Anthony O’Connor is determined to avoid a repeat of the pain the Dons suffered last season on Hamilton’s plastic pitch.
Aberdeen head for the Superseal Stadium and its artificial surface tomorrow evening for their Betfred Cup last-16 tie against Accies.
It will be the sides second encounter in just three days after the Reds beat Hamilton 2-0 at Pittodrie in Sunday’s Premiership opener.
The Superseal Stadium proved to be a testing venue for Derek McInnes’ side last campaign.
In two league visits they failed to pick up any points.
On both of those occasions Aberdeen battered the Accies, but could not find the net and succumbed to 1-0 defeats.
Hamilton’s synthetic playing surface was blamed for the losses in some quarters, but not among the Reds squad.
Ahead of the League Cup match-up, O’Connor is determined the Dons will not suffer a repeat of last term’s losses and the defender insists the pain of those defeats is being used as motivation in the Pittodrie dressing room. He accepts that the plastic pitch is just something Aberdeen will have to deal with tomorrow, even though it makes the game more unpredictable.
He said: “We went down there twice last season and lost twice so it doesn’t matter who you are playing you’ve always got to be bang at it.
“It motivates us, but they will probably be using beating us as motivation for the game.
“They will be think ‘we beat them twice last season, let’s do it again’, on the other hand, our motivation is that we lost twice there last season so lets not lose again.
“We don’t want a repeat of last season and I think the gaffer will drill that into everyone before the game that we’ve lost twice so he doesn’t want a repeat.
“If you talk to anyone who plays football they will always tell you artificial pitches aren’t ideal.
“The ball bounces differently and you don’t know if it will skid off the surface or hold up, it’s tough on some people’s legs and some people’s knees.
“Some people find it harder on them so it’s not ideal.
“But it’s what we have to deal with, it’s their home pitch and we just have to go and get on with it and hopefully win the game.”
Tomorrow’s match in Lanarkshire is Aberdeen’s first cup match of the season.They were not involved in the Betfred Cup group stage because they were playing in the Europa League qualifiers.
The new League Cup format means this is already a make-or-break game for the Reds – and it’s only their second of the domestic campaign.
O’Connor scored the opening goal of the Dons’ domestic season with a glancing header in Sunday’s win at Pittodrie.
Miles Storey came off the bench to score a late second to seal the win in what was a largely comfortable afternoon for McInnes’ men, as they showed no signs of a European hangover following their Europa League exit to Apollon Limassol on Thursday night in the third qualifying round.
O’Connor believes it was important the Dons put their Euro disappointment in Cyprus behind them with a strong showing on Sunday.
The Irishman added: “It was important we didn’t let the European loss affect us on Sunday.
“That is football – you are going to have ups and downs and to go out of the Europa League was disappointing because one of our main objectives was to try to get to the group stages, but it wasn’t to be.
“We can’t go back and change it.
“So coming back from the European game it was important we tried to pick ourselves up and get ourselves going again.
“We tried to rest up as much as we could and, when Hamilton were resting and preparing for the game all week, we were playing on Thursday.
“It was not easy on the legs and it’s mentally tough as well, but I thought we matched them all over the pitch.
“There were moments of sloppiness, but you’d expect that from some tired minds on the pitch.
“It was nice to get the win and it was nice to get a goal on top of that for myself, but the win was the most important thing and a clean sheet as well is always nice.
“I thought it could have been three or four or five because we had a few chances, but we’ll take a 2-0 win.”
Hamilton rarely troubled the Reds at the weekend.
Martin Canning’s side struggled to get anyone up in support of isolated striker Rakish Bingham and they finished the game with 10 men when centre-back Xavier Tomas was dismissed for a second booking shortly after the hour.
While Accies struggled, that was largely down to Aberdeen not allowing them to get a foothold in the game.
It was a statement on intent ahead of tomorrow’s League Cup showdown. While O’Connor acknowledged the Dons had laid down a marker to Hamilton of what to expect on Wednesday, he is urging his team to take nothing for granted.
The 24-year-old said: “We did lay down a a statement of intent.
“But every game is different and the game on Wednesday will be completely different.
“Hopefully we can rest up now and go into Wednesday night and put in another performance like Sunday.
“And if we cut out those moments of sloppiness and be a little bit better on the ball then hopefully we can win the game.
“Obviously we want to progress in the cup, especially with us getting to two cup finals last year.
“We would love a repeat of that this season.”