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Where are They now? – Derek McInnes First Aberdeen Starting 11

Derek McInnes has revived football in the North East. McInnes and Tony Docherty have taken Aberdeen from an average team underperforming, to a team competing on all fronts domestically. He has managed numerous amounts of players during his stay, but where are his first starting 11 now?

GK – Jamie Langfield

A long time servant at the Dons, Langfield left at the end of the 2014/15 season after losing his starting spot to in-form Scott Brown (The real one). Langfield left after his testimonial to join Saint Mirren where he remains a player/coach. Langfield or Clangers as he was known will always be respected by Aberdeen fans after his time at the club.

RB – Joe Shaughnessy

His time at Aberdeen just wasn’t to be. A player with a lot of promise Shaughnessy judging by his Physique a Centre Back was most of the time player at Right Back and looking back now seems like a waste of a player. Thriving at Saint Johnstone playing a central role Shaughnessy is yet another player who has shined after their time in the North-East.

CB – Russell Anderson

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Anderson in 2013

Aberdeen legend the skipper retired at the end of the 2015/16 season only managing to play one game. Suffering from an injury Anderson missed most the season. The skipper will be regarded by most as a Dons legend and continues to work in a corporate role at Pittodrie.

CB – Mark Reynolds

A solid performer throughout his time at Pittodrie, Reynolds continues to play an integral role in the Dons defence. Taking over as skipper for most the 2015/16 season (during Russell Andersons long injury) Reynolds has played a big role at Pittodrie rarely missing a game. Sometimes underrated, the no nonsense defender has managed to keep his place in the side.

LB – Clark Robertson

Another player never given a chance at Pittodrie, (mainly due to injury) Robertson left Aberdeen at the end of the 2014/15 season. He joined Blackpool where he was relegated during the 2015/16 season. He remained at the Seasiders and was promoted back to League 1 via the playoffs 2016/17.

CM – Ryan Jack

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Jack announced as a Rangers man

Having a successful spell at Aberdeen, Jack was named captain after Russell Anderson’s retirement. Jack was linked to Everton and Napoli during his time with Aberdeen but remained in the North-East until his contract expired. The man from the North-East joined his boyhood club Rangers on a free at the end of the 2016/17 season. The former Aberdeen skipper caused controversy in his move failing to announce his signing or thank the fans. Jack has featured in a lacklustre European campaign, falling at the first hurdle to FC Progrès Niederkorn.

CM – Gavin Rae

Returning to Dundee after his 18 month spell at Aberdeen, Rae now resides in Australia playing his football with Hakoah Sydney City East FC. “I used to sit in the Merkland Road Stand with my dad and watch the games when I was young” Rae said during a 2012 interview with The Herald.

CM – Rob Milsom

Another player who left at the beginning of the McInnes era, Milsom moved onto Rotherham. He was part of the squad which gained promotion through the play-offs in 2014. He went out on loan to bury in 2014 before making a move to Notts County where he continues to play his football.

RM – Jonny Hayes

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Hayes announced as a Celtic player

Arguably Aberdeen’s best player this decade Hayes stepped up his game under McInnes. His ability to beat a man was unrivalled and saw him nominated for two PFA Player of the Season awards. Hayes joined Celtic during the summer of 2016/17 to the dismay of the Aberdeen faithful.

LM – Niall McGinn

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McGinn signing for Gwangju

The Irishmen became a key player during Aberdeen’s success under McInnes. His ability on the wing and constant supply of goals saw him retain his place as a fan favourite at Pittodrie. McGinn left Aberdeen at the end of the 2016/17 season as his contract expired. McGinn has gone onto sign for Korean side Gwangju becoming the first Irishman to play in the K-League

ST – Josh Magennis

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Magennis speaking to the press on Northern Ireland duty

The striker left Aberdeen at the of the 2013/14 season to join Kilmarnock after a loan at Saint Mirren. After a successful Euro 2016 Magennis completed a transfer to Charlton on a two year deal.

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Cropsey – An Intriguing Netflix Watch

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A documentary delving into the mystery that surrounds an urban legend turned to the stuff of nightmares on Staten Island. Two documentary makers share the tales of the urban legend they shared between their friends during their childhood which mirrors a real life crime in a terrifying tale.

