Kick Off: 3pm
With Aberdeen’s top six aspirations all but ended for the season, most of their remaining league fixtures will probably be surrounding by a certain degree of malaise. Nevertheless, with a cup semi at Celtic on the horizon Craig Brown will be anxious to build up some momentum ahead of the clash with a team that Aberdeen have failed to beat in five attempts this season. Brown’s old side Motherwell will be anxious to get one over their former boss and will provide Aberdeen with stern opposition, particularly with home advantage on their side.
After three weeks without a fixture Aberdeen have a few new injury worries to contend with. David McNamee is a major doubt with a hamstring strain, Ryan Jack is out with tonsilitis and Zander Diamond is suspended. Dons skipper Paul Hartley has joined their list of long term absentees, along with Fraser Fyvie, Darren Mackie and Yoan Folly. All will probably miss the rest of the season. Derek Young is the obvious choice to replace Hartley alongside Rob Milsom in the centre of midfield (unless he is needed at right back) – what he sometimes lacks in technical ability he more than makes up for in experience and work rate. With Chris Maguire and Scott Vernon both finding the net in Aberdeen's previous fixture, Nick Blackman will have a tough task on his hands finding a place in the starting XI against a Motherwell side that he scored ten goals as a part of during the first half of this season. Interestingly right back Maurice Ross, who spent a brief period with Aberdeen last season, has been drafted into the Motherwell squad and could make his debut after signing on a short term deal from Beijing Guoan.
While it is difficult to drum up enthusiasm for what ultimately will be another fruitless league season for Aberdeen, the remaining fixtures are vital for assessing just how much of an effect Craig Brown has truly had on an underachieving squad. While he had an unquestionably fantastic start, the wins have begun to dry up in recent weeks and the spectre of Mark McGhee’s reign of terror has not yet been fully banished. Brown is a fantastic manager and a strong end to this season would cement my belief that he can lead this Aberdeen team to the league position that its quality arguably merits.