Cup woes continue for dismal Dons

“A bunch of fairies.” That was the grim assessment of Aberdeen's current playing staff by club legend Joey Harper after the Dons crashed out of the Scottish Cup to lower league opposition once again.

Gregory Tade's goal gave First Division Raith Rovers a richly deserved replay win at Pittodrie over the sluggish Dons, who were roundly jeered by their own support on the full-time whistle.

To add insult to injury after the embarrassing defeat, an Aberdeen fan spat on club boss Mark McGhee.

In a tense press conference after the match a devastated McGhee described the walk back to the dressing room as the “most humiliating experience of his life.”

But the Dons boss said he was willing to accept the wrath of the fan who spat on him on this occasion as he “was only expressing his frustration”.

McGhee: Under a hail of phlegm and fire

Admittedly, the Dons really have no excuse for failing to progress against the Kirkcaldy side. McGhee's men had required a Gary McDonald equaliser in the fifth minute of injury time to force a replay at Stark's Park earlier this month.

But at Pittodrie there was to be no miraculous comeback. Instead the toothless Dons exited the competition with barely a whimper.

The odds had looked stacked against a depleted Raith before the match. Skipper Mark Campbell missed the match after being injured in a car accident. A further blow came when their other centre-back Dougie Hill limped out of the warm-up.

But despite coming up against a makeshift defence including midfielder Stephen Simmons, the Aberdeen attack that had looked so deadly when scoring four times against Celtic on Saturday never threatened to trouble Raith keeper David McGurn.

The First Division side's 1-0 victory will be described as a major cup shock but the Dons have been knocked out of competitions by lower league teams so often in recent times the real surprise would have been if they had progressed.

Former Dons boss Jimmy Calderwood will forever be haunted by his Scottish Cup quarter-final exit to Dunfermline on penalties last season, along with Aberdeen's painful 4-3 semi-final defeat to Queen of the South the year before.

Queens players Jamie MacDonald and Robert Harris celebrate their Cup win

This isn't even the first time this season that McGhee's Dons have been knocked out of a cup competition by a First Division side, with Dundee dumping them out of the League Cup back in September.

The general consensus in the press section before the game was that Aberdeen would progress relatively comfortably – particularly when Raith were forced to shuffle their pack minutes before kick-off.

But after about 20 minutes of play you sensed there was only going to be one winner and in the end Raith were good value for their victory.

There will be no knee-jerk reaction from the Aberdeen board and McGhee will be given time to continue his rebuilding process at Pittodrie but he will already be preparing for a major clear-out come the end of the season.

And going by Aberdeen's dreadful performance last night the summer transfer window can't open soon enough.

Previous Scottish football features from Danny Law:
Mon Feb 15: Dons' McGhee vindicated, Accies' Jedward celebrated
Mon Feb 8: Why Scotland will reach Euro 2012... probably
Fri Feb 5: Management is wasted on the young

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