The film is a strange one. It doesn’t give a concrete answer but, it makes the viewer think more than anything. It summarises the story of the Cropsey, the urban legend and then looks in-depth at real life Cropsey Andre Rand.

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Andre Rand in custody 1987

Rand a worker at the closed down Willowbrook Mental Asylum he is suspected and later convicted with the kidnapping of a girl from Staten Island. The film looks back at the latest case in back in 2009 when the documentary was made. Throughout the feature documentary studies in-depth other disappearances the real life Cropsey is suspected of being responsible for.

The film is a great look at Staten Island’s past and overall is a great crime documentary. It creates the perception that sometimes the lines between reality and fiction blur in devastating ways.

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A Premier Signing?

Aberdeen look set to sign Shaun Maloney on a free transfer after the he rejected a one year contract extension at recently relegated Hull City. Maloney looks set to return to his hometown as he has agreed a deal at Aberdeen pending the results of a medical.

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Maloney in Premier League action

Derek McInnes is a mastermind at bringing in top quality talent and Maloney (if he signs) is another magical piece of business. Maloney may be aging but, he definitely has something to offer the side.

At 35, Maloney has retained his technical ability, his ability to pass and strike a ball make him an ideal number 10. Playing in behind Adam Rooney or potentially Stevie May, could be the ideal role for the ex-Celtic man. Not possessing the greatest physical attributes it would make more sense for him to play in a central role.

Maloney is renowned for his set-pieces. A corner and free-kick specialist he has proven many times for club and country his ability from a dead-ball situation. With the departure of Niall McGinn (although rumours online suggest he may stay) Aberdeen lack a set-piece taker and this is where Maloney can set himself apart from the rest of the squad.

Something invaluable Maloney offers is his experience. At 35 he has played his fair share of football in some top leagues. The transfer is similar to one of the Pittodrie Bosses first. Barry Robson brought in by McInnes was key to the Dons revival during the 2013/14 season and the Maloney could provide similar experience during the Dons ‘re-build’.

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Dons Disaster – I Think Not!

It has been hailed as the end of an era for Aberdeen, many of the players’ key to the Dons success during the McInnes reign have left. The Aberdeen squad has be obliterated and McInnes needs to rebuild, but, this might not be as bad as it seems.

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McGinn, Hayes, Jack, Taylor and Pawlett all players who have played a big part at Pittodrie have left. Whether it has been on a free or a transfer it isn’t that bad. Hayes departure obviously will be the biggest miss. Everything Aberdeen done the last few season went through the Irishman and when he wasn’t in the squad the side didn’t perform nearly as well. However his departure has been a sad one for the Dons fans and I think it has been made out to be worse than it is.

Hayes who is about to turn 30, bases his game on his speed. He has good technical ability but without his pace that would mean nothing. Generally when players hit 30 they begin to lose their pace (I’m not saying this will happen to Hayes) and for players who rely on pace it can ruin their game. If this does happen to Hayes, cashing in for him now will be daylight robbery.

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Hayes Posing in New Celtic Kit

Although I doubt this will happen, Hayes is a quality player and an Aberdeen without him is ultimately a weaker Aberdeen.

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McGinn in action during the Betfred Cup Final

The other departures aren’t a big issue. McGinn went missing at times last season and never really showed up in the big games. He is replaceable. Scott Wright showed what he can do at the tail-end of last season against Partick Thistle and McInnes putting his trust in him may allow for him to develop into a more complete winger. Although McGinn will be missed as an experienced first team player, who has been a fans favourite since his arrival.

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Jack Announced as a Rangers Man

Ryan Jack departure is disappointing not from the quality lost but, the way he treated the fans. He is a Rangers fan and wanting to join them is ok, but, don’t disrespect the fans that supported you through times where other fans didn’t. Announce it in a respectable way and thank them. Jack was a good player and was solid playing in-front of the defence, but, he can be replaced.

Tansey coming in on a free is the perfect replacement for Jack. A defensive player with better attacking ability than Jack, why would Aberdeen not rather have Tansey?

Taylor’s departure couldn’t have come soon enough to some Dons fans. Taylor was a decent player but too many mistakes ruined his game. If he wasn’t error prone he’d be a great centre back but, he’s extremely error prone. Every time Taylor got the ball at Pittodrie, the fans would project this gasp of nerves that epitomised Taylor’s time at Pittodrie.

