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Greg Leigh admits Aberdeen must do some soul-searching after shock Betfred Cup exit

Aberdeen's Greg Leigh (R) in action.
Aberdeen's Greg Leigh (R) in action.

Defender Greg Leigh admits he and his Aberdeen teammates will have to do some soul-searching after their shock Betfred Cup loss against St Mirren.

A horrible fumble from Dons goalkeeper Joe Lewis gifted Jamie McGrath a late winner for the Buddies in Saturday’s last-16 tie in Paisley.

Jamaica international Leigh felt his side paid the price for a disjointed first-half display with the Dons falling behind to Ilkay Durmus’ early free-kick.

They could easily have been two or three down before Niall McGinn restored parity just before the break, but McGrath’s late winner earned Jim Goodwin’s side a place in the quarter-finals.

It was a depleted Aberdeen’s third away match in six days, but Leigh was refusing to use his side’s demanding schedule or lengthy injury list as an excuse.

He said: “There is probably no explanation for it.

“You can look at excuses like having to play so many away games, and some of the guys not playing enough football, but we started the game slowly, and I don’t know if some thought we would cruise it, or whatever.

“Not everyone’s head was where it should have been. Our second half was better, but we didn’t start the game nearly fast enough, and that comes down to each and every single player just not being good enough.

“I think that everyone needs to look at the performance.

“I know that I need to sit and think about what I could do better. I think it is important to have that pride and that consistency, and to say, ‘right, I am going to be as good as I can be today.’

“We definitely lacked that. We need to look at ourselves individually and as a team.”

Leigh refused to point the finger of blame at Dons captain Lewis for his part in the Saints winner with McGrath’s shot squirming past the former Peterborough and Cardiff City stopper.

Leigh said: “That happens in football. Joe’s fantastic save saved a point for us on Wednesday night, and I don’t think any of us came through today well.

“At the end of the day, they had that shot, and there were plenty of us there who could have blocked it.

“With people missing, it is difficult, because momentum is obviously lost.

“When these people have been playing, that has been a big foundation of why the team has played well and been winning, so when you take that away, obviously it is other people’s chance to come in and play well.

“But, to come in and fill other people’s shoes, that is a big ask.

“The minimum you can ask for is a big amount of effort and a big amount of commitment, which we didn’t see so much in the first half, but we saw more of in the second half.

“Obviously, when you are missing those players, the effect is felt throughout the team.”

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