Defender Andy Considine accepts losing all three games to Rangers is unacceptable … but he doesn’t accept that run indicates a shift in the balance of power in Scottish football.
For the last three years, Aberdeen have comfortably held the mantle of the nation’s second force.
That status is now under threat for the first time since Derek McInnes orchestrated the Reds’ recent revival.
Not only have Aberdeen dropped all nine points to Rangers following the 2-0 loss in Glasgow, they have also been replaced in second spot by the Ibrox side.
Although the sides are level on points, Rangers hold a superior goal difference.
Considine accepts Aberdeen have a real scrap in the remainder of the season to secure a fourth successive runners-up finish.
However, it is a battle he is confident the Reds can win.
He said: “That is nine points we have dropped to Rangers this season which is unacceptable.
“However, there is still a long way to go with 15 league games remaining and a lot can happen.
“There is still a firm belief that we will go and do the job and finish second.
“There was always going to be a battle all season, and not just with Rangers.
“Hearts, Hibs – there are lots of teams around us battling for second. We always knew this season was going to be tough.”
Rangers splashed out nearly £10 million in the summer transfer window in a bid to overtake Aberdeen and elevate to the level of Celtic’s main challengers.
That huge cash outlay was overseen by Pedro Caixinha, who was subsequently axed.
Rangers targeted Dons boss Derek McInnes to replace the Portuguese but the 46-year-old ultimately knocked them back following an official approach.
Under Graeme Murty, Rangers have strengthened further in the January window with the loan signing of three internationals – Jason Cummings (Nottingham Forest), Jamie Murphy (Brighton) and Russell Martin (Norwich).
Aberdeen have in turn added Niall McGinn on a long-term deal until 2021, Michael Devlin for an undisclosed fee and secured a loan deal for Manchester City midfielder Chidiebere Nwakali.
Does Considine still believe Aberdeen are Scotland’s second force?
“Of course,” he said. “Absolutely.
“Rangers have bolstered their squad last summer and during the transfer window, but so have we.
“We have a very, very strong team, but we just didn’t turn up on the night.
“If you don’t turn up at places like Ibrox you lose.
“We gave them a couple of opportunities and they were clinical and took them.”
For Considine there was frustration at the manner of Rangers’ opening goal as Colombian striker Alfredo Morelos netted from a free header.
It was a carbon copy of an earlier opportunity that Morelos had squandered – a warning sign that was not heeded.
Considine said: “Their goal came almost from nothing and we were not man marking in the box so the guy (Morelos) got a free header at the back post. That is not like us as we are normally spot on with our man marking.
“Fair play to Rangers as they defended as if their lives depended on it.
“We could almost take a leaf out of their book because if we defended like they did we wouldn’t have lost 2-0.
“We gave the ball away in good areas, especially the final third, and our choices on the ball weren’t up to scratch.
“Their second goal was a real sore one to take and everyone was thinking about Joe after that, hoping he was all right.”
Keeper Joe Lewis was injured in a collision with Josh Windass that led to the penalty award in the second half.
Play was held up for five minutes to allow Lewis treatment before he was stretchered off and rushed to hospital in Glasgow.
It was later confirmed Lewis had not suffered a leg break, which was the initial fear.
Aberdeen’s most productive period in attack followed the second goal as they created a succession of clear opportunities, only to be denied by keeper Wes Foderingham.
Considine said: “Once we went 2-0 down we started to play a bit but by that time it was almost too late.
“However, we had five or six extremely good chances and how we didn’t at least put two of them away is beyond me.
“The second half was a lot more like us but you know you are only going to get so many chances at a place like Ibrox.
“You have to take them but we just had to be more clinical.
“I felt we lacked that clinical edge.”
For Considine, the road to overhauling Rangers in the Premiership begins tomorrow with the visit of Kilmarnock.
The Rugby Park side are unbeaten in seven games – since losing 3-1 to the Dons in Ayrshire in November.
Considine said: “It is going to be a very tough game, it always is against Kilmarnock.
“They set up really well when they came up and played us last time and went away with a draw.
“The good thing about football is that you can dust yourself down, move on and hopefully get three points.”