Lewis Ferguson believes Aberdeen have only themselves to blame after squandering their chance to reach the play-off round of the Europa League for the first-time under Derek McInnes.
The Dons hopes of overturning a 2-0 first leg deficit were ruthlessly ended by a clinical HNK Rijeka at Pittodrie on Thursday as the Croats won 2-0 in the Granite City to secure a 4-0 aggregate win.
Rijeka head for Belgium to face Gent next week. For the Dons, there is only frustration.
Ferguson said: “Everybody was confident in the changing room and once the draws were made all the boys were talking about it.
“Everybody was fairly confident of getting through this tie – I don’t think Rijeka were on a different level from us.
“Both games were pretty even, they were more clinical, they were better in both boxes and that was the difference.
“It could have swung either way in the first leg and they got the penalty and it swings their way and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb.
“Does that add to the frustration?
“Yes because when you’re going into these ties you feel as if you can go and get through it.
“Even after the first leg I was positive that we would turn it around but it just wasn’t to be. We were slack from our set plays.
“The first one was a corner and the second was a free-kick and both times they’ve broken in the exact same way and killed the game.
“It’s poor from us, it’s naive and it needs to be something that’s stopped at source.” The Aberdeen players will attempt to put their European exit behind them when they face Dundee at Dens Park tomorrow for a place in the quarter-finals of the Betfred Cup. Ferguson will play the role of spectator as he serves a suspension in the cup-tie but the midfielder knows the importance of a strong response against the Championship side tomorrow.
He said: “I’m suspended for the game but the boys need to rest and recover and pick themselves back up.
“The gaffer has spoken about that after the game about how important it is to go and win this game and put everything into that game to put things right.
“It will be tough for me missing the game because as soon as you suffer a loss you just want to get back out and put things right.
“Hopefully the boys can do the job and win the game. Hopefully they rest and recover well and get us through to the next round,” added the midfielder.