Joe Lewis has urged Aberdeen to remain positive and move on from their Scottish Cup disappointment.
Lewis insists there is no time to linger on the pain of another cup exit at the hands of quadruple treble chasing Celtic at Hampden.
The 2-0 defeat on Sunday was the fifth time since 2016 Aberdeen have lost to the Hoops in a cup at the national stadium.
Lewis views the defeat as a ‘missed opportunity’ against a Celtic side that had been four games without a victory.
However with a Premiership clash against Hibs looming on Friday that offers the opportunity to move up to third in the table, Lewis warned there is no time for looking back with regret.
The 33-year-old said: “There is that disappointment that we didn’t get to the final. It feels like a missed opportunity and we were very disappointed and frustrated.
“It was tough but we have to move on and be positive. Hibs on Friday is a huge game for us again.”
Should Aberdeen win on Friday they will leapfrog Hibs into third.
Significantly they will also move level on points with defending champions Celtic who are not in action until an away trip to Motherwell on Sunday.
There was a sense of frustration with Lewis that Aberdeen failed to capitalise against a Celtic not at their ‘free flowing best’ at Hampden.
In the build up to the semi final Celtic and manager Neil Lennon had come under pressure amidst a four game win without victory.
🎥 The manager gives his reaction after today’s game at Hampden.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) November 1, 2020
An injury time equalizer by Aberdeen to secure a 3-3 draw against Celtic seven days before the semi only enhanced belief Aberdeen could reach the final.
Lewis said: “We started with an attacking team to try to get into their faces. We began the game alright and had a couple of good balls into the box.
“It is a different game if we take one of those chances early on. Especially with the way Celtic are at the moment as they hadn’t been at their free flowing best.
“If you go one up then you could expose that.”
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes opted to hand prolific scorer Sam Cosgrove his first start of the season in the semi-.
Cosgrove had been out all season having suffered a fractured cartilage in the summer. He returned off the bench in the 3-3 draw with Celtic and made a significant impact with a major role in the second goal.
In the aftermath of the semi McInnes admitted starting Cosgrove was a gamble.
However with Cosgrove having netted 23 goals last season and on the basis of his contribution on his return – it was a chance he was willing to take.
Cosgrove had two early opportunities at the back post when connecting with Matty Kennedy crosses when the semi was still goal-less.
However the deadlock was broken by a moment of genius from Ryan Christie who spent 18 months on loan at Aberdeen.
Lewis said: “Unfortunately those early chances didn’t fall for us. Then we allowed Ryan (Christie) a bit too much time and space for a player of his quality to pick his spot which was disappointing.
“You have to try to balance between attack and defence. You don’t normally get loads of chances against Celtic so you have to take them when they come along.”
Aberdeen had large spells of possession in the second half at Hampden, with Lewis claiming he became a ‘spectator’ in goals.
The club captain was convinced that had the Dons made that initial break-through a cup final could be possible. It wasn’t to be.
Now the 2019-20 season is finally over for the Dons, seven months after the scheduled April semi-final was played.
And Lewis insists it is time to move on – starting with Hibs.
He said: “In the second half I was a bit of a spectator for the game, collecting the through balls. We had some decent attacks and decent play.
“I still felt in the second half that if we managed to get a goal at any stage up until the 90th minute that we would go on and get another.”