RYAN Jack insists revenge is not the motivating factor behind Aberdeen’s desire to pile on the misery for Motherwell at Pittodrie tonight.
The Dons midfielder admits losing to the Fir Park side at the same venue on the final day of last season was tough to take.
That is hardly surprising as Craig Reid’s controversial injury-time winner allowed Stuart McCall’s side to replace them in the runners-up slot they had occupied since January.
A draw would have kept them there and everyone at Aberdeen remains convinced that goal should have been disallowed for a foul on Jamie Langfield in the build-up. Instead, it cost the Dons £240,000 in lost prize money, while their players forfeited two weeks’ holiday as they had to return to prepare for earlier rounds of Europa League qualification.
All things considered, it would be understandable if Jack and his colleagues were looking for some sort of retribution but, publicly at least, they are playing down any lingering resentment.
Instead, Jack acknowledges that Aberdeen’s run of two wins in their last nine league matches last season was the real reason they failed to finish runners-up to Celtic.
He said: “There’s not really a feeling that we have a score to settle as we can’t complain about what happened last season.
“We had other opportunities to get the points that would have given us second place but we didn’t take them.
“This is a new season and a totally different game and we are just looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat with a win. At the time we were all devastated and gutted after the game, especially when it came down to that decision and the manner we lost the goal as well.
“That killed us, but there were other matches where we had thrown away leads and we never took the chance to have second place wrapped up before that last game.
“Its a fresh campaign and that has to be put behind us now as there is nothing we can do about it. Coming so close to finishing second has just given us more determination for this season though and hopefully we can go one better.”
Aberdeen are looking to bounce back from last Friday’s 3-0 defeat away to surprise early league leaders Hamilton Accies.
Jack returned from injury in that game but Clark Robertson and captain Russell Anderson have not been so lucky with their recoveries.
Both defenders are still sidelined at a time when Aberdeen have been leaking goals.
Manager Derek McInnes admits the loss of his experienced central defender has not helped the situation but is convinced there is still enough quality in the squad to be doing better.
He said: “Any team would miss someone of Russell’s experience, but we have not had him for a while now. We might not have him for the next few games, but we feel the answers are here within the team, regardless if Russell is fit or not.
“Of course, we would rather have Russell available but we are not hung up on that. We have lost cheap goals with Russell in the team as well.
“It is too easy to highlight one player or one position. It is important we all take full responsibility for losing goals and work harder to rectify that.”