You would have to look back as far as 1985 to see the last time a team outside the Old Firm won the Scottish League title. Alex Ferguson’s superb Aberdeen side were the last team to break the mould, and are the Dons ready to do it again?
With Rangers having been relegated to the bottom tier of Scottish football, due to financial issues in 2012, it gave all the remaining Scottish Premier League clubs a real chance of not only a second placed finish, but a chance to have a real crack at winning the League title and putting pressure on Glasgow giants Celtic.
Unfortunately, since Rangers were removed from the SPL, Celtic have been relatively unchallenged and have, consequently, won the last four League titles. Aberdeen managed to claim second spot in last season’s title race, but found themselves an unbelievable 17 points behind runaway leaders Celtic.
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So how on earth would Aberdeen manage to close the gap on Celtic and give them a real challenge?
Derek McInnes has built a fantastic and attractive Aberdeen side over the last two years and has managed to progress the club each season, including victory in the League Cup in 2014. With players such as last season’s Scottish League top scorer Adam Rooney at his disposal (who already has six goals to his name this term), strike partner David Goodwillie, captain Ryan Jack and creative players Nial McGinn, Willo Flood, Jonny Hayes and Barry Robson, to mention just a few, McInnes now has strength in depth in his squad.
Aberdeen currently sit top of the Premier League table after eight wins and two defeats, starting the season like a runaway train, winning their first eight consecutive games including a 2-1 home victory over last season’s champions Celtic. That victory alone will have given the Dons massive belief that they can genuinely push Celtic and challenge for the title.
With Celtic continuing to be a breeding ground for players to learn their trade before joining the Premier League or Championship, with players such as Victor Wanyama, Vergil Van Dijk, Fraser Forster, Adam Mathews, Gary Hooper, Joe Ledley and Daryl Murphy all leaving for moves south of the border, this should give clubs like Aberdeen a bigger chance to close the gap and mount a title challenge.
Scottish football is desperate for a new champion after being dominated for far too long by the two Glasgow Giants. With Rangers peering through the shadows and running away with the Scottish Championship, already having yet to drop a point, Aberdeen will surely not have a better chance than this term before the Old Firm no doubt regain their strangle hold on Scottish football.
Celtic, with their resources, I’m sure will come through and take the title, as they always do. However, I firmly expect Aberdeen to give them their biggest test since Rangers left the League and push them all the way.
So come on Mr McInnes and your Aberdeen charges; this could well be your chance to shine and put Pittodrie back on the map.