SOME things can be so difficult to watch that you just have to avert your eyes. This happened in real terms at Celtic Park on Saturday, but is happening in metaphorical terms at the club too - we are currently witnessing the painful spectacle of an Aberdeen hero struggling haplessly at the Pittodrie tiller.
It happened with our greatest-ever player in the final season of his managerial tenure in the 1990s, and now it is happening with fellow Gothenburg Legend Mark McGhee. And at least Willie Miller had a couple of seasons of great football, big wins and cup finals behind him as manager. McGhee's Dons side has a Co-Operative Insurance semi-final coming up, but will he be in charge when it comes around in January?
And should he be?
Much was made of the 'Red Revolution' at Pittodrie over the summer - season tickets were even advertised on the back of it. This was always going to be a brave move, as McGhee would have no excuses if it all went pear-shaped this term. It would be his team now, having shipped out the old guard, apart from one or two on long contracts.
That is has indeed gone wrong could briefly be excused by a debilitating injury list, but that is no longer the case. Since the injured players started limping back into the first team, we have played four SPL games and lost three. The 4-2 win against Hibs, which looked like it could verify McGhee's assertion that he be judged when the injured players return, now appears to be the blip rather than the dire preceding results.
Okay, McGhee has had no money to spend; not a single transfer fee has been sanctioned by the Pittodrie board in three transfer windows. But every club in the country has a board that places financial restrictions on the manager they appoint. The right manager will use that money to assemble a team to perform at or above that club's financial position in their league. The wrong manager will use the money to assemble a team that performs below the club's financial position in their league. It's becoming apparent that McGhee is in the latter category.
And then we come to the 9-0. It is as simple as this: 9-0 is Aberdeen FC's record defeat. No Aberdeen manager should survive a 9-0 defeat by anyone. We played Bayern Munich in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup a couple of years ago, and only got beaten 5-1 on their patch. Saturday was worse than embarrassing, it was numbing.
Despite the fêted revolution, nothing has, in fact, changed. Mark McGhee's first game in charge was a humiliating mauling from Sigma Olomouc, with a shambles of a squad, odd tactics, no full-backs and no leader on the park. Fast forward a year-and-a-half, and what do we have? A humiliating mauling from Celtic, with a shambles of a squad, odd tactics, no full backs and no leader on the park (after 26 minutes of the game). [With apologies to redmist1903 for mild plagiarism! - Ed]
So the players have revolved but the performances and results are the same, and the supporters are disappearing in their droves.
That only points to one thing, and the clock is ticking.