Lewis Ferguson views Aberdeen’s clash with Hibs as must-win as they bid to recover from their loss to Livingston.
The Dons now trail the Hibees by two points in the battle for third place, having played a game less, ahead of Saturday’s visit to Easter Road.
After a poor run of form, which has seen the Reds win just once in 2021 and a disappointing display against Livingston, Ferguson sees the clash with Hibs as a test of character.
The midfielder insists it’s important the Aberdeen players rally as they try to come through this difficult spell.
For Ferguson, the best way to do that would be to record a third victory against Hibs this season.
The 21-year-old said: “It was always going to be a big game whether we won against Livingston or not.
“But the fact we’ve lost means it becomes bigger – it’s a must-win now – for me anyway.
“I think we’ve got to go and turn Hibs over, because it’s a battle between us now and they’re the team we need to go and beat.
“As a team we have to dust ourselves down and go again.
“It’s a massive test. When the chips are down, this is when everybody needs to stand up and be counted.
“It’s all good when everybody is playing well and we’re winning games.
“But, when the chips are down, this is when it really matters and this is when the real players have to stand up and be counted and go and perform for the club, manager and fans.”
Livingston are also in the European fight, sitting only five points behind the Dons after their midweek win.
Ferguson’s main focus is on Aberdeen and trying to ensure their form improves, starting at Easter Road.
The Scotland Under-21 international added: “They (Livingston) could come into it, they’re keeping up behind us and Hibs and they’ve gained points on us by beating us.
“It puts them in with a shout, but we need to focus on ourselves, because our biggest fight is with ourselves because we just keep losing points here and there when we shouldn’t be.
“We need to go again and we need to start picking up points.”
The Dons were on the back foot with barely quarter of an hour played against Livingston as the visitors raced into a two-goal lead.
Joe Lewis’ mistake to allow Julien Serrano’s cross to creep into the net and poor marking to let Nicky Devlin double the advantage meant it was a long way back for Aberdeen.
Ferguson – who was visibly frustrated come the end of the first period – admits the poor start set Aberdeen up for taking nothing from the game.
He said: “We never got going in the first half, the first goals kills us really and it’s a mistake by Joe, which is unusual.
“It set us up for what was a terrible performance. Everybody was nowhere near their best and we had to be at our best if we were going to win the game.
“For whatever reason, we weren’t keeping the ball, we weren’t getting into good areas like we usually do and we were all over the shop really.
“We concede another poor goal and at two down it’s a mountain to climb.
“By the end of the first half, I was so frustrated with what was going on with myself and the team and I was starting to lose my head a bit, but I had to refocus for the second half.”
The Dons could be without Ryan Hedges and Ash Taylor for Saturday’s game.
Hedges suffered a pectoral injury against Livingston and had to be subbed, while Taylor came off with a thigh problem.
However, Aberdeen remain hopeful of loan signing Florian Kamberi receiving international clearance and being involved against Hibs.