Midfielder Lewis Ferguson has warned Aberdeen must turn improved performances into wins before it is too late.
The 21-year-old reckons the Reds have turned a corner after a “bad spell” where a club-record goal drought extending six games was set.
Ferguson claims the experienced players in the squad stood up to haul the Dons out of a hole after their confidence was rocked.
However the Reds, who lost 1-0 at Celtic on Saturday, have only won once in eight games.
Now the Scotland Under-21s cap fears time will run out on the bid for third if Aberdeen do not go on a winning streak – starting against Premiership bottom side Hamilton on Saturday.
He said: “We have turned a corner in the last few weeks after going through a bad spell of not getting results and not performing well.
“In that bad spell, it was bad performances that were losing us games.
“However, we won against Kilmarnock and the performance was decent.
“It was decent again against Celtic, although it was not good enough to win a game, so we still have to get better.
“We have to start picking up points though.”
Aberdeen have won just twice in 12 games with a return of only 10 points from a possible 36.
That slump in form opened the way for Hibs to overtake Aberdeen into third spot.
Ferguson admits confidence within the squad was battered during that run but insists that is no longer an issue after senior players stepped up to fix it.
He said: “It is hard to keep your confidence high when you are losing games.
“Everyone will tell you that.
“If you are going through a bad spell you need a bit of confidence.
“It comes from something deep within yourself to try and bring that out and to try to spread it to the other boys in the dressing room.
“Our more experienced players throughout the squad did that and it has helped us.
“Now we are just looking forward to getting as much points as possible.”
With seven games in the Premiership campaign remaining, Hibs have opened up a four-point advantage.
The Easter Road side also have a game in hand over Aberdeen.
Although Hibs suffered an unexpected defeat to Motherwell at the weekend, Ferguson is a realist and admits the Edinburgh club are in control of the race for third.
It is out of Aberdeen’s hands.
All the Reds can do is pile on the pressure by winning games and hope Hibs crack.
On the bid for third, Ferguson said: “It is not really down to us at the minute.
“Hibs are obviously in control of that so it is down to them and whether they want to get that spot or not.
“We can just do all we can as we are pushing as hard as possible.
“It is not in our hands at the minute.
“We have plenty of games to go and if we can pick up as many points as we want then you never know – it might get us that third spot.”
The gaffer said after the game at Celtic to take from it the mentality that we showed – the effort and commitment.
“That determination we showed.”
Although Aberdeen lost for the second time in 10 days at Parkhead, the midfielder insists there were positives they can take forward into the business end of the Premiership season.
He said: “The gaffer said after the game at Celtic to take from it the mentality that we showed – the effort and commitment.
“That determination we showed.
“Although we displayed that in the first half, I thought Celtic controlled it to a point.
“It is about aggression, getting tight to your men and pinning them back.
“Making it uncomfortable for them and we have done that twice in the second half against Celtic now.”
Aberdeen succumbed to a deflected Odsonne Edouard shot in the eighth minute in Glasgow.
That goal came just minutes after Ash Taylor had rattled Celtic’s crossbar with a header.
Defender Taylor also forced a save from keeper Scott Bain from the recycled play immediately after hitting the wood-work.
There were striking similarities to the 1-0 loss at Parkhead on February 17 when the Reds went behind to a David Turnbull strike and Flo Kamberi hit the post.
Similar games but the same outcome – which did nothing to help the bid for third.
Ferguson said: “It was a bit like deja-vu to be honest as we did enough to get a point.
“We never quite got ourselves the goal that we deserved.
“We started on the front foot and had to start aggressively.
“The previous week at Celtic we didn’t start aggressively and it cost us.
“We had the best chance through Ash’s header and if that goes in it is maybe a different game and it gives our players something to hang onto.
“However we allowed Edouard to turn at the edge of our box and you are just asking for trouble when you allow players like him to do that.
“When you go to Celtic and play well to deserve a point you maybe need to ride your luck at times.
“We just do not have that bit of luck.
“Although it was a decent performance, it was not good enough to win, so we need to do more, look forward and try to get as many points as possible.”