s Oli Shaw scores to make it 1-0.

Aberdeen set up the chance to jump to second above Rangers with victory at Easter Road to extend an unbeaten run to six games. That was despite falling behind to an Oli Shaw goal after just nine minutes.

Considine, who netted the equaliser, said: “It was up to probably Tommie (Hoban) or myself to close the space down for the shot and he has let rip from 25 yards and it went in the bottom corner.

“It was a great strike but we had a quick response, which was great.”