Scottish football: Bernard calls on Aberdeen to save Aitken

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The Independent Online
Paul Bernard is determined to see Aberdeen kick-start their season against Dunfermline today and ease the pressure on their manager, Roy Aitken, who has presided over just two wins in 26 League games, stretching back to last season.

A meeting between the coaching staff and players was held on Tuesday after the 2-0 defeat by Celtic at Parkhead, which saw the Aberdeen slump to the foot of the table.

"We all know the manager is doing his job. What happens on the park is out of his control," Bernard said. "We've been making individual errors and that is something we must cut out. What has happened in the League is unfortunate.

"We are in a false position, considering the quality of players we have. The manager has come under fire - undeservedly so, in my book. It would be good to win if only to shut a few people up."

Aitken also has a supporter in Bert Paton, the Dunfermline manager. "Roy was a winner as a player and he will want to be remembered as a winning manager," he said. "People are jumping on the bandwagon and having a go for the sake of it."

The Rangers chairman, David Murray, could be on the verge of linking up again with his former manager at Ibrox, Graeme Souness.

Murray is understood to have had talks with Torino - now coached by Souness - about a pounds 30m takeover of the Italian Second Division club. Earlier this month, the billionaire Joe Lewis, who invested pounds 40m in Rangers last season, expanded his interests overseas by purchasing AEK Athens.

Rangers are one on the prime movers behind the proposed Premiership which has promised small clubs around pounds 1m a season if the new elite League starts as planned next season.

Lex Gold, the Hibernian chairman and spokesman for the Premier Division clubs, outlined the League's plans yesterday, but immediately ran into criticism.

Bill Hunter, the Livingston chairman and a Second Division representative on the League management committee, is unhappy at the way the top clubs are trying to set the agenda.

"They call a news conference today to talk about the proposals yet I know some members of the committee haven't received the draft of their proposals yet," he said.

"That seems undiplomatic and I am sure another people will be as annoyed as much as I am."