Derek McInnes has warned he and the Dons are ready to come out fighting after receiving “a kicking” for their shocking 5-0 loss at Ibrox.
The Dons were slaughtered, rightly, for the dismal performance in the heaviest loss of McInnes’ time at the club.
After six-and-a-half years at the helm McInnes is a realist and accepts the flak will come.
It did. The Dons were hammered for their lack of aggression and fight as they capitulated in Glasgow.
McInnes and his squad conducted an honest post-mortem into the defeat where home truths were delivered.
Ultimately the only way to climb out of this malaise and stop the disaffection growing within the Red Army is to win games – and entertain.
McInnes wants the Dons to start swinging, starting against Hibs tomorrow.
He said: “There has been plenty talking this week.
“It is up to us to fight back and to throw a few punches back.
“Everyone is giving us a kicking at the minute and everyone has something to say.
“The only way to answer and fight back is by showing it through our performance.
“We have a lot of making up to do, I get that, and hopefully we can do that (tomorrow).
“No one is going to help us. So it is up to us to respond in the right way and throw a few punches.”
In the aftermath of that heavy loss to the Gers, some of the Red Army have even called for a change of manager.
On the criticism, the manager said: “I only hear it second hand but we work for a club where there is a big demand.
“I have shown how much I enjoy working for this club. I am used to the demand of this club.
“We are fourth in the league at the minute and are aiming to improve on that by getting a few players back.
“We do that by knuckling down and getting on with the job in hand. By just doing what we have for the last six years where we have worked a certain way.
“We have proved as a staff and a squad what we are capable of. We still have to do it this season.
“However, we put a squad together in the summer that we felt can meet the demands.”
McInnes had seven players out injured for the trip to Ibrox and was further hampered by the late withdrawal of experienced centre-back Andy Considine, three hours before kick-off through illness.
The Dons boss surveyed his decimated squad in the Ibrox dressing room prior to kick-off and didn’t see the fight and belief evident when beating Rangers three times in Glasgow last season. He will demand that fight and aggression against Hibs.
He said: “We had a couple of really hard results.
“Hearts was tough to deal with, losing on penalty kicks, after putting so much into the game.
“There are a lot of reasons why the result played out the way it did (at Rangers).
“For us to bridge the gap with Rangers in any 90 minutes we have to show more physicality, aggression and be full of running which clearly we weren’t because of the impact of extra time.
“We also have to show more confidence because any time we have beaten Rangers and Celtic over the years I felt it in the dressing room and felt it in the tunnel – that confidence and personality in the team going out there to set about the game.
“I just thought we were really devoid of that on Saturday.
“We looked spooked and it was a really tough afternoon.
“For me as manager watching it was difficult for me to find a way to stop the bleeding.
“When you lose in that manner there has to be honest reflection.
“We have got to try to lift the players but also try to be honest with them. The players have also got to be honest with themselves.
“Hopefully by working together in the aftermath of the game by the time the next one comes round everyone is starting to feel a bit better about themselves.”
The pressure is undoubtedly on McInnes and his players to deliver a win tomorrow after a damaging week for the club.
But McInnes insists he is not feeling the heat. He said: “I am very calm.
“It was important with the players that we had honest discussions. But we need them to feel good about themselves on the pitch (tomorrow).
“I have an obligation to help my team win.”
To stop criticism from some, it will take consistently high performances – and success.
He said: “Hopefully we can win and make people feel better about themselves.
“I am sure the criticism will still be there in some shape or form. It is just up to us to get back to winning games.”