The key issue Aberdeen need to address ahead of Rangers clash to start climbing the table

A goalkeeper prides himself on clean sheets. Across Joe Lewis’ excellent six-year tenure at Aberdeen he has kept plenty.

However, Aberdeen are currently in one of their more difficult periods during their goalkeeper's 258-game spell at Pittodrie. His last league shutout came 82 days ago, a 1-0 success at St Johnstone.

Following the 2-0 defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle Park on Wednesday, it’s 11 Premiership matches since opponents had a zero next to their name, with Garry Woods taking Lewis’ place between the sticks for two of those matches.

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Manager Jim Goodwin talked about getting back to basics. That will likely start with becoming more organised, robust and difficult to break down.

Aberdeen have not kept a clean sheet in the league since December. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Tenth in the league, they travel to face Rangers on Saturday as they look to reach the top six with four matches before the split.

"It's absolutely not where Aberdeen should be,” Lewis said. “Going higher up in the table is there for a team who wants to grab it, but right now we are not really looking like a team who are going to do that.

"We have to show resilience and fight. The manager is not asking for miracles from anyone. He's asking for hard work and athleticism and to put ourselves about. There wasn't enough of that."

"To be a successful team it is based on clean sheets. But we need to carry a threat too. We need to be a team that is hard working and who win their first and second balls and the basics.

"We need to find that spark, maybe take the lead in a game to give ourselves something to work on. We've not had that of late and we need to find it."

Going forward it will be a collective endeavour to take responsibility, build confidence and get the Dons up the table.

"I think all players should take responsibility," Lewis said. “It doesn't matter what age you are. Look at Connor Barron who has been fantastic, he's been a leader on the pitch since he's come in. It needs to come from everyone.

“We certainly need to show more energy and willingness to run and tackle regardless of whether anyone is feeling confident or not. That's non-negotiable really and it's something that we need to inject in our game and show more fight.”

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Aberdeen extras: Lack of attacking threat in Hearts defeat, collective failure, ...

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