Aberdeen midfielder Ryan Christie has no doubts what a win in Saturday’s Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden could do for the Dons’ state of mind.
Christie played 70 minutes of the Reds’ Premiership humbling to Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday.
Craig Levein’s side hassled Derek McInnes’ insipid charges into surrendering two unanswered goals, which allowed Rangers to overtake Aberdeen in second on goal difference going into the league split.
Focus has now turned to the most important game of the season – the semi-final of the national trophy against Motherwell this weekend – and Christie thinks a win against the Steelmen would not only give the Pittodrie club a chance at a first Scottish Cup since 1990, but banish memories of the horrors of Edinburgh.
He said: “It’s good we’ve got such an opportunity at Hampden to put things right.
“If we do win, we’ve got huge positivity again going into the final few league fixtures.
“That’s when you want to be playing your best stuff – when it matters.
“It’s important for all the boys in the changing room to realise that, to be going into the final few weeks and our game is at the top.”
There will be three enforced changes McInnes will have to make at Hampden, with skipper Graeme Shinnie, playmaker Kenny McLean and right-back Shay Logan suspended.
Christie said the gaffer warned his players they were playing for their semi places before the Hearts game but, despite the obvious frustration at handing the league initiative back to Rangers and more potential changes, he thinks a week of training will ensure the Dons go to Hampden in a confident mood.
Christie, who played in the Reds’ 2-0 league win over Well at Fir Park last week, said: “The weekend (against Hearts) was frustrating and everyone will look back at it. It will be annoying.
“But back in training our heads will be on the cup game and we’ll still be very positive and confident going into that game.
“We’ll have to see, it’s up to the manager.
“He did say before the game we had to play for our chance in the starting 11 on Saturday.
“It was very frustrating the way the game went and the boys were pretty gutted at the way we let Hearts dictate the game and stepped aside.
“Now it’s important that we bounce back and get ready for the semi.”
There are certainly lessons the on-loan Celtic player thinks the Dons can learn from Tynecastle and put right for Saturday, where Aberdeen will play a physical Well side.
Christie said: “It was me and a couple of others not making the right choices and in other parts of the game, when it was a high tempo, (we should’ve been) calming it down and keeping the ball for a bit.
“It’s actually something we’ve done well over the last couple of games – we’ve managed to dominate and keep the tempo at our pace.
“To be fair to Hearts they played very well, pressed us very well and they were a very good tactical outfit.”
Should Aberdeen win through to the Scottish Cup final, they’ll have six games left this term – including five post-split fixtures against Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Hibs and Kilmarnock.
Christie thinks the Reds need to find a way to keep winning to make sure any cup success – which will surely require a win against one of Glasgow’s big two in the showpiece on May 19 – is supplemented by a fourth second-place Premiership finish in a row.
He said: “Every game from now until the end of the season in the league is about (getting) second place.
“We need to make sure we win as many as possible.”