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Pawlett and former Hearts manager Robbie Neilson

Pawlett’s departure to MK Dons is being overlooked by Dons fans. He may not have been as big a player as he was during the 2013/14 season where Peter Pawlett Baby was sung from the stands. However he could’ve had a part to play this season with all the departures.

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Ryan Christie in action for the Dons

Ryan Christie and Greg Stewart have arrive on season long loans which is good business, but to mount a challenge next season Aberdeen need some more quality signings. It may also be a good time to give the youth a chance. Aberdeen have some decent youth prospects and given them a shot may pay off.

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Disappointing Dons Miss the Mark with 2017/18 Kits

Over the weekend the new Aberdeen away strip was released and to say it divided opinion is one way to put it. The home kit was released before the Scottish Cup Final where it was the kit of choice on the day.

Aberdeen 2017/18 away kit – 3/5

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The Home top is a simple yet stylish kit, maybe a bit too simple? The design seems more like a training top rather than a kit. The Adidas strips going down the kit is a modern twist on the class three stripes, but, the kit overall looks bland. Last season’s home top was classy, it had the pin stripes going down the kit with a smart collar to match.

The upcoming seasons doesn’t even compare. I think Aberdeen could’ve added something extra to make the kit stand out. It’s a stylish and more modern looking kit but there is nothing unique about it. The kit feels like a carbon copy of any other Adidas kit.

Aberdeen 2017/18 away kit – 2/5

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The away kit has caused many controversies amongst the AFC community. The kit has received many critics upon its release because it’s blue. The kit actually has a really great diamond design blending a dark and sky blue. The Adidas Stripes stop at the arm, which is diffrent but, not in a good way.

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The kit has been shunned due to its colour, but, what fans are forgetting is Aberdeen used to play in blue. The Dons made the controversial change during the late 60s and early 70s. The Dons faithful before the days of social media let the club know their frustration by booing pre-match. The kits design is nice, but, the colour just isn’t Aberdeen. The same design but in silver or black may have been better suited.

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Meat is Murder – The Smiths Missing Album

The album with a message. The slogan seemingly thought up by Morrissey kick started the vegetarianism revolution. It’s actually just a great album, in my opinion underrated by Smiths fans.

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I feel Meat is Murder is overlooked due to the extremist message the album is portraying. There are a few gems throughout the album and the tracks truly represent the Smiths.  The men from Manchester weren’t pleased with their BBC recordings and wanted to show what they stood for. Hence the politically influenced tracks on the album.

Marr showed his musical genius and lyrically Morrissey was on point. What She Said and The Headmaster Ritual are two Smiths classics which makes it bewildering that fans tend to put this at the bottom of the pile.

Morrissey vents his frustration at the poor education system in the Headmasters ritual in what is a Smiths classic. This Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore appears to be about Morrissey’s torment and bullying at school. The album is finished off in what is the bringing together of Morrissey’s disgust at the meat industry and acknowledging the suffering animals go through.

The album has it all, catchy melodies, politically fuelled protest tracks and catchy up beat masterpieces.

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Top that with an edgy yet wonderful album cover based of a picture from an American soldier in Vietnam the album has it all. The Smiths in my opinion hit the nail on its head with this album.

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Paul Hannaford – Drug Dens to Classrooms

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When you were at school did you ever receive a talk from a former drug addict? You may have received a talk about drugs and why they are bad, but never a talk on the real life affects a £400 a day heroin addiction can have.

Paul Hannaford from London shares his life story with school pupils of all ages. His talks centre on his experiences with gang life, drug addiction and self-harm. The work he does aims to reduce the amount of youths carrying knifes, taking drugs and joining gangs.

Hannaford has been involved with crime at many different levels. He began with petty crime as a young teenager, stealing whatever he could get his hands on. As Hannaford grew older he joined a gang and began using stolen credit cards. Hannaford and his gang members would use small businesses to exploit the cards. Hannaford eventually returned to robbery as his Heroin addiction grew stronger. He would rob high street stores for around £2,000 a day, selling the goods on for £500 to feed his Heroin addiction. Since Hannaford has changed his life crime has changed.

