It is the sort of scenario they may well present to a budding manager during assessment for his coaching badges – what to do if your team is reduced to 10 men after less than quarter of an hour? Oh, and it’s your first ever league game. And it’s away from home.
This, however, was far from the comfort of the classroom for Steven Gerrard.. At a partisan Pittodrie, this was for real.The former Liverpool and England captain thought he had the answer – put your two pacey wingers through the middle, play on the counter-attack, nick a goal, defend your lead and escape back to Glasgow with an opening-day victory.
And how close the rookie boss was to emerging with top marks. Indeed, Aberdeen’s first shot on target did not arrive until the 92nd minute – it just so happened to find the bottom corner via the boot of a teenage debutant who had not read the script. For Gerrard, after impressively negotiating two Europa League qualifiers in recent weeks, this was his first setback.
Interestingly – and somewhat surprisingly – he did not react to it with the good grace you would expect of an individual so intelligent and considered.By the time he came to reflect, the club tie which had completed his suited ensemble had been ditched. Perhaps he had used it in an attempt to string up the referee and his assistants, for they were the source of his ire.
Yes, his frustrations were not entirely without justification, but to suggest a wider conspiracy against his new club after his first Scottish Premiership match in charge match was baffling and deflected from his team’s courageous performance.