Aberdeen did exactly what they had to do in brushing aside NSI Runavik in the Europa League first qualifying round.
Everyone was expecting the Dons to progress and nothing less than a win would have been good enough.
But the Reds handled the situation perfectly and produced a good performance and the 6-0 scoreline was a fair reflection of how they played.
Often in these ties against sides like Runavik, the first goal is so important.
These teams come to Pittodrie to be organised defensively and try to hit on the break and, when it’s 0-0, they’ve got plenty to play for and can make it difficult.
But once you get the opener, it can knock the stuffing out of them and they have to change their gameplan.
That’s what happened to Runavik, after Lewis Ferguson’s opener, you could see it was deflating for them and Aberdeen seized the moment and quickly added a second through Curtis Main, which meant the tie was as good as finished at half-time.
The side from the Faroe Islands gave everything and didn’t disgrace themselves, but they’re not of the same standard as the Dons and that showed over the 90 minutes.
It was pleased to see Derek McInnes start with Marley Watkins and Curtis Main up front together and, as a pair, they caused the Runavik backline problems in the first period.
Main has missed chunks of pre-season with injury and won’t be fully up to speed yet, but the 45 minutes he got last night will help him greatly.
Over the next few weeks I’m hopeful Main and Watkins’ strike partnership can continue to develop.
They complement each other well and, having watched Watkins in two matches, I’ve been very impressed and it’s only a matter of time before the Bristol City loanee finds the net.
Once Watkins does get off the mark he’s capable of going on a good goalscoring run.
Scott Wright playing just off the strikers put in another good display. He has come back from a long term knee injury suffered last season and seems to be getting better with every game this term.
Ryan Hedges replaced Main at half-time and showed what an asset he can be to Aberdeen with a fine hat-trick and Jonny Hayes got on the scoresheet with a great strike.
What a second half this is from the substitute! 🔥
Hedges drives one home from the edge of the box for his second and Aberdeen's fourth 💥 pic.twitter.com/QD5eealds5
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) August 27, 2020
It was a good win and performance from the Reds, things will get harder in the second qualifying round but another home tie in Monday’s draw would be ideal.
Before then the Dons meet high-flying Hibs at Easter Road in the Premiership.
It will be a difficult encounter, but Aberdeen couldn’t be going into the clash in better form and they have improved in each of the last three games so and there’s no reason why that can’t continue with a victory in Leith.
SFA need to provide balanced punishment to Aberdeen Eight
The eight Aberdeen players who broke coronavirus restrictions were set to find out their punishment from the SFA today.
Bans of between two and 16 games could be handed out, but I hope common sense prevails.
The players made a bad mistake and admitted to that. They’ve been punished by the club but will need to accept a ban as well.
It was a serious breach, but I hope the SFA don’t try to make an example of them with an excessively lengthy suspension.
Is it fair to treat football differently to rugby?
It doesn’t seem fair that football is being treated differently to rugby when it comes to getting fans back in grounds.
It’s important to get crowds back at sporting events in some form as we try to get back towards some normality.
In a stadium the size of Celtic Park or Ibrox certaintly I’d imagine initially around 5,000 might have been able to attend socially distanced as part of test events.
Yet Celtic were trying to have up to 1,000 in attendance for Sunday’s game against Motherwell and it was rejected by the Scottish Government.
It doesn’t make any sense to me when 700 fans will be watching Edinburgh against Glasgow in rugby’s Pro 14 at Murrayfield tonight.
The decision doesn’t seem fair and needs to be explained fully, why is rugby getting treated differently?
It seems like football is being punished because of breaches of coronavirus restrictions – but that was by players.
It’s doesn’t seem right to me to punish the clubs and fans by delaying their return because of wrongdoing by players.
The SFA and SPFL should demand that football is treated the same way as rugby.
The sooner football test events with fans take place the better for the health of the game in Scotland at all levels.