Hannaford said; “Crimes at an all-time high. The government say it’s going down but it’s not, 70% of crime involves drugs. There are more drugs on the streets, Cannabis, MDMA and Heroin.”

Cannabis was Hannaford’s second addiction, his first being football. Hannaford grew up loving football and West Ham. He dreamed of playing for West Ham. During his early teens he started to get involved with Cannabis.

Hannaford’s website http://www.paulhannaford.com states; “By year 9 I was smoking cannabis every day. I lost complete interest in football and school, eventually getting expelled and ending up in a pupil referral unit.”

Hannaford said; “Weed is a gateway drug, it’s not for everyone and not everyone becomes a heroin addict. I never thought I’d be a heroin addict.”

Should Cannabis be legalised?

Hannaford said; “Legalise Cannabis with one condition; you educate every child about it.

“The government will take it out of the hands of criminals. It also depends what the government sells, if its weaker stuff people will always be looking for stronger stuff. There will be a black market if it’s legalised, there will still be dealers. “

Hannaford strongly believes in education, he speaks to around 50,000 pupils a year across the UK about his life experiences. Despite speaking to thousands of pupils many schools turn down Hannaford’s offer of a free work shop.

The government claim to have reduced violent crime and crime statistics show they have in Scotland. Glasgow has lost its tag as the most dangerous city in the UK. However gang violence is still a major issue in England and Wales.

Central Government have introduced legislation to educate young adults about the dangers of carrying a knife.

Gov.co.uk states; “Ms Kinsella published her report, tackling knife crime together – a review of local anti-knife crime projects in February 2011.

The report made a number of recommendations including: anti-knife crime presentations for school children, more data sharing between police, schools and other agencies on local issues, a best practice website for local organisations and more work with young children to stop them getting involved in knife crime.”

The government have introduced showing anti-knife crime presentations, but, what effect will that have on a child? None. A child won’t listen to their teacher, as they regurgitate a PowerPoint they presented many times before. They need to see the damage that being in a gang can have. That’s why Hannaford’s work is so important.

Hannaford said; “All the Government have done is increase police power to stop and search. The only way to reduce knife crime is to provide talks in schools from primary pupils to those leaving school.

Make it law that that every school child should receive a talk about knife crime and drugs. If they don’t issue a fine to the person in charge and if they keep not doing it, they should lose their job. Why does one person have the decision which could affect 1,000s of pupil’s lives?”

I would highly recommend to any readers to head over to Paul’s website to receive more information. http://www.paulhannaford.com

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Jack a Judas – 5 Judases

Traitor, Judas, Scum some of the tags given to players who leave their club to join a rival. There have been many incidents of this and the announcement that Ryan Jack has signed for Rangers is the most recent instance of this. It got me thinking who are footballs worse traitors?

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Ryan Jack maybe isn’t the worst but he’s got a place on this list. The most recent example of a Judas he has enraged most Aberdeen fans. 10 years ago this wouldn’t have been such a problem, but know that Aberdeen and Rangers are in direct competition this switch is unforgivable. It’s made worse by the fact that Aberdeen finished above Rangers this season. Within moments of the announcement Jack has been labelled a ‘Judas’ and his return to Pittodrie in the upcoming season won’t be a welcome one. The former Aberdeen captain split opinions at Pittodrie but no matter what any Aberdeen fans opinion on Jack was, he will be regarded as a traitor.

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Luis Figo signing for Real Madrid continues to be one of the world’s most controversial transfers. Clearly Barcelona’s best player at the time Figo jumped ship to fierce rivals Real Madrid for a world record fee at the time. Obviously Barcelona fans weren’t happy and upon his return to the Camp Nou the fans let their thoughts known. Signs were held up with Judas, Traitor and Scum plastered all over them. As Figo took a corner a pigs head was thrown at him form the crowd.

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Sol Campbell

Sol Campbell was Spurs captain and one of Europe’s top defenders so when he decided not to renew his contract at White Hart Lane the fans understood. He said he wanted to leave to find a more ambitious club. What Spurs fans didn’t expect was that ambitious club would be Arsenal. On his return to White Hart Lane he was labelled a Judas and was constantly abused by the Spurs fans. However Campbell would have the last laugh as he was part of the rock solid invincibles defence.

