Aberdeen can go top of the Premiership on New Year’s Day, even if it is only for a matter of hours, but Dons midfielder Peter Pawlett insists talk of a title challenge remains premature.
The Reds made it eight clean sheets in 10 matches as they recorded their fifth league win in a row with a 1-0 victory in Inverness yesterday.
Pawlett knows excitement is building among Dons supporters who have this month watched their side move up to second place in the league, within two points of champions Celtic. But he maintains none of the players will be getting carried away.
Pawlett said: “We want to improve on last year and beat our points tally.
“The manager keeps drilling it into us that we can’t get ahead of ourselves and we have to take it one game at a time – every match is a different challenge.
“Picking up the points every week is the challenge and if we can do that consistently we’ll see where it takes us. We’ve got St Johnstone next on Thursday and that will be every bit as tough as this one was for us.
“They are in great form themselves and have won the last five, so we know that will be another tough match and one we have to play well if we are to pick up the three points.”
Despite recording another win, the Dons were short of their best but Pawlett, who scored the only goal of the game at Caledonian Stadium to settle a tense encounter, believes rolling up the sleeves and digging deep for results is every bit as important as sweeping aside the opposition.
He added: “We’re delighted with the three points as it’s a really difficult place to go to.
“They put us under a lot of pressure at the end of the first half and towards the end of the game, so it’s a great three points for us.
“We’ve learned as a team to grind out results and we know what it takes to win games even when we don’t play at our best.
“We know we have to work hard and take our opportunities when they come and that’s what we did. We’ve got both sides of our game and the manager has drilled it into us that we have to do the hard graft at times.
“Thankfully, we managed that again.”