Boss Stephen Glass has challenged his depleted side to overcome their injury nightmare against Rangers at Ibrox.
Glass suffered a triple injury blow in the build up to the clash with the league leaders in Glasgow.
He confirmed defenders Calvin Ramsay, Jack MacKenzie and Declan Gallagher will all miss at least the next three games against Rangers, Hearts and Motherwell before the international break.
However Glass fears they could be ruled out even longer.
Aberdeen will tonight face a Rangers side in mourning following the passing of Ibrox and Scottish football legend Walter Smith at the age of 73.
Aberdeen will join Rangers before the game in paying tribute to Smith.
However when the game begins Glass has challenged his depleted side to deliver a result to build on the momentum of the recent 1-0 defeat of Hibs.
Glass said: “We will have a depleted group but it is the chance to show ourselves.
“Although disappointing it does give other people opportunities.
“We don’t want the game on Saturday against Hibs to be a one off and then we become yo-yoing again.
“If we can continue to build and develop the team particularly when we go to places like Rangers which ois quite a hostile environment then we will be going in the right direction.
“The best atmosphere to play in is when there are full houses and to me people against you on the football pitch.
“The chance to quieten it down is massive and it feels good when it happens.”
Ramsay, MacKenzie and Gallagher all out
Glass received dreaded confirmation that full-backs Ramsay and MacKenzie, the two shining lights so far this season, and Scotland international Gallagher are out until at least the international break.
Scotland U21 international Ramsay, 18, was forced off just 30 minutes into the game against Hibs with a quad muscle problem.
Ramsay has pitched in with four assists in the last four games and has been so impressive he is on the radar of English Premier League outfits Manchester United, Everton, West Ham, Leicester City and Southampton.
Scotland international centre-back Gallagher came off in the 43rd minute and needed crutches having suffered a hamstring injury.
Left-back MacKenzie missed the defeat of Hibs having suffered an ankle injury during training.
Glass said: “We are still awaiting time scales on them but injured players are looking at being out for a few weeks unfortunately.
“It is really unfortunate as the two young full backs Ramsay and MacKenzie have been brilliant for us all season.
“Declan Gallagher is similar and we are waiting on the diagnosis fully but again it is probably going to be a number of weeks.
“They will certainly miss the three (games) before the international break.
“It will be close I think for afterwards but again I wouldn’t be surprised if they missed one or two after.”
Scott Brown could operate at centre-back
Glass could yet push skipper Scott Brown, 36, into a centre-back role at Ibrox to help cope with the defensive crisis.
He said: “It is an option that we have got.
“I think we have a flexibility within the group that if we play four with Scott there we have the chance to go to five at any point really during the game.
“That flexibility in the team helps.”
Keeper Joe Lewis returned to action against Hibs having been dropped to the bench for the previous two games following a dip in form.
Lewis needed treatment for a head knock following a collision with team-mate Ross McCrorie but is fit to face Rangers.
Glass said: “Joe is fine. He has a bit of a black eye, he has a couple of stitches in his nose but he is good.”
Aberdeen will pay tribute to Walter Smith
Ibrox will be shrouded in grief tonight following the passing of club legend Smith.
During his time at Rangers he led the club to nine-in-a-row, lifting 21 trophies, and also managed Scotland and Everton with distinction.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) October 26, 2021
Glass insists Rangers and Aberdeen can tonight pay tribute to a Scottish football great.
He said: “You are talking about one of the absolute greats, alongside Jock Stein, Jim McLean, Billy McNeill – all those people.
“We get the chance to pay respect to him.
“We will be part of that as Aberdeen people.
“It’s a chance for both clubs to pay their respects to an absolute giant of the game in Scotland.
“When there is a silence as well it is a bit more poignant.”
A club in grief at the loss of a legend
Glass accepts a club and support in grief will be determined to deliver a win on the night they pay tribute to the Ibrox legend.
That makes an already tough task with a depleted defence all the more harder – but when the game starts Glass insists all focus is on getting a result.
He said: “There is going to be an emotional atmosphere for everybody connected to Rangers – that’s a definite.
“I’m sure they will want to do justice to the memory of someone who has been magnificent for their club.
“It will be silent and then a huge amount of noise.
“It’s a game of football after that and that’s what we can focus on and control.
“It’s important we try to quieten it down again as much we can.”
‘A great man willing to pass on his advice and his wisdom’
In 1986 Smith joined manager Graeme Souness at Ibrox as his assistant before taking sole charge five years later.
Under Smith’s guidance Rangers dominated Scottish football and secured nine successive league titles.
Smith also led Rangers to five Scottish Cups, six League Cups and the UEFA Cup final.
Glass said: “Two years ago I was fortunate enough to meet him in Atlanta.
“His brother lived in Atlanta so he was out at the training ground.
“I was fortunate to spend a little bit of time with him talking about coaching and managing-things like that.
“The fact Sir Alex (Ferguson) took him to Manchester United as assistant late in his career and also to the World Cup speaks volumes.
“I think anybody who has crossed paths with him would say the same – he was a great man willing to pass on advice and his wisdom.”