Aberdeen need to show a response to their League Cup defeat by St Mirren when they return to Paisley tomorrow on Premiership business.
The performance, particularly in the first half, last weekend was unacceptable.
You can accept defeats, sometimes you can be unlucky – you simply can’t win every game – and you can forgive players and accept it when they’ve worked their socks off.
But you can’t forgive lacklustre play, sloppiness and a failure to start a game with any kind of intensity.
There were Aberdeen players who faced St Mirren last weekend that let themselves down badly.
Such was the St Mirren dominance at times in the first period, it was hard to believe what you were watching and the most disappointing thing is that we know Aberdeen are capable of so much better and they’ve shown us that previously this season.
Yes there were important players missing for Aberdeen, but with the squad Derek McInnes’ has built, the side that was on the pitch last weekend should have been able to put on a better showing than they did.
I’ve said it this season, and plenty of others have as well, when it comes to strength in depth this is the strongest squad McInnes has had during his time at Pittodrie.
However, that depth was found wanting against Saints.
There were players in the team last weekend that didn’t contribute anything to the Reds’ cause and that needs to change tomorrow when they return to Paisley.
You know Jim Goodwin’s gameplan will be exactly the same – to get in Aberdeen’s faces and make is as uncomfortable as possible like they did in the League Cup tie and the Dons need to be able to deal with that.
It’s time to see a response from Aberdeen. There’s a bit of time before the Scottish Cup comes around and that is hugely important to the club when it’s been so long without winning it.
But right now it’s time to take a firm grip of third spot in the Premiership and restore some good form.
The Dons are more than capable of reeling off a number of wins in quick succession, but they need to prove it now.
Striker Sam Cosgrove hasn’t managed to find peak form yet since his return from a knee injury.
The Englishman had some catching up to do on his team mates when it came to fitness, but he should be up to speed with the games he’s played.
But other than his first appearance of the season in the draw with Celtic and his display in the win over Hibs, he hasn’t looked like reaching the levels we’ve seen previously.
The Dons need him back and firing because he gives the team a different dimension.
By the same token, if things aren’t falling for Cosgrove, he needs to put the hard work in to turn things around.
You might not be having the best of games, but you can still make an impact if you press defenders and try to force mistakes, hold the ball up well and link the play.
Hopefully Cosgrove and the team show what they’re capable of this weekend.
Lewis Ferguson return is big boost for Aberdeen at St Mirren
Lewis Ferguson being available again tomorrow to face St Mirren is a great boost to Aberdeen.
The midfielder has missed the Dons’ last three games having been in self-isolation and the team has badly missed him.
Connor McLennan is also back this weekend and his pace, physicality and direct style will also be welcomed, while Ross McCrorie remains unavailable.
Although he’s only 21, Ferguson is already an inspirational figure within the Reds’ squad.
He’s a winner, he drives the team on and intensity is something that is never lacking from his game.
I know Joe Lewis is Aberdeen’s captain, but in my opinion, there’s no doubt Ferguson is a future skipper in the making – he’s already one of the main leaders within the team.
I’m a fan of Lewis, he’s been a great goalkeeper for the club and shouldn’t be hung out to dry for his mistake against St Mirren, because he’s saved the Dons a lot more than he’s cost them.
But in time somebody will succeed Lewis as captain and, although that time may be some way off, Ferguson would be the obvious choice.
Although he is still a young player, captaincy wouldn’t be a burden to Ferguson.
He already leads by example in his performances, which makes him ideal to become skipper at some point.