The continuation of Aberdeen’s bad run by drawing with St Mirren meant they missed another chance to heap pressure on Celtic in the Premiership standings.
The Dons are three points behind the Hoops, who are struggling badly, and catching them should be a target.
In recent weeks the Reds’ form hasn’t been good. Although there have been mitigating circumstances with players missing through injury and Covid-19 isolation, it’s still been disappointing.
There have been some pretty lacklustre performances and Saturday’s game in Paisley ended up being another one.
One of the factors behind that was the sending off of Lewis Ferguson and after that it was always going to be difficult to dominate the game.
Confidence seems to have been dented and this has been shown in performances, but things can improve and improve very quickly, because the players Aberdeen have are capable of better.
But results have gone against Derek McInnes’ side recently, with just one win in seven games in all competitions.
There have been some good performances in there, but also some patchy displays that have been below the standard expected by Aberdeen.
A big push needs to be made to halt this run and improve the results and performances.
Going out of the 2019-20 Scottish Cup and then the League Cup last month were blows for everyone connected to the club, but Aberdeen still have a great opportunity to make a statement in the Premiership by overhauling Celtic – who are in freefall just now.
There is still a lot to play for and it can still be a good season, but the players need to start producing the performances to back that up.
The Hoops can definitely be caught and that has to be a target for Aberdeen, to challenge Celtic in the Premiership.
In recent times Celtic have been the team that have stood in Aberdeen’s way so often and now, when the chance is there to turn the tables, the Dons have passed up some good chances recently against two of the bottom three and that’s frustrating.
When it comes to the specifics of Saturday’s game in Paisley there has been plenty of debate surrounding Ferguson’s sending off.
My take on it was that he was lucky it was only a yellow card for his first challenge, but then unlucky to get a second yellow card for the incident with Jon Obika.
I felt Ferguson was fortunate he only received a booking from referee Bobby Madden for his sliding challenge on Jamie McGrath in the first half and I think the Aberdeen midfielder knew that judging by his reaction.
But I can fully understand why the Dons are unhappy about the second yellow card Ferguson received.
It was an awkward challenge – Obika was quite cute in using his body to gain an advantage and initiate the contact and he did appear to catch Ferguson in the chest with his elbow.
However, there was a tug at the shirt from Ferguson and in the modern game you have to be very carefully because once you’re on a booking you’re walking a tightrope and even innocuous fouls can result in a second yellow card and that’s what happened on Saturday.
It was Shay Logan’s poor pass that led to the incident where Ferguson was sent off and when a team is on a bad run those little mistakes seem to lead to something bigger.
Scotland should be targeting top spot in World Cup qualifying group
The World Cup qualifying draw gives Scotland a great chance of reaching the tournament.
The national team has drawn Denmark, Austria, Israel, the Faroe Islands and Moldova in Group F of Qatar 2022 qualification.
Topping the section provides automatic passage to the finals, while finishing second secures a play-off spot – and Scotland are capable of a top-two finish.
It’s not going to be easy – we’ve found over the years just how difficult qualifying can be – but it’s easier than we might have expected.
Steve Clarke and his side have a good chance of finishing in the top two.
This group compared with previous World Cup campaigns is pretty favourable.
Generally you hope to avoid the powerhouses of Europe like Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, England, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands and we have.
Although they’re still a good side, Denmark from pot one is definitely preferable to any of the other sides I’ve mentioned.
Often enough in the past Scotland have drawn these sides and, before the group even starts, you’re basically resigned to playing for a play-off spot because those top sides usually win their groups.
Austria from pot two isn’t bad either and this should be viewed positively by the Tartan Army.
When you take into account the progress that has been made under Clarke and the form shown to qualify for next summer’s European Championships, if that can be continued then there is nothing to fear.