Gothenburg Great Neale Cooper remains confident Aberdeen can finish best of the rest in the Scottish Premiership for a fourth year in a row.
The Dons return to league duty on Saturday at Kilmarnock following their disappointing 3-0 defeat by Motherwell in the last four of the Scottish Cup.
But Cooper feels the determination to make up for their Hampden heartbreak which prompted Derek McInnes to hint at a drastic overhaul of his squad in the summer coupled with the implosion at rivals Rangers following their 4-0 thrashing by Celtic in the other Scottish Cup semi-final can aid the Dons over the closing stretch.
Rangers are ahead of the Dons on goal difference with five games remaining but the fall-out from their Hampden humbling resulted in Kenny Miller and captain Lee Wallace being suspended by the Ibrox club on Tuesday.
Cooper said: “Aberdeen just have to try to bounce back this weekend at a difficult venue.
“The players know the performance at the weekend wasn’t good enough so the next five games are vital.
“Hibernian are creeping up but the events at Rangers are likely to have an impact.
“It is vital the Dons show some character to finish the season on a positive note.
“They have the ability but it will take a big effort over the remaining games.
“It won’t be easy but they just have to roll up the sleeves and get on with it.”
In the aftermath of Saturday’s loss, McInnes admitted his own recruitment over the past two transfer windows was not good enough.
The Dons spent £400,000 to sign Stevie May from Preston last summer, while Greg Tansey, Nicky Maynard, Gary Mackay-Steven and Kari Arnason were also brought to the club.
Cooper added: “Management is strange.
“You always have one or two players who you think will be great signings but for whatever reason it just doesn’t work out.
“That can happen.
“But Derek has made a lot of very good signings during his time as Aberdeen manager and I’m sure he will do that again this summer.
“It is another season without a trophy and there will be no one more upset than Derek after the weekend.
“But he is a strong character and he won’t have to fire up the players this weekend.
“They will know themselves that they let people down last weekend and when that happens I’m sure they will be determined to turn it around.”