Standing Free – End of Season Summary – 1.4

In post 1.1, you saw we trailed Celtic by just a couple of points going into the newly introduced Scottish winter break. We did still have to play them twice, however, and after our narrow 1-0 defeat against them at Celtic Park, they had the upper hand going into the home stretch of my first season in charge of Aberdeen. Here’s how the second half of the season panned out.

League

So after that narrow loss away at Celtic, we went on a brilliant run of form that culminated in us going into the last day of the season in top spot. Who were we playing on the last day of the season? Our title rivals, of course.

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You can see the heartbreaking result above, but to relive it again, head to the Tweet below and follow along with it.

If you don’t have the time to read all the Tweets, well there’s only really one Tweet you need to see. So it’s 2-2 in the 87th minute. A draw sees the Scottish Premiership crown come to Pittodrie. And then this happens.

Honestly unbelievable. This is the definition of being FM’d. Completely and utterly screwed sideways. Why didn’t Joe Lewis parry it to the side, or catch it?! And just what are my players doing with that stray ball. Fucking clear it! Eugh, I’m not over it. I won’t be over it for a very long time.

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So Celtic won the league. Their draws nearly cost them, but fair play to them only losing once all season. We scored more, but they conceded less. It was close, and in the end, our inability to get results in the two matches against Celtic cost us dearly. Will we do it next season?

Domestic Cups

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We couldn’t beat Celtic in the league, but we certainly got the better of them in both the domestic cup competitions. A great 2-1 win at Celtic Park in the League Cup quarter final just 2 games after they’d just beaten us there in the league was pleasing to say the least. Comprehensive wins in the semi final and final, saw us bring the first piece of silverware to the club under my management.

The Scottish Cup semi final was an epic. Well, it wasn’t until the 89th minute. The game had been a snoozefest, until Gary Mackay-Steven, who’d become a bit of a nemesis of mine, opened the scoring with a minute of normal time left. Gutted, game over I thought, but at this point, I was fully concentrating on the league. We’d sneaked an 88th minute win against Motherwell just 2 days prior, so I went into the game with low expectations. Take the defeat, move on, and win the league (lol). Niall McGinn had other ideas, and straight from our kick off, we equalised. I do love an insta-highlight. Cup matches in this restructured Scottish database go straight to penalties, and we triumphed. Stefan Johansen missing the decisive penalty after it’d gone to sudden death.

Domestic cup double winners. Not too bad at all for the first season in charge. It was oh so close to being a treble…

Europe

Europe? But you’re already out? We are. We didn’t make it past Christmas, you’re right. However, Celtic did. They’re our main domestic rivals, but on the European stage, we’re working together, hand in hand to improve Scotland’s coefficient.

Our overachieving qualification for the Europa League group stage certainly helped in boosting our coefficient points to 20.300, but like I said in the half way point update, Celtic had the chance to add to that total.

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And they did just that, making it all the way to the Europa League semi final. Ideally, just a couple more wins instead of draws would have been nice to really skyrocket that coefficient. Their performance though leaves the country on 23.050, and moves us up 3 places to 20th in the country rankings. 17th remains the initial aim, which would give our qualifying teams a better chance in the Europa League.

Players of the season

Shay Logan

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The fans player of the year, and a huge part of our success across the season. The wing backs are integral to my tactic, we pretty much rely on them to get forward and supply service into the box. Shay did just that this season, laying on 24 assists. 11 man of the match awards too, and it’s easy to see why our fans gave him their vote. He was the man mostly providing the crosses for…

Adam Rooney

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The fans player of the year pick sometimes throws up weird selections though. Looking at Rooney’s accomplishments for the season, he’d be a shoe-in surely. League team of the year, top scorer in the league, and league player of the season. 2015/16 was a ridiculous season for our main man upfront. 22 goals in 23 league games, with 35 goals from 44 starts in all competitions. If he hadn’t been struck down with a broken collarbone with a few weeks left of the season, would we have won the league? It’s difficult to determine…

Promising prospects

I just introduced you to our newest youth prospects coming through, our under 20 side won their respective league this season, but there are some promising youngsters on the fringes of the first team too. Meet our homegrown starlets.

Scott Wright

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A natural striker, he’s been mostly getting appearances as our inside forward on the left hand side. He made 10 appearances this season, albeit 8 of those came from the bench. He did manage to bag a couple of goals, and a couple of assists though. His pace, acceleration and composure make him ideal for the inside forward slot in my side. I’m looking forward to him progressing even further.

Cammy Smith

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Cammy Smith actually had a brilliant season. Despite being just 20, he bagged 14 goals in 22 starts, mostly as Adam Rooney’s back up, however he did play in the wide positions a few times too. 4 of his goals came in Europe, and he dragged us through a few of those early encounters in the qualifying rounds.

Frank Ross

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The youngest player to be in and around the first team. He’s had a few loan offers but I’m reluctant to let him leave, I’d much rather he played a few times with us and I was in control of his development. He actually didn’t play very much at all, just a few times in cup competitions, but he’s here because he managed to score his first goal for the club in those appearances. So much more room to develop, I really like some of his mental attributes. Specifically decisions, work rate and teamwork.

Summary

So, a domestic cup double and missing out on the league, and a first season treble, in the most horrific way. Looking at it on the whole, it’s a good season but I can’t shake my rage yet.

Next season, where this season we were initially happy to be challenging for the league, I’ll be looking to mount a serious challenge next season. We can take Celtic on, 100%.

Squad-wise, some will go, and some will come in. I’ve got my eye on a few targets, but as before, they’ll be a distinct Scottish flavour to our recruitment. A reminder that having not just Scottish players, but our own homegrown players is essential for the league matchday squad rules. The lure is strong to bring in recruits from elsewhere, but I’ll need to be selective and clever on that one.

Weird aspects of this edited database keep appearing, and as the season went on, our progression in both domestic cup competitions saw us handsomely rewarded as the rounds went on. Winning the Scottish Cup brought £1m into the club coffers, on top of a £4m windfall for finishing 2nd in the league. The finances have never looked healthier which gives us a great opportunity to improve the clubs infrastructure.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to Tweet me or comment if you’ve got any questions or want to chat through anything about the season!

3 thoughts on “Standing Free – End of Season Summary – 1.4

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