The Mack-ings of a Good Partnership

While Noel Whelan has just started to become a (fairly mild) target for criticism from some Dons fans due to his off-field activities and time spent on the treatment table, Darren Mackie has several years' experience in this area. But there is no doubt that Darren's form in recent weeks has seen a certain proportion of the boo-boys shove a pie in it for a change. Even more surprising than Mackie's re-emergence as a dangerous striker was the news that despite two injury scares during the week, Darren's strike partner on Saturday was to be the aforementioned Whelan.

The pair did not disappoint as they menaced Dunfermline's physical-but-unwieldy defence all game, and were unfortunate not to have added to the Dons' "goals for" column in the Bank of Scotland Premierleague table. That they, and the rest of the team, did enough to put Aberdeen clear in third place again will be more than consolation for that.

Dons' boss Jimmy Calderwood said after the game: "I thought Noel did really well, he kept the ball up for us. He's not 100% match fit but he's getting there and I think he's taken some good touches and he's clever. I think you can see the quality he's got and he's going to get better and better, if he keeps fit. He got a small knock in training yesterday and I thought we might have to leave him out but he came through it. He's strong, he keeps the ball up and his awareness is very clever. If he were fit he would have scored with that volley in the first half."

Jimmy was reported in the press last week claiming that Mackie was producing his best form in away games and he had become the target of abuse from a section of his own fans at Pittodrie. This was not in evidence on Saturday, and in fairness to the majority of supporters no-one receives a barrage of abuse unless they consistently make numerous blunders and gaffes. With more displays like Saturday's, Mackie will win the supporters round and deservedly so. His pace was a constant source of threat to the Dunfermline defence, particularly on the counter-attack, and the finish for his goal was sublime, lending weight to his post-match claim that "I have been working on my finishing in training and it came right today."

The final word must go to Jimmy again. "People who are saying the bubble has burst are people who don't know us, the bubble's not too bad if its 25 points and we're third. Let's hope the bubble keeps bursting if it stays like that." Shame he couldn't have squeezed in "bouncebackability"...