Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes insists his players care about the club and are determined to deliver a third-placed finish.
The Reds today face Celtic at Parkhead searching for a “big result” to ignite the bid to overtake third-placed Hibernian.
Although the Dons ended a club-record six-game run without scoring when defeating Kilmarnock 1-0, it was only their second win in 12 matches.
That slump allowed Hibs to leap-frog McInnes’ side and grasp pole position in the race to finish third in the Premiership.
McInnes insists his players have a “conscience” about that slump and are determined to put that right in the remaining eight Premiership games.
He has challenged his squad to deliver a run of wins in the league – with Celtic next up today.
McInnes said: “The players have a conscience and care.
“We all want to do as well as we can.
“We have to produce some big results in the league if we are to have any chance of catching Hibs.
“They are a brilliant bunch of boys and you wouldn’t have known we were on a tough run if you walked into our training ground and saw how lively they are.
“They are very together and a good, competitive bunch.
“We just concentrate on the next game.”
In a hectic transfer deadline day, McInnes moved to completely revamp a misfiring attack.
He brought in Florian Kamberi (St Gallen), Fraser Hornby (Stade de Reims) and Calum Hendry (St Johnstone) on loan until the end of the season.
Sam Cosgrove was sold to Birmingham for £2 million and Curtis Main moved to Shrewsbury.
INJURY UPDATE | Fraser Hornby
Upon further investigation a scan has shown Fraser has suffered a significant tear on his thigh that will keep him out for a period of time.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) February 23, 2021
However, the new look attack has been delivered a crushing blow with Hornby suffering a muscle tear in his thigh in the 1-0 defeat of Kilmarnock.
The “significant” tear is set to rule him out for up to two months – although the striker is confident he can return to action quicker.
McInnes is sure his squad are now beginning to gel following the close of the winter window.
He said: “January can be an unsettling month anyway for players with some moving and others coming in.
“We were keen to focus once that window closed.
“We feel the last three performances have been better.
“It is important for players to get that feeling of winning.
“That is why we are here.
“For that game at three o’ clock on a Saturday and you want to come off the pitch with that win.
“We’ve had good performances and too many draws, but for us to achieve what we want this season, we are going to have to get more wins, regardless how they come about.
“Winning is why we are here.”
Aberdeen return to Parkhead just 11 days after narrowly losing 1-0 to Celtic.
The defending champions are looking for a new manager after Neil Lennon resigned following Sunday’ 1-0 loss to Ross County.
The relegation-battling Staggies netted from a set-piece.
Of the goals Celtic have conceded this season, 43% have come from dead balls.
McInnes has challenged the Reds to make free-kicks and corner deliveries count today.
He said: “We finished the game against Celtic strongly.
“You see Ross County scoring from a set-play at the weekend and we had umpteen set-plays, crosses and corners going in, but we never took full advantage of that.
“There’s a feeling of disappointment from that, but we also wanted to take the positives from the performance against Celtic, which we feel we did going into Saturday’s game against Kilmarnock.
“Now we go back to Celtic, in different circumstances from their point of view, but it’ll be something similar for us.
“We felt we deserved something from the game against Celtic.
“It was down to a bit of brilliance from Turnbull and a refereeing decision going against us.
“Hopefully this time we can get a positive result.”