Aberdeen play their final game of 2020 against Livingston tomorrow night and, in a year like no other, on the pitch, it has been a good year for the Dons.
In the Premiership over the last 12 months and particularly since the 2020-21 campaign started, Aberdeen have been very consistent.
I know there has been some displeasure about certain results and performances at points this season.
However, you look at a side like Hibs – who are below the Reds in the league – a lot of observers are quick to say that Jack Ross’ side are having a magnificent season.
Meanwhile, Aberdeen are above them and are also having a very good campaign, but not getting the same plaudits.
That’s the strange way football can be at times, but at this point it is shaping up to be another good season for Derek McInnes’ men.
The only negative of the first half of this campaign has been going out of two cup competitions in November.
If the Dons hadn’t lost to Celtic in last season’s Scottish Cup semi-final and to St Mirren in the last-16 of this term’s League Cup, it may have put a slightly different slant on things.
However, in the Premiership things have still been very good.
It’s all about consistency in a league campaign and over the first half of this season. Aberdeen have been pretty consistent in terms of the level of performance they have produced and the results attained.
The Dons are well set up for 2021 – particularly if they can win at Almondvale tomorrow evening. Finishing third is very much within their grasp and the opportunity is still there to put sustained pressure on second-placed Celtic.
In the league things are looking good for the Reds and it’s only those cup defeats that have been the major negatives of the first part of this season.
Squad has been strengthened in 2020
Despite everything that has gone on off the pitch with the coronavirus pandemic and the impact that has had on Aberdeen and other clubs, McInnes has still been able to strengthen his squad.
The manager has been well-supported by the board and was able to make a number of good additions in the summer.
Although the Dons’ squad has been tested at points because of injuries and Covid-19 absentees, there is a lot of strength in depth there and good cover in every position.
Up front Marley Watkins was an influential player, who has been a miss since his injury at the start of November, and it remains to be seen whether his loan from Bristol City will be extended.
But, while he’s been out, Sam Cosgrove and Curtis Main have returned and Ryan Edmondson is also a good option leading the line.
In the other attacking positions Ryan Hedges has had a very good first half of the campaign, Scott Wright was doing well prior to his injury, Connor McLennan has also played his part and you’ve got Jonny Hayes and Matty Kennedy as well.
Then you have somebody like Niall McGinn, whose game time has been fairly limited.
In central midfield Lewis Ferguson and Ross McCrorie have been very good and there’s also Dean Campbell, Funso Ojo and Dylan McGeoch – who has again been bothered by injury – capable of doing a job.
At the back there’s Andy Considine, Ash Taylor and Tommie Hoban, who has managed to stay injury-free since coming back to the club.
Greg Leigh returning to Pittodrie provides another good option at left-back or centre-back. Mikey Devlin’s involvement has been restricted by injury, while Shay Logan and Ronald Hernandez haven’t featured too much, which shows how strong a squad it is.
It’s a very strong Aberdeen squad and I think that has been reflected in the league performances. Going into 2021, they will want to improve in the cups.
Question answered in Saints win
On Boxing Day the Dons did well to come from behind to defeat St Johnstone.
When the Perth side got the first goal, the question was asked of the Dons and whether they could respond and they answered it.
But after the Reds had got back on terms before the break from Cosgrove’s penalty, they produced a stronger performance in the second half and showed belief and character to take the points.
Covid-postponed matches should be played if slots can be found
The games St Mirren and Kilmarnock couldn’t fulfill because of Covid-19 problems may yet be played with the two clubs having appealed the SPFL’s decision to award 3-0 victories to their opponents.
We don’t know how severe the rules breaches by the Buddies and Killie were.
But, from a footballing perspective, you would always prefer to see the games played rather than awarding 3-0 wins.
The SPFL was concerned about not having the space in the calendar to play these fixtures, but, if the dates are there, they should be played.