Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has urged his players not to rest on their laurels after the team’s winning run came to a halt.
The Dons players let standards slip as they struggled to a 1-1 draw at St Mirren on Monday.
After a 5-0 League Cup win at Falkirk and victories against Partick Thistle and Caley Thistle in the Premiership the Reds were favourites to win at New St Mirren Park but needed a Peter Pawlett goal five minutes from time to earn a share of the spoils.
McInnes knows the performance was poor compared to the previous three games.
He said: “We didn’t play to the standards we have set and I’m disappointed at that and so are the players. We got two league wins back to back and then there was so much euphoria and so much expected of everyone.
“At the same time, we lost a couple of games earlier in the season and it was the end of the world.
“Our reaction to losing a goal on Monday night was strong, though, and that’s encouraging. We have to trust what we are doing, knuckle down and work towards the next game against Ross County.
“We can’t stop what other people are saying but we are not kidded, there is work to be done.”
McInnes has turned to his younger players in recent matches due to injuries. But, with attacker Niall McGinn making his return as a substitute on Monday – he hit the post within minutes of taking the field – and captain Russell Anderson on the bench, those problems are clearing.
Midfielder Willo Flood has resumed training and could make the squad for Ross County on Saturday but McInnes concedes it will be hard to leave out the youngsters. He said: “I am pleased, but not surprised, that some of the players who might not have had an opportunity have come in and played their part.
“Everyone has contributed.
“We said at the start of the season that the emphasis was going to be on the squad.
“We knew we were going to have fewer numbers this season and would maybe be tighter than some sides in the division, but we felt we had players who could come in and do their bit.
“I’m a great believer that you can’t always play your way into the team in training but you can certainly play your way out of it.”