The Furst Kwattery Review N'at

An odd start to the year, we're nae actually that far off the same number of points we had last year and whilst we've learned how to win cup games and shocked oursels by actually haein a nae bad UEFA campaign there's much frustration as we seem to be lethargic and struggling to find oor groove ye ken?

Fifteen points per round is about par for guaranteeing a Top 6 slot but would leaving us requiring a post-split miracle to get back intae Europe, but as always the first round of games only really gives ye an indication about each sides capabilities, the second round gives ye a better opinion on their abilities, so to be honest I'm nae unduly concerned yet.

Yes, United can go 10 points clear if they beat us on Saturday but over the last few years we've hauled back and blown similar sized leads and as always I'd much rather be pish in the autumn than pish in the spring.

Squad-wise the loss of Russ was always going to be the biggest question mark and for the first few games with Seve being rotated into defence we looked very dodgy, but perhaps due to the criticsm he got, Tango has given Zander and Consi the gig and let them sink or swim.

Fortunately Zander looks like he's back to the player we thought he was going to be a few years back, in fact I'd go so far as to say there may be a case for giving him the armband if he continues to improve, and while Consi has cost us a couple of games he looks stronger and more comfortable with each passing game.

I'll save ye ma patented 'Langfield's an adequate but nae great keeper' moan this time and while Soapy didnae do too much wrong you have to question why Langfield was left out for so long on a point of principle as it's obvious the defence is much more comfortable with him in there.

Up front and in midfield it's the same moans we've had over the last few years, the strikers cannae score but this is a knock-on fae the fact their supply is so erratic and there still seems to be a dearth of creativity again in our midfield play, but I'm quite confident once JdV and Aluko get bedded in we probably start seeing the game Tango has been promising us.well since he arrived basically.

As for the Cuprinol Coated one, well that night in Dnipro pretty much made Reds like masel who questioned the wisdom of renewing his deal accept (like it or not) his new deal is now pretty much a stick on and there's little point banging on about it...though I still maintain the critiscms are as valid now as they were pre-Dnipro.

To be fair bar the disasterous Tactical Tombolery on opening when a 10-man Arabs side overran a Seve-less midfield he's nae dropped too many rickets and bar the bungled attempts by his Weegia pals to get him on the Leicester shortlist aside he's nae said anything truly moronic so far...which makes a pleasant change.

As for our form, well…

August was turgid, the Tannadice fiasco followed by a non event vs Hearts with Tango getting it in the neck for really only the 2nd time in his Dons career for hooking Lovell (try telling Hunday Mail hack Gordon Waddell that though….mind you that's the moron who gave us the 'Snoba's in Cool Bags' myth so what else could we expect).

Against the Tims we actually looked decent for the first 75, then as they say about marathon runners we hit the wall and lost….similar story the following week against Hibs, with a draw the outcome this time.

September wisnae much better, Killie were mugged at Stade De Eggchasers, Dingus brought Well north and did to us what we've done to many a side in recent years and sucker punched us 2-1, and a dismal domestic month was brought to a close with a lilylivered collapse at the Govan Sewer before we huffed and puffed past Gretna.

October began with THAT night in the Ukraine…a night of drunken celebration causing many a Torry Holiday and a Citywide pandemic o Torry Flu that will stay long in the Red Army consciousness.

Smurn were then disposed with minimal effort, as were Caley as Zibi and and an OG maintained our unbeaten streak against the Heelanders.

We were then taught a lesson in European Fitba in Athens, but a lesson that will make us a mentally stronger and technically better side in the long run provided we take it in the right way.

Echoes of Anfield '80 perhaps? One hopes so, and if so then book yer seats for the UEFA Cup Final in 2010 now lads (and Stef)…nah I think we'll leave boasting about future Euro glories to the LSC.

A disappointing draw wi Falkirk produced much gnashing of teeth and wailing but given time will hopefully be seen as just a pair o silly points we'll drop thru a season and the month was closed out with a win in an empty park against oor biatches fae the North (or Caley if ye prefer) to set up oor first semi in eight years (thers a Viagra/hard-on gag in there somewhere) against dem' Bun Uglies at Hampden in January [**UPDATE: Currently we are playing United, but f*ck knows who it will be in 4 hours time...** - Ed]

Well that's us up to speed, like I said before nothing to get over excited about but at the same time nothing that's too bad either. I'm quite confident we'll be back in our usual unexciting but effective groove by the time I bore the pants off ye wi the 'Halferish Review' some time in January.

In the meantime, we're in the middle of one of those scheduling quirks that sees us play four games at Pittodrie followed by road trips which dinna see us at the Auld Lady o' Pittodrie St until Hibs come up just after the advent calendars get opened.

Harry Potter and the Trundling Uglies on Saturday followed by Inverurie Loco's Russian feeder team then a trip to Big Bad Mad Vlad's Pink Gorgie Big Top to see the tumblers n' clowns and Wee Gordy and his monobrowed followers at the Bredanbau sandwiched around THE game o the month at Hampden…ok so there winna be any Reds involved….well apart fae the Big One who's manager before we close it all oot in the Vincente Calderon…..whata feckin easy month all round eh?…we'll pish all o'er them!! (Note to self: Lay off the Bolivian Marchin Poodah at work min)

Anyway, as long and droning as this has been, tradition demands I go thru the rest o the SPL gaun 'Och their pure pish' so….

The Tims and Buns are there for the taking in a head to head but realistically their both still too strong to stay with over a full season so we'll ignore them…ditto Gretna,Smurn,Caley and Falkirk who are so pish their nae worth wasting any mair pixels o'er.

Nah we're in a wee six-team league initially to sort out the remain four Top 6 spots and then UEFA slots.

The usual suspects fae previous years are all there…. Hibs - As always look classy but still have that in built implosion button and in Ma Calamity have added to that fine line o pure pish keeper starting wi Zibi.

Hearts - Snigger!!!

Killie - Said when Boyd left they'll struggle…they didnae. Same thing wi Naismith I reckon. Jeffries is a manager I respect but wouldnae want anywhere near Pittodrie.

The surprise packages are the Pikeys and Well.

Many folk are salivating o'er the return o' Dingus and to be fair he does look on first impressions, to be back to the sort of performance that saw him rated as one of Britains hottest managers in the early 90's, but he has had a full squad to play with lets see where he is when the injuries and suspension hit before we install him as oor 'King o'er the Water' eh? Plus I suspect his return to Scotland has more to do with being handy when wee Gordy walk fae Parkhead rather than eyeing the Pittodrie big chair.

As for the Pikeys….we'll deal wi them in a bit more depth the morra, but as expected Levein has sorted them out and I've been struck wi the similarities with oor first year under the Fat Git…sorry I meant 'Oor Divine Leader'...right doon to folk specualting when 'their bubble will burst'.

I've got the same reservations about them as I have wi' Well regarding injuries and suspensions but if the déjà vu first season thing I think it will be the lack of players with experience closing out campaigns that will do for them as it did for us.

Anyway awa n' rest yer eyes we'll rubbish them the morra.

Stand Free and the usual bollocks!

The Red Avenger