It’ll be a new dawn for Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday, with the Scottish Cup fourth round clash with Livingston marking Stephen Glass’ first game in charge.
The new boss joins the Dons with just a handful of games in the 2020/21 season remaining – however, on top of a potential dream start in cup, there are also slim hopes of overhauling third-placed Hibs in the Premiership.
Over the Reds’ history, managers’ fortunes on their dugout debut have varied. Of course, change often comes at a time when a club is down at heel, and it can take time for the incoming gaffer to improve things, so there have understandably been some miserable openers, with the list we’ve put together below containing two matches where Aberdeen have conceded five.
However, no less than five new gaffers on the list have managed to get a result against Rangers in their first competitive game – a sure-fire way to endear themselves to the Dons support.
Here are the some notable first games in charge for Aberdeen managers over the decades:
22/4/13 Hibs 0 – Aberdeen 0
Glass is of course succeeding long-serving boss Derek McInnes, who took charge of the Dons for the first time in April 2013.
The bottom-six Reds played out what you could generously term a low-key 90 minutes at Easter Road, in which there best chance fell to Jonny Hayes.
Hayes, who didn’t take his opportunity to score that day, would become one of the most important players of the close-to-eight-year McInnes period at Pittodrie, in which the team racked up high league finishes, European qualifications and cup finals.
26/12/10 Hibs 1 – Aberdeen 2
McInnes’ predecessor Craig Brown also met Hibs in his first match in charge, having watched Aberdeen go down 5-0 the week before to another Edinburgh side in Hearts under the interim team of the two Neils, Simpson and Cooper.
The veteran boss seemed to get the Dons firing, however, and they started quickest at Easter Road, creating a few chances before Yoann Folly fired them ahead.
However, their frailties remained and, on the stroke of half-time, Jamie Langfield’s save from John Rankin gave Derek Riordan an easy finish.
Aberdeen could easily have crumbled at this after a miserable start to the season and being pegged back, but – despite some ropey moments – they were the better side in the second period, with Scott Vernon chesting home a Paul Hartley centre for the win.
30/7/09 Aberdeen 1 – Sigma Olomouc 5
Gothenburg Great Mark McGhee inherited a team which was in the Europa League qualifiers after finishing fourth in Jimmy Calderwood’s final season. However, after 90 horrible minutes, it was apparent they wouldn’t be in them for long.
Czech side Sigma ran rampant against the Dons makeshift defence, containing two midfielders in Stuart Duff and Derek Young, with the home side falling apart in the second period, having gone in at half-time with the scores level at 1-1.
Aberdeen left the Pittodrie pitch to a chorus of boos and would go on to lose the return leg 3-0.
Start as you mean to go on.
7/8/04 Aberdeen 0 – Rangers 0
Aberdeen may have finished 11th in 2003/04, but new boss Jimmy Calderwood hauled them up to fourth in the table in his first season in charge – a campaign which began with an end-to-end entertaining 0-0 home draw against Rangers.
Dons defender Zander Diamond earned plaudits for his performance, denying the visitors, bossed by Reds great Alex McLeish, on multiple occasions.
Calderwood would go on bring a period of top-six consistency to Aberdeen, which peaked with their remarkable UEFA Cup run in 2007/08 where they played Panathinaikos, Atletico Madrid, Copenhagen, Lokomotiv Moscow and Bayern Munich.
15/12/02 Dunfermline 3 – Aberdeen 0
Pele Paterson’s era began with a loss away to Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park.
It was a game in which Aberdeen, specifically Laurent D’Jaffo, had several chances to score, but in which their profligacy was also punished.
Both of the Pars strikeforce of Stevie Crawford and Craig Brewster, two future Dons, got on the scoresheet, the latter with a penalty, either side of a Jamie McAllister own goal.
1/8/99 Aberdeen 0 – Celtic 5
The late Ebbe Skovdahl received a baptism of fire after taking the reins at Pittodrie on the opening day of the 1999/2000 season, replacing Alex Miller.
