Aberdeen 1-0 Inverness CT: Calderwood protest appears futile as McDonald keeps Dons in the mix
Yesterday's win over struggling Inverness keeps them as the closest challengers to Hearts for the coveted third spot and was enough to pretty much quell a widely muted en-masse post-match demonstration organised by Dons fans on the internet looking for time to be called on his term in the hot seat.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of Calderwood's five years at the helm, the vast majority of the North East faithful refused to take part in the demonstrations, although, whether this was a direct backing of the manager is another story all together.
However, from a neutral viewpoint it would seem those who did rally against the management team are still living in an early 1980s fantasy world as with diminishing resources Calderwood, along with Jimmy Nicholl and Sandy Clark, would look to have performed admirably in keeping the Dons healthy and competitive in the right half of the division.
That only 20 protestors showed up said a lot, perhaps many realised how pathetic they risked looking, especially as they would have followed a tribute to the victims of the helicopter crash that claimed 16 lives.
Facing a team with some unwanted black clouds hanging over them, it took no second guessing to work out what Terry Butcher and Maurice Malpas would have been telling their charges to get in and about the hosts in the early exchanges in a bid to take advantage of any nervousness. It was a ploy not without merit as the visitors controlled the opening quarter of an hour with only the reflexes of Jamie Langfield denying Filipe Morais.
Slowly Aberdeen began to make inroads towards the Caley goal. Lee Miller forced former colleague Ryan Esson into a brilliant parry having easily out-jumped his marker to latch onto a Derek Young centre. Charlie Mulgrew followed this with a free kick Esson was happy to see nick the wall on it's way over the bar, with the keeper equally relieved when Lee Mair headed the subsequent corner wide of target when given a free back post header.
If the Red Army were now expecting their team to go on and grab the opener they were to be let down, because as quickly as Aberdeen came into the game they disappeared from it after this brief flurry.
They continued to probe without much purpose as Inverness put up two resilient banks of four and looked to hit on the break.
With half time approaching a series of defensive lapses offered Caley more and more hope, and had Langfield not again thwarted Morais there could have been a lead for Caley to go in with.
It was certainly not a half to have brought about the ripping up of many protesting placards and banners.
Knowing the second half showing of his men was going to make the difference between a baying mob, or a one man and his dog non-event, the way his team opened up after the restart would have pleased Calderwood.
He would have been even more pleased if they had made their dominance pay. As it was he had to endure Esson getting down to beat away a drive from Sone Aluko and then watching Lee Miller thump the rebound off the woodwork.
With Inverness sitting in deeper and deeper with every passing minute they looked comfortable enough until a few seconds of madness undid all their good work.
Charlie Mulgrew, arguably Aberdeen's most potent creator, was able to use his wand of a left foot from a dead ball Caley needn't have conceded to pick out Gary McDonald, who was allowed to run untracked into the box before planting home a well-guided header.
It was enough to give the Dons maximum points, which over the course of the 90 minutes they just about deserved. Tough on Inverness, but with Falkirk losing heavily, they are still well-placed to maintain their SPL status.