As painful as the 5-0 defeat at Ibrox was for Aberdeen, Brian Irvine believes some of the Dons may benefit from that game in the long run.
The Reds were thrashed by Rangers last Saturday in the biggest defeat of Derek McInnes’ tenure as manager.
With eight players out injured the Pittodrie gaffer was forced to field a youthful side in Govan and Steven Gerrard’s Gers proved too strong.
Hibs visit the Granite City this weekend in the Premiership and Dons legend Irvine reckons the Rangers loss can help some of Aberdeen’s players going forward – because it will increase their resolve and resilience.
Dean Campbell, 18, Connor McLennan, 19, Lewis Ferguson, 20, and Ryan Hedges, 24, all started at Ibrox with Jon Gallagher, 23, and Ethan Ross, 18, used as subs.
Irvine – who made 383 appearances in red between 1985 and 1997 – reckons those players will learn from last weekend’s experience.
The former defender, 54, said: “It was a disappointing day for Aberdeen at Ibrox – it’s been a long time since they’ve had a defeat like that.
“In my career I remember we had a couple of heavy defeats against Rangers, by three or four goals.
“A 5-0 loss always hurts and people start to say alarm bells should be ringing and things like that. But there were definitely difficult circumstances with the injuries Aberdeen had.
“That meant it was quite a young team the Dons put out.
“But the result could actually stand the young players in good stead going forward.
“Having experienced that loss they won’t want to it to happen again.
“When I played after a heavy defeat you had the memory of it, and in future games it made you more determined to perform better the next time you were in that situation.
“So the result against Rangers may make Aberdeen’s youngsters more resilient.
“The other side is that some players’ confidence may be affected. But that’s the job of the manager and coaches to build the players up and make sure confidence isn’t affected.”
Irvine believes Aberdeen can bounce back on Saturday against a Hibs side that are under pressure, sitting second bottom of the Premiership with five points.
The man who won the Scottish Cup and League Cup with the Dons in the 1989-90 season added: “The next game is vital, particularly after a bad result.
“It’s a test of your character going into the next game.
“Hibs drew with Celtic last weekend, but they haven’t had a good start to the season.
“They have been getting criticised and might be feeling some pressure.
“And after the result Aberdeen had they will want to bounce back. So both teams are in a similar boat on Saturday because they’ve got something to prove.
“It could well come down to who wants it the most. Who can put their disappointment behind them and who can get a positive result and performance.”
Following the defeat at Ibrox there has been an angry reaction from the Red Army, with some supporters calling for a change of manager and planning a peaceful protest ahead of Hibs’ visit on Saturday.
Irvine can understand the frustration. But with Andy Considine, Craig Bryson, Funso Ojo, Scott McKenna, Scott Wright, Ash Taylor, James Wilson and Stephen Gleeson missing out on the game, Irvine believes there were mitigating factors for the result.
He said: “We’re early in the season, but Aberdeen have been hit badly by injuries.
“Some games come at the right time and some come at the wrong time – and the Rangers game came at the wrong time.
“They’d played 120 minutes against Hearts then had to go to Ibrox. In the weeks ahead the fixtures may fall differently and some games will favour Aberdeen. But last week was always going to be tough.
“The fans were looking for a battling performance and if Aberdeen had lost narrowly the reaction might have been different.
“But Rangers won comfortably and I can understand why people were frustrated by that.”
MEANWHILE, David Halliday, the first manager to guide Aberdeen to a major trophy will be posthumously be inducted into the Dons’ hall of fame in November.
After a prolific playing career with Queen of the South, St Mirren, Dundee, sunderland, Arsenal, Manchester City and Clapton Orient in the 1920s and 1930s Halliday stepped into management with Yeovil.
He was appointed Dons boss in 1938 and led the Reds to the Scottish Cup in 1947 and the league title eight years later.
Halliday left Pittodrie in the summer of 1955 to manage Leicester and died on January 5 1970, aged 68.