Dons boss Derek McInnes says fatigue had nothing to do with Aberdeen’s Boxing Day loss to Celtic.
In a frantic showdown at Pittodrie, the Hoops won 4-3 to stay top of the Premiership.
The match had been poised at 1-1 with 15 minutes to play before five goals in the closing stages.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers had claimed after the game that he felt the Dons had tired later in the game as a result of the high intensity pressing game they employed.
The fixture was also the eighth of nine games the Reds will play in December.
But McInnes insists tiredness wasn’t to blame for Aberdeen being edged out. And he pointed to the introduction of Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard in the 70th minute.
After coming off the bench the Frenchman scored the Hoops’ third and created the fourth.
McInnes said: “It was nothing to do with fatigue, it’s an easy thing for a winning manager to say.
“We put a lot of effort into the game, but Celtic put a lot into the game as well.
“We know our roles when we play against Celtic and I wasn’t concerned about that.
“What we needed to do was get a bit more of the ball in the second half.
“Although they were keeping the ball, they weren’t really working us too much.
“The introduction of Edouard made the difference, he was fresh.
“I can understand Brendan saying that (it was fatigue), but it didn’t look like that on the pitch.”
McInnes described the match as “fantastic” but he was disappointed with some of the goals his side lost in the closing stages against Celtic.
He added: “Both sets of players went about their business well and with the crowd as it was it was a fantastic game.
“I still feel we can deal with the second goal. Once the ball goes inside Andy (Considine).
“Sinclair starts in an offside position as most good forwards do and one or two of ours aren’t quick enough to deal with it.
“We need to be tighter to him and I think with the third goal we were unlucky not to deal with the initial pass through.
“Edouard gets the break, but what a finish to have the composure to lift it over Joe – you have to applaud that finish.
“Even then the resilience was good.
“We still thought we were in it and Lewis Ferguson scored then we didn’t get the point we maybe deserved when James Wilson put one over the bar after that.”
Another disappointment for the Dons was Niall McGinn having to be replaced due to a groin strain at half-time.
McInnes said: “Niall McGinn has to come off with a groin strain which is just down to accumulation of games.
“Niall was doing well so we didn’t have our troubles to seek.”