Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes paid tribute to his side – in particular the departing Barry Robson – despite a 4-0 defeat to Ross County on the final day of the campaign.
There had been a last-day-of-school feel at Pittodrie as the Scottish Premiership runners-up waved goodbye to veteran midfielder Robson, who, at 37 years old, is not expected to be offered a new deal. And despite County spoiling the party, McInnes was effusive in his praise for Robson and the rest of his players.
Dons boss McInnes said: “Barry, along with Willo Flood, were my most important signings three years ago. We moved out 13 players and brought in five, and those two were pivotal at that time to what we wanted to do, in establishing an identity and getting the kind of people in the building to help us achieve what we wanted to.
“Barry’s influence has been less over the past couple of seasons, but he’s been a fantastic player and he’s always treated his profession properly.”
Looking over the season as a whole, he added: “Today was disappointing and I can’t mask it any other way. The players’ efforts over the whole season have been excellent.
“The squad has been stretched over the last part of the season and that’s something we have to take on board in terms of the January transfer window being equally as important as the summer transfer window. We’ve been stretched and I think recent performances have been, in part, because of that.”
County boss Jim McIntyre also looked back on the season in a positive light.
“It’s been a great season,” he said. “We started really well and picked up from where we’d left off the season before in terms of our consistency levels.
“We’ve won a cup (the Scottish League Cup), which was beyond our wildest dreams and beat some really good teams on the way. Everything we’ve asked of the players, they’ve given us and then some.
“There’s no doubt we could have been more consistent over the second half of the season but, as a manager, you’re always greedy! We’ve got to try to build on it and keep striving to improve.
“There’ll be additions. You can never rest on your laurels, and you always have to try and strengthen. It’s part of being a manager, and part and parcel of running a football club.”