Aberdeen v Kilmarnock
Scottish Premiership. Kick-off: 3rd August 2013 3pm
The new season is upon us and I hope to get off to a winning start and will focus attention in the match at Pittodrie with Aberdeen hosting Kilmarnock.
In: Barry Robson, Willo Flood, Greg Wylde, Lawrence Shankland, Calvin Zola, Nicky Weaver, Michael Hector
Out : Stephen Hughes, Rory Fallon, Mitch Megginson, Rob Milsom, Gary Naysmith, Isaac Osbourne, Gavin Rae, Dan Twardzik
As you can see new Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has been a busy boy in the closed season amending his squad and has managed to bring in some quality and release players that I feel more than had their chance at Aberdeen and didn’t really come up to scratch. Stephen Hughes and Rory Fallon are particularly good examples of this and I think that the likes of Flood, Robson, Wylde and Zola will offer far more to the squad of players at Aberdeen.
There are always very high expectations at Aberdeen each year when we are entering the new season and this term it is no different with many pundits considering them to be right up their battling for 2nd place and I certainly think they are capable of this, but will admit, like many have been saying this for about the last 4 seasons…..
I’ve been keeping a close eye on the pre-season friendlies being played by the Scottish teams and by far Aberdeen have been the team that have caught the eye, winning 6 out of 7 of them and scoring for fun too!
Granted some matches have been against teams Aberdeen are expected to beat but they also turned over FC Twente 2-0 last week. It was scoring goals that was Aberdeen biggest achilles heel last season but if pre-season is anything to go by they have solved that problem bagging 21 goals in 7 matches, noticeably with Niall McGinn carrying on his form from last season and scoring 9 goals in these matches.
So once again Aberdeen look very positive going into the opener and surely this season will mount at least a top 4 finish I would expect.
In: Craig Samson, Antonio Reguero, Darren Barr, Kris Boyd, William Gros
Out : Cammy Bell, James Dayton, Cillian Sheridan, Kyle Letheren, Ryan O’Leary
Kilmarnock too have a new manager in Allan Johnston for this campaign after the departure of the mouthy Kenny Shields, who was the first manager I can remember to do a very good job but actually talk his way out of a job!!!
They have been slightly quieter on the transfer front however mainly due to the financial restrictions at Rugby Park. They will miss the reliable Cammy Bell in goals but have signed Samson from St Mirren as a replacement. Cillian Sheridan (and his Christmas jumper…) will also be missed but they have managed to resign fans favourite Kris Boyd again as cover and also picked up utility player Barr from Hearts who can offer cover in midfield as well as at the back.
With Heffernan and Boyd in attack Kilmarnock will offer a big threat upfront but it is in defence that they look a little weak. They also seem to have a very small squad which I feel will see them struggle when the injuries hit this season. I would expect them to finish in the bottom 6 this season pretty much similar to last term.
Verdict : Aberdeen 2-1 Kilmarnock
The Footy Gaffer’s Tips
I’m going to place 2 bets on this match and hope that Aberdeen can carry on their pre-season goal scoring form with Killie nicking a goal.
It has not escaped my attention that Aberdeen have only won on the opening day of the season 3 times since 1995 but I feel given the fantastic pre-season they have had there is definitely a small buzz starting to be heard in the North East again and maybe this season they will fulfil the potential that the Dandy Dons fans have been screaming out for.