Aberdeen defender David Bates insists he is beginning to rediscover his top form following his summer transfer.
The 25-year-old arrived from German Bundesliga 2 side SV Hamburg in the final week of the summer winter on August 30.
When signing a three-year Dons deal Scotland international Bates had not played any football for almost five months.
His last game before moving to the Dons was with loan team Cercle Bruges on April 10, a 3-0 Belgian top flight defeat of O-H Leuven.
Bates also arrived at Pittodrie having had no pre-season training.
He admits it has taken him time to find his feet at Aberdeen but is confident he is now closing in on the form that saw him capped six times by Scotland.
Bates said: “When I first signed it had been a while since I had played as I didn’t have a pre-season or any pre-season games.
“It was straight into it and I was trying to get games and trying to get ready.
“It was quite hard at first trying to adjust.
“I feel like I’m coming into a game now.”
Just two points ahead of 11th place
Bates returned to the starting line-up for the 2-1 loss at Celtic having missed the 1-0 loss at Dundee United the previous weekend due to illness.
He was part of a centre-back pairing alongside Ross McCrorie at Parkhead as manager Stephen Glass moved to a back four having utilised three at the back in recent games.
The Dons have now lost three consecutive games to drop to eighth in the Premiership table, just two points ahead of Dundee who are in the relegation play-off zone.
Bates insists the focus is on getting wins to move up the table, not looking behind them.
He said: “We just have to focus on ourselves as we have Livingston on Wednesday.
“If we take three points from that we kick on and kick on our season again.
“We got a good result against Rangers, Hearts and Hibs over a week but have dipped off a little bit.
“We are frustrated at ourselves and know we can do better – that we should be up the table.
“However we need to start showing that on the pitch.”
Positives to take from Parkhead
Bates was fouled by Liel Abada in the box for a penalty at Parkhead that Lewis Ferguson converted to level at 1-1.
The Reds would ultimately lose to a deflected goal.
Aberdeen have secured just two clean sheets in 22 games in all competitions this season and Bates was frustrated the Reds left Parkhead empty handed.
However he reckons the Dons have shown their quality in recent visits to Glasgow having drawn 2-2 with Premiership leaders Rangers last month.
Bates has called for a complete 90 minute performance against Livingston, a club just two points behind Aberdeen having played a game less.
Bates said: “Losing at Celtic was disappointing but we showed that we can play.
“At Ibrox and at Parkhead we have shown we have the ability – it’s just a case of trying to do it over the course of the whole game.”
Aberdeen ultimately lost out to a deflected Callum McGregor goal with the Celtic skipper knowing little about it as a Jonny Hayes clearance deflected off him.
Bates believes there are positives to take from the defeat at Parkhead and aims to take them into the showdown with Livingston.
He said: “Celtic had most of the play in the first 15 minutes and we let them dictate too much during that period.
“It was the same in the second half at 1-1.
“We are all disappointed as we know we can play better during those times.
“However, during the game we showed that we can play so there are positives to take.
“We need to carry that on now – especially in Wednesday.”
The threat of Kyogo Furuhashi
Aberdeen managed to limit Celtic danger man Kyogo Furuhashi, the Japanese international, to just one shot at goal.
Furuhashi had netted an audacious goal in the earlier meeting this season, a 2-1 win for Celtic at Pittodrie.
The 26-year-old has netted 13 times this season in all competitions for the Hoops.
Bates was frustrated that despite limiting Furuhashi’s threat they still suffered defeat at Parkhead.
He said:” He (Furuhashi) is sharp and clearly one of Celtic’s best players this season.
“His movement is very good and it’s hard to deal with at times.
“He can produce a bit of magic at times but I thought we handled him pretty well and kept him quite quiet.
“It is just frustrating that we did not get at least a point.”