Scott McKenna believes a maximum return from the three games before the international break is the minimum requirement following Aberdeen’s capitulation to Celtic in front of their own support on Sunday.
The Dons are licking their wounds after yet another Old Firm hammering, with Sunday’s 4-0 home defeat making it 9-0 on aggregate for Glasgow’s big two against Derek McInnes’ side so far this season.
McKenna says some serious soul-searching is required and insists the upcoming games against Hamilton on Wednesday, Kilmarnock on Saturday and at Ross County next weekend must bring nine points.
He said: “We have three games before the international break and the only way we can recover this is to take nine points from nine.
“There is no point talking about each other behind everyone’s backs. It needs to be constructive because we are all aware it wasn’t good enough.
“We need to find the answers as to why we weren’t good enough, aggressive enough and not pressing and why were we sitting too deep? They are all things we need to answer as a group.”
Dons boss McInnes apologised for the performance of his players and insisted both the supporters and he himself deserve better from the side than the dire display they produced at Pittodrie and McKenna knows his manager is right on both counts.
He said: “We can only apologise, whether the fans want to listen or not. It is not good enough after the highs of the previous week, scoring three good goals and then to be 4-0 down before half-time is hard. “The next game comes quick and we will need to move on quick but we will look into this one. There is not much we can say. We were miles off it and nowhere near good enough and let Celtic do what they wanted.
“Every goal was easy. We were far too passive and not strong enough in the tackle. We have nobody to blame but ourselves – we can’t blame anyone else apart from ourselves. When you are in the team as a defender and you need to put your foot in and make tackles when you are called upon and we didn’t do that.
“None of us were aggressive enough or sharp enough and Celtic ran over the top of us. Forrest, McGregor and Edouard all enjoyed the game far too much.”
McKenna knows he was culpable for some of the goals conceded but he did not shirk away from stating his belief the players within the Pittodrie dressing room need to step forward and show their character.
He said: “We had nothing about us, no character or leadership on the pitch. I think there are leaders here but nobody showed it on Sunday. It is all well and good when you are two or three up and playing good football but you need to show it on games like Sunday, where you need proper leaders to step up and take control of the game, but that didn’t happen.
“I would like to think I was one of them but I was nowhere near it on Sunday either. I was at fault for a couple of the goals so I can’t sit and criticise anyone else.
“I can only reflect on my own performance and make sure that doesn’t happen again.”