Aberdeen player-coach Scott Brown insists lessons have to be learned if the Dons are to bounce back from their Premier Sports Cup exit at Raith Rovers.
A disappointing display cost Aberdeen dear as they let a half-time lead slip against John McGlynn’s side at Kirkcaldy and Brown believes the cup exit is one the Dons must take heed from.
He said: “Sunday brought us back down to earth. We’ve done really well the last few weeks but now we have to see how we react to this as we have a huge game coming on Thursday which we need to get ourselves up for.
“Sunday’s level of performance wasn’t us. We need more throughout the team and from the subs who came on as well. We need more from everyone.
“We lost a goal then didn’t look comfortable on the ball. We have to be honest with ourselves and take it on the chin. It’s not how we want to play. We were playing long balls when we want to play the ball on the deck.
“This is a hard one to take but we’ll go over it and figure out how we’re going to go forward against teams who want to play football but defend very deep as well. We need to find the holes and figure out how to play through them as we didn’t create any chances in the second half.”
Changes were not a factor in cup exit
Brown, who is also team captain at the club, started the game on the bench after Dons boss Glass made seven changes from the side which beat Breidablik in the Conference League on Thursday.
Five of the players rested came off the bench in the second half as Glass tried to regain the initiative from Raith in the second half.
Glass was adamant the side he chose should have been good enough to win the tie and Brown insists the blame should be shouldered by every player who was involved and not the starting 11.
He said: “It’s not the fact bigger players are out, everyone is fighting for their place. That is what squads are all about and we need to help each other and not throw each other under the bus.
“There were 16 players who were on the park so there is a huge responsibility throughout the squad.
“It’s one game and it happens in football. Football is all about bouncebackability and we are lucky we have a huge game on Thursday which we need to focus ourselves on.”
Attention switches to Europe
There is little time for the Dons to lick their wounds following their shock cup exit on Sunday as the team flies out to Azerbaijan on Tuesday to prepare for Thursday’s Conference League playoff round first leg against Qarabag.
Brown knows what lies ahead for his side after playing against Qarabag in 2015 when he was at Celtic.
The Hoops edged a Champions League third qualifying round 1-0 on aggregate after holding Qarabag to a goalless draw in the second half.
Much has changed in the Azerbaijan side in the six years since but Brown expects a stern test for his side.
He said: “It’s a different team from when we played. There were a lot of Brazilians then but they have homegrown talent now. We’re looking forward to it. We need a good result over there to keep the tie alive and bring them back to Scotland to show them how we play.
“I think there were about 22,000 and it was a good atmosphere. The pitch was a little soft but they were a good team and it was a good battle. They are a good team and to get into the group stages you have to beat good teams.”
The focus is now firmly on the crucial first leg but Brown is looking for a response to Sunday’s cup exit both in Europe and in the two Premiership matches at Hearts and at home to Ross County before the international break at the end of the month.
He said: “We’ll deal with the time difference whether it is staying on UK time or switching.
“We’ve got seven hours to reflect on a disappointing result on the flight. We have to focus on Thursday and next weekend as every game will be massive between now and the international break.”
The Dons captain, meanwhile, was in no mood to continue the discussion about Breidablik after being accused of being a bully by the Icelandic team’s manager following Thursday’s 2-1 second leg win at Pittodrie.
But Brown said: “I thought his comments were ridiculous and he obviously didn’t like me saying that to him. He says I’m a bully, well that’s life.”