Aberdeen's Jonny Hayes pinpoints issue central to club's 11-year form low

Any explanations offered for why Aberdeen couldn’t at least claim a point against a visiting Celtic they put under real second-half pressure in Sunday’s 2-1 loss inevitably will appear lame.

Aberdeen's Jonny Hayes is tackled by Celtic's Callum McGregor in the club's 2-1 defeat on Sunday and believes, in time, they will tackle the desperate form issues scarring the early months of the Stephen Glass era. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

It could be no other way when Stephen Glass’s men haven’t even been limping along for a two month spell that have left them without a win in nine games - the club’s grimmest such sequence in 11-and-a-half years.

Yet, that doesn’t mean the theme picked on by Jonny Hayes as he picked apart another dispiriting outcome for the still-under-construction new Pittodrie team doesn’t pass muster.

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The Irish attacker kept coming back to “naivety” in digesting an outcome that seemed so avoidable following Lewis Ferguson’s 52nd minute equaliser of an early Kyogo Furuhashi opener. In the later stages, it was the home side that seemed the most likely to produce a decisive strike, only to be undone by a well-crafted Jota goal six minutes from normal time.

Indeed, it can be easy to overlook just how extensive the summer surgery Glass has performed on the Aberdeen squad has been. The entire number of appearances made for the club by eight of the starting line-up combined is shy of the 50-game mark. Meanwhile, four of these performers were 21 or under. Only Ross McCrorie, Ferguson and Hayes weren’t newbies.

These details perhaps account for the Aberdeen faithful’s confidence in Glass not yet being shattered - even if the signs of the high press, high intensity attacking game plan were in scant evidence until the restart. Not through any mangled managerial directives though, Hayes stressed.

“The game plan was to push right up and it was to see the best way of going about it,” the 34-year-old said. “It is still a learning curve with so many new players playing together. Our intent was to go and press their centre-halves from the off and to play the game in their half.

“There were times when it worked well and you saw that with the pressure we put Joe [Hart] under. It is naivety and switching off the briefest second. Players of that quality can pick you up and be a threat. That is where you get punished.

“When we got the goal in the second half we got a bit of impetus and we sensed a bit of vulnerability and we felt that, like we were going to win. I wouldn’t call it a sucker punch but we did show a bit of naivety when we switched off. That has been our problem, fine lines and fine margins. They are costing us too many points at the moment.

“We are waiting on things to turn. It is those fine lines and little mistakes that are costing us. It hasn’t been the case in the last few where we have been battered or outplayed. It has been silly mistakes and switching off at the wrong time has cost us goals and points.

"I don’t think we are playing badly - bar the 30 minutes we played with 10 men against St Mirren [in the 3-2 defeat the previous weekend]. It is a case of keep doing what we are doing. We need to keep improving on the training field and hope the tide will turn.”

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