Aberdeen defender Max Lowe believes the 1-0 win over Rangers at Ibrox on Wednesday can prove to be transformational in the Pittodrie club’s season.
The on-loan Derby County left-back shone in the victory which took the Dons back into the top six of the Premiership, effectively shutting down the threat of Rangers winger Daniel Candeias.
Lowe also performed well at Hampden last Sunday but his equally solid marking job on Celtic winger James Forrest wasn’t enough to prevent Aberdeen losing the League Cup final.
The 21-year-old admits it would have been difficult to recover from a second successive defeat in Glasgow in such a short time frame. Instead, he feels Aberdeen can now build momentum to reclaim what has been a more familiar position nearer the top of the table in recent years.
“It could have been a terrible week if after losing the final we had also lost on Wednesday,” reflected Low.
“It would have been hard to kick on again. So to get the win at Ibrox was massive for us and a huge confidence boost. It could be a season-changer for us. We know we can deal with anyone in this league. We showed that on Sunday against Celtic, never mind on Wednesday, and I think teams in this league will know what kind of team we are.
“With the games in hand, we’re really confident. The final we lost, but everyone said we played really well. Hopefully we can kick on and make a run of it. We’ve had a tough week of away games so hopefully this can serve us well.”
Aberdeen brushed aside the first half dismissal of striker Sam Cosgrove as they resisted Rangers’ efforts to recover from Scott McKenna’s seventh minute goal.
“It was perfect for us, coming off the back of Sunday, getting a clean sheet,” added Lowe. “Going down to 10 men wasn’t ideal but we showed real resilience. We know we’ve got the right people in the squad to get goals in key moments – that’s what Scott did. He and Andy Considine led us on after that.
“We always knew we had a chance. Come in at half-time still 1-0 up, we were confident we could kick on. We were still buzzing with 10 men. If we did the simple things defensively, we knew we’d keep a clean sheet.”
Rangers were also reduced to 10 men in the second half when Alfredo Morelos was sent off for a second bookable offence and Lowe believes they should have gone down to nine men when Kyle Lafferty, already cautioned, lashed out at McKenna.
“We were questioning it as he was on a yellow card in the first place,” said Lowe. “To dish out an elbow and see Scotty’s face – there was red all over the place. We thought the ref was going to give him another yellow but Scotty wasn’t fazed – he wanted him to stay on so he could give him another couple of kicks! I don’t think Scotty minded either way. He will play with a broken arm – he’ll play with any injury. He’s that kind of guy.”
Lowe has been hugely impressed by McKenna, pictured, since arriving at Aberdeen and appreciates why the 22-year-old Scotland international has been linked with clubs in England. His penalty box tackle in stoppage time to deny Rangers an equaliser was savoured by his team-mates.
“It was as good as scoring a second goal for us,” added Lowe. “We all celebrated his tackle as if it was a goal. It saved the victory for us. Before I came up here I heard how good a centre-half he is and what everyone has told me, he’s backed it up with performances.”
Lowe feels his loan move, which is scheduled to expire in January but which he is open to extending for the full season, has already accelerated his own development.
“After being here just a couple of weeks, I felt like I’d improved my game,” he said. “The gaffer took me to one side and told me the things I needed to improve defensively – I still need to improve in the air. He will take me aside in training and do one-v-one stuff. Each game, I’m picking up and learning things as I go on.
“It was good for me to do well against Celtic and Rangers who are great teams and I’m happy we’ve done well against them defensively in the last two games. Hopefully I can help do that for as long as I stay.”