With Rangers on the horizon, Aberdeen captain Joe Lewis insists they can’t sulk after their Betfred Cup heartache.
The Dons tumbled out of the League Cup at Tynecastle, losing 3-0 to Hearts in a quarter-final penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw in Edinburgh.
The Reds led 2-1 in stoppage time before Craig Halkett struck for the Jambos to force extra-time and ultimately penalties.
After a loss of that nature it would be easy for the Aberdeen players to dwell on it.
But Pittodrie skipper Lewis insists Derek McInnes’ men can’t mope – because they head to Ibrox tomorrow.
Rangers are sitting second in the Premiership, four points ahead of the Dons, and reached the semi-final of the League Cup with a 1-0 win at Livingston on Wednesday.
Lewis says the Reds need to put their Hearts disappointment behind them quickly as they look to bounce back in Govan tomorrow.
The goalkeeper, 31, said: “It is difficult to take. I think we should be seeing the game out on 91 minutes.
“That makes it even more frustrating because we need to see that last couple of minutes out.
“They got back in the game – but in extra-time I thought we were the better team and we were more likely to score.
“It didn’t happen and it went to penalties and we didn’t manage to win it
“We’ve got another massive game (tomorrow) so we don’t have time to sulk or be too focused on the defeat.
“It’s a huge game for the football club on Saturday and we’ve got to get on to that and focus on that.
“Obviously there is disappointment on the night and the morning after when the lads wake up.
“But we’ll recover and make sure we’re fully focused on the next game because there’s no real time to dwell on that.”
Lewis also says Aberdeen’s penalty takers shouldn’t beat themselves up after missing in the shoot-out against Hearts.
Sam Cosgrove hit his 12th and 13th goals of the season from the spot in the first half to twice put the Reds in front in the capital.
But when it came to the shoot-out the English striker fired over the crossbar.
Niall McGinn did likewise and Bruce Anderson’s effort was saved by Jambos keeper Joel Pereira.
Lewis added: “Sam doesn’t need to beat himself up because he missed that penalty.
“He scored two in the game and has scored plenty of other penalties for us.
“The lads had the courage to step up and take them but unfortunately they didn’t go in.
“That’s what can happen with penalties. I hope they don’t get too disappointed because they missed this time round.”
During McInnes’ time as manager the Dons have a fine cup record. As well as winning the League Cup in 2014 Aberdeen have reached three more finals.
Last term they made it to the final of the Betfred Cup and the semi-final of the Scottish Cup.
With the Reds regulars at Hampden in recent times, perhaps the law of averages dictated they were bound to exit a cup competition before the semi-finals or finals?
Lewis doesn’t subscribe to that theory.
The former England squad keeper said: “I’m not necessarily a great believer in that. If you look at it Mikey Devlin has possibly slipped for the first goal and MacLean has time to put it in the bottom corner.
“That was unfortunate for Mikey and for the second one the centre-half gambled and got his reward. I don’t think it’s law of averages because we played really well in phases and deservedly got our two penalties.
“It wasn’t poor decisions or luck – they were clear-cut chances if our players hadn’t been brought down.
“I don’t think we can be too disappointed with the performance overall – but cup football is all about getting through and we didn’t do that.”