RUSSELL Anderson admits his final day as a Dons player was one he will remember for the rest of his life.
The 36-year-old waltzed off into retirement on the back of a 1-0 home defeat by a St Johnstone side battling to keep their European qualification dreams alive.
But the reception he received from the Red Army – before and after the game – in his last match as a player overshadowed any disappointment Anderson felt about bowing out on a losing note.
The Aberdonian confessed he was particularly touched by the unexpected guard of honour prior to the match, which he enjoyed along with his youngest son, Cole, and match mascot Jamie Williams.
Anderson said: “I didn’t expect that. The manager only gave me the heads up a couple of minutes before we went out.
“I wasn’t expecting my son to be there either because he originally said he wasn’t going to do it. That was a lovely touch. That actually got to me more than the bit after.
“Losing the game was disappointing, the only down part of a day that I will always remember.
“The reception I got from the fans, before and after the game, was everything I could have hoped for.”
Anderson’s day began by spending time signing autographs for fans when he arrived at Pittodrie two hours prior to the 12.30pm kick-off.
He then played the full 90 minutes, despite the fact he had expected to be replaced after about an hour. Anderson confessed his body was “aching a little” when he attended an often light-hearted after-match press conference.
He then did the rounds of the various lounges inside Pittodrie saying farewell to fans and signing autographs.
It was more than two hours after the game finished before Anderson left the ground, pausing to sign more autographs and pose for pictures with the small group of fans who had waited in the hope of getting one last glimpse of their hero.
Anderson will be back at the stadium next week to start work in his new role as the club’s Business Development Executive.
He said: “When it became clear there was a role for me I was excited. I knew I would miss coming into the club every day.
“It will be totally different but is also something that I’m really looking forward to.”