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Ashley Cole is one of England’s best ever left backs, but, also one of the most hated. Cole has been caught up in scandals off the pitch but arguably his biggest scandal was moving from Arsenal to Chelsea. Arsenal had offered Cole a £55 thousand a week contract which he turned down, thinking he deserved more. Cole moved to Chelsea and was labelled ‘Cashley’ by Arsenal fans. Cole’s didn’t receive the best of welcomes upon his returns to Arsenal but arguably made the best decision as he had a very successful career at Stamford Bridge.

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Mo Johnston was a Celtic hero. After a spell as French club Nantes he stated he would be returning to Celtic calling them the biggest and only club for him. Weeks later it was announced Johnston would be signing for fierce city rivals Rangers. What made this transfer all the more controversial is that Johnstone was the first Catholic player since the early 20th century to play for Rangers.   The signing angered both sets of fans. Rangers fan burned scarves and threatened to hand season tickets back to the club all because Johnstone was a Catholic. Celtic fans were obviously aggravated labelling the former Celtic ma Judas. Rangers fans weren’t angered for long at Johnstone as he netted an injury time winner against Celtic.

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Scottish Premiership Season Review

It has been an exciting season in Scotland’s top flight. First place was in no doubt from early on in the season, but the rest of the league has been a great advert for Scottish football. The battle for second went on till late on in the season, European spots were heavy contested and the bottom half of the table was thrilling.

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Aberdeen have had an excellent season. Securing second with Rangers in the league showed they are the real deal. Reaching two cup finals and finishing second has shown their improvement, from the club that languished at the bottom of the table. Narrowly losing to Celtic was heart breaking to the Dons fans as they almost stopped Celtic’s treble. The squad is strong but, with a couple of key players (Captain Ryan Jack and Niall McGinn) on their way out Aberdeen will have to find a way to replace them. Aberdeen should be challenging for second next year and will hope they can put up more of a fight for the title.

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Celtic have showed what they can do under a top class manager. Winning the treble has showed a big improvement as they’ve cut out sloppy defeats to show they are the best team in Scotland. Rodgers came in and brought in some top class signings (Scott Sinclair, Moussa Dembele and Kolo Toure) which have been pivotal to their success. He has built on the squad mentally since his arrival. The side look like they’re going to win every game and have been solid throughout the season. Unbeaten domestically, 34 wins, 4 draws, 0 losses, 106 points in the league Celtic have clearly been the best team in the league. Next season Celtic will have to deal with the pressure of living up to this season, with a few more signings the future could be brighter for Celtic.

Dundee have had a season to forget. Finishing 10th Dee fans would be hoping for much better. The season was always going to be challenging losing their best players (Greg Stewart and Kane Hemmings) but, former manager Paul Hartley should’ve brought in better replacements. Uncertainty around their managerial position, next season could be just as bleak for Dundee. Maybe too early to predict but, they could face relegation next season, if they don’t bring in the right players.

Hamilton have been on the decline since Alex Neil departure. Canning hasn’t managed to get the same motivation out of his players that Neil did and has saw them finish 11th. The loss of Michael McGovern to Norwich was a massive blow to the squad. Accies were expected to finish in the play-off spots, if not relegated, but they would’ve hoped they could do better. Hamilton now have to concentrate on keeping their key players and staying in the league. Maybe it’s time for Canning to go. They need an experienced manager to provide a bit more stability and fight to the squad.

Hearts season has been up and down. They looked a real force under Neilson and looked to be outside contenders for second spot.  After his departure and the hiring of Ian Cathro, their momentum has shattered.  Finishing fifth isn’t good enough for the Hearts fan base. A poor run in the cups has left Hearts fans with nothing to cheer about. Next season may not be as bleak. If Cathro is given the summer to implement his signings and tactics Hearts could be a real force next season.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle will not play in the top flight of Scottish football for the first time since the 2009/10. Caley have been extremely poor this season. Lacking a natural goal scorer for a few seasons Caley have been destined to go down. Billy McKay has failed to hit the goal scoring form he was previously known for. A lack of leaders in the team has sealed what seemed Caley’s inevitable fate. Appointing Richie Foran at the start of the season appears to be a bad decision for Caley. With the clubs chairman Kenny Cameron stepping down the club seems to be a worrying position. Next season will be challenging for Caley. There are many good sides in the Championship that are hungry for promotion. Caley could follow St Mirren’s path of becoming Championship regulars.

