Alan Power insists Kilmarnock will not give up on their Europa League dream despite another slip-up to bogey team Aberdeen.
The Dons extended their unbeaten run over the Rugby Park side to 20 matches with Saturday’s 2-0 win over Steve Clarke’s team. And the defeat – Killie’s first loss in 12 Premiership games – leaves them seven points behind Hibernian and a potential Euro ticket.
However, with four games left, Irish midfielder Power is determined to fight on. “You could possibly say Aberdeen are a bogey team for us. There is something in that,” said Power, pictured.
“Every time we come up against them I always believe we can beat them and so do all the lads. But it hasn’t happened this season and we’ll need to rectify that next year. I suppose their run of form against us shows the respect they have for us.
“They always give us a good battle. We’re a physical team too, so we can dig in if we need to.
“I thought, though, that we played into their hands a bit too much on Saturday. We should have got the ball down a bit more and played. We did that more in the second half and had a bit more success.
“We’ll learn from this. It’s our first defeat in a while so this is a test to see how we can bounce back.
“We’re looking to secure fifth first of all, as that would cap off a remarkable season in any case considering where we were, bottom of the league back in November. But if we can somehow put a challenge in for fourth then even better.
“While it’s still mathematically possible we’ll keep fighting for every point.”
Kenny McLean fired Aberdeen ahead on 37 minutes as he drilled home from 25 yards out, while right-back Shay Logan made sure of the points when he bundled home the second on the hour mark.
It was a welcome win for the Pittodrie side after their strength of character was questioned by boss Derek McInnes following their William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Motherwell the previous weekend.
“I wouldn’t say that fired us up,” said Logan, who missed the Hampden cup defeat because of suspension, “but the manager takes a lot of flak and he takes the heat off us when it is sometimes down to the players.
“I wasn’t playing last week but everyone knew it wasn’t good enough at Hampden and that we needed a big performance. We’re not in the cup any more but we still have five games to finish as high up the league as we can, so you can’t dwell on that too much. The spirit was never lost.”
Rangers’ win against Hearts yesterday means the Dons dropped down to third on goal difference, but McInnes is hoping his players have what it takes to finish up in second place.
“I think there will be a few twists and turns yet,” the Dons manager said. “If we find our form, we can win games against anyone, but it is all about finding that form.”