Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes isn’t pressing the panic button after the 3-0 defeat to Hibernian at Easter Road.
The Dons, having been competitive in a back-and-forth first half on Saturday, were pulled apart after the break with goals from Martin Boyle (two) and Florian Kamberi sealing the points for Hibs.
As a result, the Reds dropped two points below Motherwell into fourth in the Premiership.
McInnes – who at 1-0 down made three substitutes, sending on Ryan Hedges, Dean Campbell and Curtis Main, and moving to three at the back – thinks the final scoreline was the result of going for all-out attack too early.
The boss said: “I don’t want to dismiss it as a blip but we didn’t defend the goals well enough.
“But we’ve allowed the situation to develop where Hibs could play as an away side.
“We were good in the game, first half, we counter-attacked well, positionally we were good, and we were guilty of not making more of our opportunities as a counter-attacking team.
“We spoke about trying to impose ourselves because we felt that Hibs can sometimes become a wee bit anxious at home.
“But all three goals we lose from being in possession.
“I’m maybe guilty of making too many changes, looking back now. I thought the 3-4-1-2 we went to allowed us more possession of the ball and we got into good areas, but we didn’t do enough with the ball and I’ve gambled too early with the shape because it left us more open on the counter-attack.”
Aberdeen had started the game with the same shape and personnel who fought back in the last 60 minutes to draw 2-2 with Rangers at Pittodrie on Wednesday night.
After that game, McInnes and assistant Tony Docherty talked about the positive effect it would have on the Dons’ “psyche” after they had suffered earlier heavy losses to both the Gers and Celtic.
Whether the Easter Road result has any negative side effects remains to be seen, with Hamilton to visit Pittodrie this weekend.
Before the break against Hibs, Aberdeen had good chances go in front. Top scorer Sam Cosgrove had an early effort tipped round the near post by Ofir Marciano, while the keeper denied the Englishman again as he followed up on a James Wilson strike on 33 minutes.
McInnes added: “We were good value in the first half and were far busier than they were.
“We counter-attacked really well and the speed of Gallagher, Cosgrove and Leigh caused them problems.
“We spoke at half-time about trying to make more of the opportunities we created, as Hibs have been anxious at home the last wee while. Had we shown more conviction and quality we could have got ourselves in front.”
McInnes again used summer defensive recruits Zak Vyner and Greg Leigh in his midfield at Easter Road, the latter out wide and the former in the middle with Lewis Ferguson. Central-midfielders Craig Bryson and Funso Ojo – also brought in during the off-season – continue to recover from injuries.
There was a clear contrast with the experience and nous of Scott Allan, whose incisive passing was a huge factor in Hibs’ dominance of the second half.
McInnes said: “All three goals we conceded came after we lost the ball in poor areas and Hibs became like the away team, hitting us on the counter.
“We felt, even at 2-0, there was something in the game but the changes we made, maybe we were guilty of going for it a bit too early but we wanted to be more of an attacking threat with two strikers and two wide players. We got into good areas but we didn’t do enough.
“We’ve got a brilliant record at Hibs but there is no doubt a 3-0 is not what we have come to expect and we’re extremely disappointed with the outcome.”
Meanwhile, McInnes backed Ryan Hedges, booked for diving with the Dons 1-0 down. Video footage showed Stevie Mallan caught the winger. His boss said: “Ryan is adamant there is contact and I thought there was. Maybe he exaggerated the touch and it has put the referee off but I’m certain there was a touch.”