Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass insists his players can see ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ despite a winless run extending to nine games.
The Dons have dropped to ninth in the Premiership table, crashed out of the League Cup and exited Europe in the club’s worst run of form since 2010.
A 2-1 loss to Celtic at Pittodrie was a fourth successive Premiership defeat.
Struggling Aberdeen have taken just two points from the last possible 18.
However, Glass insists the squad he rebuilt in the summer retain belief an upturn in form is coming – ideally starting against Dundee away in their next game.
Glass said: “They can see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“Any time you are on a run like this it is important that the players keep pushing and keep believing.
“The run we are on is hugely disappointing, but you can see a belief in the players, which is important.
“We feel it is coming and it is important that we keep working on it and believing in it.”
Results-driven and wins are needed
After eight Premiership fixtures, the Dons already trail leaders Rangers by 11 points and second-placed, newly-promoted Hearts by 10.
Concerningly, they are only five points off the bottom of the table, a spot occupied by Dundee, who the Dons face away in the first game after the current international break.
The Dons boss accepts the over-riding need to deliver wins immediately.
Glass said: “We know it’s results-driven and we need to get points on the board.
“Against Celtic one player put in a top cross for their first goal and then they picked us off a wee bit for the second one.
“Other than that we weren’t in a huge deal of danger.
“It’s important that we win when we play Dundee in a couple of weeks.”
Costly absence of Hedges and Watkins
Glass insists Aberdeen’s bid to beat Celtic and reignite the season was hampered by the loss of key creative players Ryan Hedges and Marley Watkins.
Summer signing Watkins, 30, was ruled out with a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the last three games.
Hedges had only returned from a six-week lay off due to a hamstring injury the previous week when starting in the 3-2 Premiership loss at St Mirren.
Welsh internationals Hedges and Watkins are both expected to return to action for the trip to Dundee on Saturday October 16.
Glass said: “We are not only aware of the quality we have here, but also the quality we have to come back.
“Ryan Hedges, Marley Watkins and a few others missed out against Celtic.
“It is disappointing we didn’t get our best group of players on the pitch essentially.”
Valuable lessons in loss to Celtic
Aberdeen had 11 shots at goal, five on target, against Celtic and restricted the Parkhead side to just two shots on target.
Both of Celtic’s shots, however, resulted in goals.
Glass fielded a number of young players such as Calvin Ramsay, 18, Jack MacKenzie, 21, Austin Samuels, 20, and Matty Longstaff, 21.
He insists they learnt the valuable lesson that ‘half mistakes’ are punished.
Glass said: “They learnt what it takes to to be in big games.
“They also learnt that if you make half mistakes against really good teams you get punished.
“It is important that they feel that and learn from it.
“That’s what happens when you’re a young player.
“We would like to get results sooner rather than later and it is important people learn sooner rather than later.
“I’m sure they will.”
‘We couldn’t ask any more from the fans’
Glass also hopes supporters see there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ from the recent winless streak.
He reckons fans ‘saw what they want’ from his side at the weekend, despite losing to Celtic.
🔴 The Red Army enjoyed that one!
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) October 3, 2021
Glass said: “It was noisy and in the first half their fans were making a bit of noise because they picked up a goal.
“Then our fans saw a response from our players and got right behind us.
“We couldn’t ask for any more from the fans.
“I think they saw what they want from the team other than actually getting a point or three on the board.”