Celtic’s top-class strikers, Henrik Larsson and Mark Viduka (two), had the game done and dusted by half-time.
After the break, Eoin Jess saw an opportunity from the penalty spot go begging and with it any chance of a comeback. Larsson then scored his second from the spot for the Hoops, before Mark Burchill fired in the visitors’ fifth.
12/2/95 Aberdeen 2 – Rangers 0
Aberdeen’s mid-1990s dynamic forward duo of Billy Dodds and Duncan Shearer both netted to give Roy Aitken a great start to his reign as boss after he replaced Willie Miller.
Over the rest of the campaign, the Dons were able to escape relegation, avoiding bottom spot and defeating Dunfermline 6-2 on aggregate over a two-legged play-off.
They’d win the Coca-Cola Cup under Aitken the following season.
Alex Smith and Jocky Scott
13/08/88 Dundee 1 – Aberdeen 1
Another Dodds, this time Davie, secured a point for Alex Smith and Jocky Scott on their Aberdeen debut, on what was the first day of the 1988/89 season.
Gordon Chisholm had netted for the home side after 57 minutes, but the Dons frontman restored parity six minutes later.
Under Smith and Scott, Aberdeen wouldn’t lose a game – in a campaign where they finished runners-up to Rangers – until an Ibrox loss on November 26.
Smith and Scott would lead the Dons to the cup double in 1989/90.
22/11/86 Aberdeen 1 – Rangers 0
The man who is remembered for having the poisoned chalice of following the all-conquering Fergie actually got off to a great start and didn’t lose a game for almost three months.
He began with a home win over 10-man Rangers in front of a capacity crowd.
Aberdeen’s winner came after 19 minutes, with Davie Dodds again the scorer. The tall attacker nodded home after strike partner John Hewitt’s shot rebounded to him.
Although Ally McCoist could’ve scored for Rangers, it was mostly one-way traffic in the second period, following Dave McPherson’s dismissal for an elbow on goalscorer Dodds before the break.
12/8/78 Hearts 1 – Aberdeen 4
Legendary gaffer Ferguson’s Aberdeen would win every domestic honour, and two European trophies, during his time in charge.
Although there would be no silverware in his first campaign, there was a strong debut showing against Hearts at Tynecastle.
Duncan Davidson and Joe Harper scored for the Reds, alongside a Steve Archibald double, while Eamonn Bannon netted for the home side.
13/8/77 Aberdeen 3 – Rangers 1
Celtic legend McNeill’s solitary season in charge at Pittodrie, before he took over at Parkhead, saw him start with a bang, with Rangers put to the sword in the Granite City.
Drew Jarvie scored from Ian Fleming’s cutback after barely 10 minutes and, although the visitors had a good period which saw them level through Bobby Russell, in the second half both Jarvie and then Joe Harper crashed home to secure the three points.
15/11/75 Dundee United 1 – Aberdeen 2
Future Scotland boss Macleod’s debut was played in terrible weather conditions, however, a penalty from Billy Williamson and another goal from Jocky Scott were enough to overcome a United side who netted via Paul Hegarty at Tannadice.
13/3/65 Aberdeen 2 – Rangers 0
Legendary Hibs attacker Turnbull took the Dons job in 1965 and held it for six years.
His first match in charge of Aberdeen came at Pittodrie against Rangers.
The Reds ran out 2-0 winners thanks to first half goals from Ernie Winchester and Don Kerrigan.
In what was an unusual Division One season, Rangers would go on to finish fifth, Celtic eighth and Aberdeen 12th.
However, Turnbull would turn the Dons into a Scottish football force, winning the Scottish Cup – for just the second time in the club’s history – in 1970 and coming oh so close to the title the following year.
ICYMI – ⚽️🔴 Stephen Glass finally arrives at Cormack Park – but what will be the new Dons boss' immediate priorities?
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