The football season of 1908-9 opened auspiciously for the Aberdeen first team on Saturday, a crowd of about 8000 spectators witnessing a keen and spirited game, which resulted in a splendid victory by the ground team over Saint Mirren. The weather conditions were delightfully pleasant for the crowd, but the players were far from comfortable in the sweltering heat. The teams were:-
Aberdeen: Mutch; Colman, Hume; Halkett, McIntosh, Wilfred Lowe; Blackburn, Muir, Mcnair, O'Hagan, Lennie.
Saint Mirren: Grant; White, Wilson; Key, Robertson, McAvoy; Clements, Paton, Brown, Carmichael, Cunningham.
Referee - Mr. McNaught, Whiteinch.
The Saint Mirren team were the first to issue from the pavilion, followed a few minutes later by Aberdeen. In their new outfits the players looked fresh and smart. A fast pitch gave promise of a lively game. Aberdeen won the toss, and played two wards the sea with the sun at their backs. From the start Saint Mirren and seemed determined to rush the Aberdeen defence, and for a time their aggressiveness prevented the local men settling to their usual game. The Paisley forwards were fast and eager, and several times left the Aberdeen half-backs, only to meet with a resolute pair of backs, Colman in particular showing fine judgment in his tackling and clearing. Mutch, Aberdeen's goalkeeper, was the first to handle, a fast, low shot from Brown giving him no trouble to deal with. Throughout the first half there was a good deal of hard midfield play, with little to arouse the enthusiasm of the crowd. A sweeping rush by the Aberdeen forwards shook the Paisley defence, and Grant distinguished himself by smartly taken the ball from the Aberdeen centre forward. The famous Aberdeen international left wing, Lennie and O'Hagan, were liberally plied with the ball, but, being closely watched, they were seldom able to get clear away. Saint Mirren were frequently dangerous, and nothing but great good luck saved the Aberdeen goal on one occasion, Paton sending in a terrific shot which rebounded off the crossbar. It is not often that the linesman is rendered hors de combat, but this happened on Saturday, when one of the flag men was bowled over and had to be taken to the pavilion for treatment. Play had been in progress for about half an hour before there was any scoring, and, to the disappointment of the spectators, it was the visitors who started the goal-taking. Cunningham, running past the opposition, shot obliquely across the Aberdeen goal, and Mutch, who made little effort to reach the ball, was some what easily beaten. On the run of the game, Saint Mirren deserved the lead. Nettled by the reverse, Aberdeen displayed more vigour and they had hitherto done, the half-backs in particular forcing the play forward, and stubbornly and resisting the on rushes of the Saint Mirren forwards. Three times the Paisley goal was in danger, but on each occasion Grant was at his post, and was equal to the calls made upon him. In the last quarter of an hour of the first half the Saint Mirren and forwards seldom got past midfield, so keen and determined of the Aberdonian's in their struggle for the equaliser. The resolute and steady Paisley defence, aided by the eagerness of the attackers, who made numerous mistakes, preserved the Saint Mirren goal, and when the whistle blew for half-time the tide of attack had turned, Saint Mirren and being in the act of negotiating a corner kick, given away by Colman in a moment of hard pressure.
Starting the second half in dashing style, Aberdeen equalised in less than a minute, McNair skipping passed White, and beating Grant with an easy, but well-calculated shot. This was exciting enough, but what followed was overran almost sensational nature. A momentary rally was made by Saint Mirren, the result being a call upon Mutch. Then the local men, playing crisp football, and swinging the ball from wing two wing, simply overwhelm the Saint Mirren defence. A brisk attack on Grant ended in the ball being swung across from the left. Muir tried to reach it and failed, and his partner Blackburn got the chance, and made no mistake, driving the ball into the net from 5 yards out. The crowd had hardly ceased cheering, when the Saints dashed away to the other end, and Brown, tricking the defence, slipped through and beat Mutch with a clever shot. Thus three goals had been scored in about five minutes, and the teams were on an equal footing. Hume, the Aberdeen left back, made a bold attempt to stop brown, and in doing so injured his leg, and had to go to the pavilion, so that Aberdeen were back short during the remainder of the game. Notwithstanding the handicap, the Aberdeen men played with great dash and skill, and by constantly attacking kept their weakened defence from being too severely strained. Colman was seldom in trouble, for which he had to thank the tireless trio of half-backs in front of him. The Aberdeen right wing were now are being well-plied with the ball, and they made ground quickly, and, like O'Hagan and Lennie, gave great trouble to the Paisley defence. Grant saved a fine shot by Lennie, but shortly after had to acknowledge defeat for the third time. Mcnair, darting cutely to the left, from near the goal line sent the ball to Lennie, who centred, and Blackburn getting the ball on the run drove it into the net, giving grand no chance. Saint Mirren and did their best to retaliate, but they could make no headway, being well held on all hands. The Paisley team's fate was settled when Aberdeen scored their fourth goal, Muir, in fine position, getting a cross from the left, and netting easily. There was no further scoring, and Aberdeen won a plucky and well-deserved victory.
The Aberdeen men combined better than the Saint Mirren and, and in the second half were, collectively, a much superior team, although the visitors included several outstanding individual players. The two new Aberdeen forwards performed creditably, Blackburn, in particular, giving general satisfaction as a dashing winger and good call-getter. McNair appeared to be slow, but knows his position.
To the amount drawn at the gate and stands was £199 12s.
Source: Aberdeen Daily Journal, 17th August 1908