Kilmarnock stay in the Premiership despite some doubts. Killie have improved this season. Many thought they could be relegated, but they’ve finished in a respectable eighth place. After Lee Clark’s departure Kilmarnock have looked average and Lee McCulloch may be the man to steer them back up the table. Next season may be trickier for Kilmarnock, trying to keep hold of players and bring in better replacements will be hard. McCulloch may use his connections to bring in some players, but, next season could be more of the same for Killie fans.

Motherwell have had another shocking season. Finishing just three points above the play-off spots isn’t good enough for a club that finished second four seasons ago. Mark McGhee showed his true colours this season, leading Motherwell to a bottom half finish before his sacking. With players set to leave Motherwell need to ensure they hold onto their key players (Louis Moult especially) if they’re to stand a chance of staying up next season.

Partick Thistle have been the most improved team this season. Finishing a more than respectable sixth they’ve put on some great performances this season. Their key players have shown up along with their new signings, they’ve developed into a real force in the Premiership. Next season could see more of the same for Thistle, a few more quality signings and they could put up a fight for Europe.

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Rangers fans may be disappointed with a third place finish, but, realistically that’s the level they are at. Just being promoted and finishing third is a great achievement. Rangers signings have been up and down just as there season has been. Clint Hill being the stand out is on his way out and that could leave a big gap in the Rangers defence. The poor signing of Barton was a major dent in Rangers set up. Mark Warburton’s departure was for the best, but Pedro Caixinha has looked average since his appointment. Next season will be challenging for Rangers, they will need to improve on this season and if they don’t Pedro could be straight out the door.

Ross County will be disappointed with this season. They haven’t looked the side they were last season. Finishing seventh is okay, but, more will be expected of them next season. Liam Boyce looks on his way out County and that will be a huge miss for the Dingwall side if he leaves. Boyce finished the season as the league’s top scorer with 23 goals this season. Those goals are irreplaceable and for County to improve they need to hold onto the Northern Irishman. Next season County will have to improve.

Saint Johnstone finished the season strong. Beating Hearts to fourth was a great achievement with the reward of European football. The Saints have been quiet this season and weren’t expected to finish fourth. The future looks good for the Saints as they will be hoping for more of the same next season as they aim to qualify for the Europa League.

 

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Scottish Cup Final Preview

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Two heavyweights of Scottish football will collide in what is expected to be a hard fought contest at Hampden. Celtic take on Aberdeen in what will be a big game for both clubs.

Celtic have the chance to complete the treble and finish the season unbeaten domestically. Aberdeen have the chance to win the Scottish cup for the first time this decade, with their last vic- tory coming against Celtic in a thrilling penalty shootout during the 1990 Final.

Celtic have had a comfortable route to the final, comfortably beating Albion Rovers, Inverness, St. Mirren and Rangers on route to the final. Aberdeen have had a trickier run, kicking their campaign off against Stranraer they con- tinued to beat Ross County and Partick Thistle before their thrilling match with Hibernian.

Celtic are clear favourites going into the final. They have beaten Aberdeen five times this season, including the Betfred cup final in November. Aberdeen will be hoping they can cause an upset. It’s there first Scottish Cup final since2000 and they will be hoping to take the cup up north with them.

 

Scott Sinclair will be the biggest danger in the final. Sinclair has scored 21 goals and assisted 7 in the league and will be hoping he can lift his third trophy for Celtic on Saturday. When the sides met at Celtic Park Derek McInnes deployed Shay Logan to man mark Sinclair and it seemed to work. Sinclair was quiet in the game and if the same tactic is deployed Aberdeen may gain an upper hand.

Jonny Hayes has been Abre- deens main threat this season. The Irishman has scored 9 assisting 12 and when he hasn’t played Aberdeen have struggled. Hayes netted against Celtic in the last meeting and will have to be on top form if Aberdeen are to win.

Can Aberdeen do the unthinkable, beat Celtic, smash the unbeaten run, destroy the dream of the treble and lift their first Scottish cup in 27 years? Or will Celtic complete a historic treble and continue their domination of Scottish football?