Aberdeen defender Jack Mackenzie insists his club has shown it can cope with adversity after digging deep to come back and beat Livingston on Saturday.
The Dons were far from their best at the Tony Macaroni Arena, but Mackenzie believes the refusal to accept a point after Teddy Jenks’ equaliser, which came days after beating Breidablik 3-2 in the Conference League, shows the mental strength of the side.
He said: “We’ve shown an ability to deal with adversity. We lost two quick goals in Iceland last week, but we came back and got a third goal which lets us take a positive result back to Pittodrie.
“Again on Sunday, we’re a goal down at half-time and this isn’t an easy place to win at all. To turn it around and win 2-1 is really pleasing.
“It shows a real mental strength. At half-time, it’s easy to almost hide in the second half as you are one-nil down on a tough pitch and they are a tough team to play against.
“But we didn’t. We created a lot of chances and got the two goals.”
More of the same against Breidablik
Mackenzie is looking for a repeat of the second half performance at Livi when the Dons welcome Breidablik to Pittodrie for the second leg on Thursday.
He said: “It’s massively important to keep this going on Thursday. We need the same level of performance we showed in the second half. We need to play at that level – not what we did in the first half.
“If we do that we should get a positive result.
“Scott Brown has that winning mentality. He knows the right things to say and how to get things out of players.
“He definitely helps as does the management team and some of the other senior players. It’s a real team effort.”
Dons boss Stephen Glass made six changes for the trip to Livingston on Sunday and it did look as if the decision would backfire following Livingston’s half-time lead.
Mackenzie, who did start both games, knows the first half display was poor, but was pleased to see his team dig deep to secure victory despite not being at their best.
He said: “We weren’t at it in the first half, but came out with a different attitude in the second half.
“We really took the game to them and I think we deserved the win in the end.
“It wasn’t difficult to get up for the game after Thursday. You’ve just got to play every game and we were all ready.
“The manager rotated the team quite a bit from Thursday so everyone was raring to go.
“We just didn’t start well at all, but we got that right in the second half and got the three points.
“It’s the sign of a good team that, even when we weren’t paying that well, we still managed to dig out a victory.
“It shows you the strength of the squad as well that we can rotate that much and still come away with a win. Everyone is buzzing.”
Late strike a memorable first for the club
Mackenzie had equal cause to celebrate after scoring the dramatic winner in stoppage time. His goal had an air of fortune about it, as Livingston goalkeeper Max Stryjek failed to hold his right foot shot before watching it cross the line.
The left-back’s goal was his first for the club and sparked wild scenes of celebration among supporters, some of whom spilled on to the pitch.
The defender said: “It’s how you dream of scoring your first – a last minute winner.
“You can’t get much better than that. I just cut inside and thought that I might as well have a go.
“It’s the old cliche – if you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win the raffle.
“I think my last goal at any level was when I was about 16 – five years ago. It’s so long ago that I can hardly remember.
“I’m not too sure what was going on at the end. I just got lost among the players.
“I thought I hit it well, but I looked up and saw it was going straight at him. Then obviously he’s dropped it into the net.
“I’m not complaining about it.”
The win makes it six points out of six for the Dons in the Premiership, but Mackenzie says there can be no room for complacency.
He said: “You can’t get better than that, but we are just taking each game as it comes.
“We’ve got the European games as well. We’ve done well so far in those.
“It’s been a positive start, but it is only a start. We need to keep going.
“I absolutely won’t be resting on my laurels. I need to keep performing, because I know that one bad performance and you could be out of the team.
“I need to keep improving, keep learning and try to keep playing games.”