It is back to the drawing board for Aberdeen as they try to get a stuttering season back on track.
The optimism built from a sterling week which featured victories against Hibs and Hearts, and a hard-earned point in a 2-2 draw with Premiership champions Rangers at Ibrox has been dented by three straight defeats.
No-one is more surprised than attacker Marley Watkins.
The Wales international had played a key part in the seven point haul which had briefly moved the Dons into the top half of the table, only to slip back down again following losses to Motherwell, Dundee United and Celtic.
The former Caley Thistle player knows his club has no option but to start all over again and as far as he is concerned talk is cheap – it’s time for action to speak louder than words.
He said: “Results will come but now is the time to do it because we have said it quite a lot.
“I thought we’d turned the corner that week we beat Hearts, Hibs and drew with Rangers when we should have won.
“But we have had a couple of defeats so it’s back to square one. We need to turn it around again.”
Dons in need of a drastic improvement
With four wins from their opening 15 league matches and just two from the last 16 games in all competitions it has been an inauspicious start to the campaign from Stephen Glass’ side.
But Watkins remains confident his club’s fortunes will turn.
He said: “Everyone knows we are not in a good position for Aberdeen and it’s disappointing but we have been in every game and it’s fine margins.
“It looks worse than it is, but we need to be better in attack and get the wins. We need to show character, stick together and go out and beat teams.
“If we make sure we’re at it we’ll be fine.”
The first step in what Watkins hopes will be the recovery comes against Livingston, who are the visitors to Pittodrie tonight.
The Dons beat Livi 2-1 at Tony Macaroni Arena in August thanks to a last-minute winner from Jack MacKenzie and Watkins is expecting another tense tussle at Pittodrie.
He said: “Livingston scrap and are very good at what they do, they battle well so we will have to be up for the fight.
“If we can match their scrap then hopefully the quality comes through.”
Watkins hoping Aberdeen revival can lead to Wales recall
Watkins is clearly hoping Aberdeen’s fortunes will turn this month and in 2022, and he hopes he can reap the benefits by forcing his way back into the Wales squad in time for the World Cup play-offs.
Wales will face Austria with the winners having home advantage against either Scotland or Ukraine.
Watkins would love to set-up a battle of Britain play-off final in Cardiff and has no doubt what will happen should the two countries meet for a place in Qatar.
He said: “It’s a great draw, I hope both teams get through their semi-finals – and Wales will win.
“It would be a great game, but we have to get there first because Austria and Ukraine are good so it won’t be easy.
“There hasn’t been much banter yet because we both need to get there, but if we do then I’m sure there will be.
“Will I be aiming to be involved? Why not? If you are doing well for your club then you give yourself a chance.
“It will be amazing at the Cardiff Stadium, the atmosphere is incredible, Welsh fans are passionate and they’re close to the pitch.
“Hopefully that can be an advantage for Wales if we get to the final game. It’s a great place to play, I have played there a few times.”
Hedges also in the international frame
Watkins is not the only Don with international aspirations for Wales with team-mate Ryan Hedges also aiming to earn a recall.
He sees no reason why both cannot force their way back into the national set-up.
Watkins said: “I haven’t been involved for a while but you never know what can happen if you’re playing well.
“It would be awesome so the target is there for me and for Ryan Hedges.
“If we can get more goals and get our stats up then we could get an opportunity.
“I can understand why I dropped out, I have had injuries so it has been stop-start in the last few years.
“But you always hope you can put yourself in the frame again.
“Playing well for your club is what you have to do, so I will just focus on that, hopefully help Aberdeen win games and we see what happens.”