Defeat to Rangers was very disappointing – but Aberdeen need to ensure it is only a blip because this can still be a successful season.
Although the Gers are playing to a very high level at the moment, the Dons will still have felt they could compete.
But the last thing you want when visiting a venue like Ibrox is to be camped in your own half and get beat heavily.
You can put a case forward in terms of the deflections for the first three goals and on another day they might not have gone in.
But Rangers still applied a lot of pressure on the Reds’ rearguard and, when you do that and keep letting them have shots, deflections can happen.
The fourth was a penalty that some may question, but it’s difficult to put forward too many complaints when referee Nick Walsh didn’t give a spot-kick for what looked a stronger claim in the first half when Funso Ojo brought down Kemar Roofe.
The mitigating circumstances for Aberdeen were injuries and the players that were missing because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Missing the likes of Jonny Hayes, Marley Watkins, Niall McGinn, Scott Wright, Dylan McGeouch, Lewis Ferguson, Connor McLennan and Ross McCrorie – who would have been unavailable regardless – made it difficult.
But it’s still a strong squad that Derek McInnes has at his disposal, which is important given the injuries and those missing because coronavirus regulations.
It was a strong side that started at Ibrox. When I saw the team on Sunday, it appeared to me to be a team that could compete with Rangers.
I didn’t necessarily think they would win the game, but certainly they should have been capable of competing.
Central midfield was perhaps the weak area of the side with Ojo and Greg Leigh having not played much recently.
But they are still experienced players who are capable of doing a job in games like Sunday’s and you expected them to perform better.
It was always going to be difficult to combat a Rangers side that are the best in Scotland at the moment.
When the mitigating circumstances are considered, this result shouldn’t be used as a barometer of how the rest of the season will go because it can still be a good season and a successful one for the Dons.
Aberdeen have had a couple of blips already this season. They produced a very insipid display when losing to Rangers at Pittodrie on the opening day of the campaign.
The Dons were also stunned by Motherwell at home and found themselves 3-0 down at half-time and Sunday’s game is another that goes into the same category.
But the majority of the Reds’ performances this season have been very good and they’ve been very organised, those three games stand out when they haven’t been.
However, Aberdeen still have a lot to play for this season and they’re still a team that can compete at the top end of Scottish football.
But minimising results and performances like Sunday’s is important, but that game alone is not an indicator that things are going wrong.
The Dons still have a very strong squad and I expect them to get back to winning ways against Hamilton tomorrow.
They need to accept the criticism that has come their way about Sunday because they have set standards higher than that, but it’s now about a reaction and putting things right in the next game which they will be looking to do against Accies.
When it comes to success finishing third in the Premiership would be a good campaign as it looks a big ask to split Rangers and Celtic.
But it’s lifting a trophy that would make the season successful, it’s always got to be Aberdeen’s ambition every season to lift one of the cups.
Winning either the Scottish Cup or the League Cup would be a great success and this squad is good enough to do it.
SFA have questions to answer on Covid-19 outbreak
The Scottish FA have questions to answer about Covid-19 outbreak within the Scotland Under-21 set-up.
I can understand the frustrations of club managers now without players who were part of U21 squad.
Aberdeen were affected with Ross McCrorie testing positive for coronavirus and Lewis Ferguson and Connor McLennan also having to self-isolate as close contacts.
Celtic and Motherwell have also raised concerns and the clubs are keen for the SFA to examine their protocols.
Looking at the situation, it seems like it would make sense for the players to be tested when they join the international set-up and then tested after the games when they return to this country and before they rejoin their clubs.
But that doesn’t seem to be happening and if that’s the case the protocol needs to be looked at.
The protocol put in place is designed to ensure that if there is a positive test – which everyone knows can happen – others within the group are not exposed to it.
Club managers like Derek McInnes and Stephen Robinson aren’t complaining about a positive case arising, but they are understandable unhappy because the protocol is supposed to be in place to ensure other players don’t have to isolate because they haven’t been close to the positive case.
In the Scotland U21 camp, this all started with a member of staff testing positive.
You would think should have started alarm bells ringing for the SFA hierarchy to have everyone tested again, as well as after the Greece game when they were back in Scotland.
In this situation it’s incumbent upon the SFA to do everything they can to hand players back to clubs in good shape having carried out the appropriate testing and followed the necessary protocol.