Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes will not let his club’s season peter out following their Scottish Cup exit.
The Dons’s hopes of claiming silverware this season were dashed by Celtic at Hampden on Sunday as the Hoops won 3-0 to keep their hopes of a treble-treble alive.
The defeat leaves the Dons with five league matches remaining of their campaign and with only the top three clubs guaranteed a European place next season the Aberdeen manager wants his side to be one of them.
The Dons are fourth in the Premiership where they trail third-placed Kilmarnock on goal difference and the two clubs meet at Rugby Park on Saturday.
McInnes said: “I’ve reminded the players of the fact our season did not end on Sunday.
“There will be a lot of players leaving at the end of the season. Some will want to leave and some will be going back to their parent clubs so it is important we have a full responsibility to achieve European football by securing third spot.
“We wanted to have a cup final to look forward to but it is important all at the club, especially the players, myself and the staff, show the enthusiasm between those disappointments.
“That’s life, it’s the game, and we have to make sure we get our reward of European football by putting in that effort in the last five games.”
The manner of Sunday’s Hampden loss has hurt the Dons with McInnes and his assistant Tony Docherty sent to the stand, the Dons boss for gesturing to the Celtic fans and Docherty for comments to the officials, while Dom Ball and Lewis Ferguson were also sent-off in a horrendous afternoon for the Pittodrie club.
The Aberdeen manager is disappointed at letting his frustration get the better of him and believes he and his players will learn from the incidents which marred the game.
He said: “To go into the game without Gary Mackay-Steven, Niall McGinn, Graeme Shinnie, Shay Logan and Tommie Hoban, five players who would have started, was tough on us.
“We needed a lot of things to go our way to beat a good Celtic team and little went our way.
“We were a bit tame and I was looking for a bit more but I felt we had weathered the storm and I was planning what I was going to say at half-time when we went down to 10 men and then lost the goal.
“Lewis allowed the frustration of what was going on to get the better of him and he will learn from it. He has to be better than that.
“Similar to Lewis I allowed my frustration at what I was hearing to get the better of me and I’m mad at myself for reacting. Maybe it is a consequence of how I was feeling during the game and I apologise for it, I shouldn’t have reacted.”