If Dons do not improve on this shocking display it could be a winter of discontent at Pittodrie

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The worst performance of the season, and one of the poorest under boss Derek McInnes – Aberdeen must rediscover their form quickly if they are to remain in second spot in the Premiership.

The dismal display against Motherwell was way below par and the Reds must quickly prove it was merely a one-off aberration.

Especially as the Dons are set to embark on a gruelling schedule that will pack in nine games from the weekend until December 30.

If the Reds do not improve massively on this shocker it could be a winter of discontent at Pittodrie.

For the second time this season Aberdeen were outplayed and outfought by ‘Well who also inflicted a 3-0 defeat in the League Cup.

This shocker saw the Reds slip six points behind leaders Celtic, but it is the teams behind them Aberdeen should be more concerned with on the basis of this flat performance.

As bad as this was, there is need for perspective – the Dons are still second in the table and this was only a second league loss in 13 matches.

The Dons’ lack of width was glaring and costly with little danger coming in from the flanks – and when a rare ball was delivered into the penalty area it was usually inaccurate.

It was going to be difficult to replace the experience, flair and pace of wingers Niall McGinn and Jonny Hayes who exited in the summer.

Aberdeen’s potency in recent years has come from their attacking threat on the width and the quality of balls delivered to the strikers.

That was sorely missing against Motherwell. Dons boss McInnes has admitted he would be interested in taking McGinn back to Pittodrie.

Dons facing battle to re-sign McGinn with Hearts in hunt

The 30-year-old Northern Ireland cap is a free agent having terminated his contract with South Korean club Gwangju.

If McGinn did return it would go a huge way to bringing back that trademark attack on the flanks.

The speculation linking McInnes to the vacant Rangers post continues to drag on.

Players have insisted the talk has not had any effect, but the Dons – who had won seven of the opening nine league games, have taken only four points from nine since Pedro Caixinha was axed and the Ibrox links began.

There is only two ways the speculation will end.

For Ibrox to appoint a boss, or McInnes to rule himself out of the Rangers job.

For the Dons it was a case of “look what you could’ve had” as Louis Moult hit them for a double for the second time this season.

Moult netted twice in the League Cup win and repeated that feat again.

Aberdeen had a bid of £400,000 for Moult rejected in the summer, with the Steelmen holding out for an extra £100,000.

Half a million seems cheap now after Moult took his season’s tally up to 14 goals.

Aberdeen’s three recognised strikers, Adam Rooney, Stevie May and Nicky Maynard, have netted eight goals between them all season.

A Dons centre-forward has not scored since September 30 but again, it comes down to the service, and they are getting very little from wide areas.