Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie has admitted he and his team-mates can have no complaints about the criticism levelled at them for their repeated failure to take points from the Old Firm this season.
The Pittodrie side slumped to their fifth defeat of the campaign against Glasgow’s big two when they lost 2-0 to Rangers at Ibrox on Wednesday night.
It was their third successive loss to Graeme Murty’s team, while they have suffered two 3-0 defeats against champions Celtic.
“You just need to take the criticism,” said Shinnie. “It’s us that goes out on the pitch and we have been losing too much. You need to take it – criticism comes when you don’t win football games at Ibrox and at Celtic Park.
“We need to take the criticism from it. We won at Ibrox last season and it was a good feeling, but we’ve not been good enough this season both at Ibrox and at Celtic Park. We need to do better. We’ve not taken our chances, we’ve not scored enough goals and we need to stop giving away sloppy goals.
“I don’t know (if it’s a mental block). It’s just frustrating and I can’t put my finger on it. We get ourselves into good areas – we beat St Mirren 4-1 last Saturday without really playing well, but we were clinical – and we should be more like that against Rangers and make a fight of it.
“We have got good talent in the squad, we know that. It’s just about putting it together and playing well and taking chances. First and foremost being clinical at the back, being ruthless and not giving teams a sniff. We need to build on clean sheets, especially when you come to places like Ibrox and Celtic Park you need to be solid defensively as you can.
“It’s very frustrating. Too many times I am sitting here saying it. It’s easy for me to talk, but it wasn’t good enough again. We need to more clinical at both ends of the pitch. Even when Rangers scored their second goal, we had four or five clear cut chances and one of them had to go in. The goals we lost were sloppy. We need to do better.
“It’s just not good enough. The goals we concede are so frustrating and that gave the other team a lift. At the other end, we need to do better, especially when you come to places like Ibrox. You need to take your opportunities and we didn’t and we got what we deserved.”
Aberdeen slipped to third place in the Premiership, behind Rangers on goal difference, as a consequence of Wednesday’s defeat and Shinnie knows another runners-up finish in the Premiership for his team is a major challenge.
“We knew we were always going to be in that position, we’ve known that from the start,” added the 26-year-old. “We need to pick ourselves back up and go again Saturday. It’s all we can really do now. It was disappointing on Wednesday and we need to have a look at it now and pick the bones out of it. Football is a game where you need to lift yourself and we will do that for Saturday.
“It won’t really be tough to lift the heads because we want to bounce straight back as quickly as possible and winning your next game makes it that little bit easier. We need to be more demanding as a team.”