Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass insists he needs to protect skipper Scott Brown by not playing him in every game.
Captain Brown was a surprise omission from the starting line-up in the 2-1 Premiership loss at Livingston.
Influential midfielder Brown remained on the bench for the entire game, despite the Reds slipping to defeat.
The result dropped the Dons into the Premiership bottom six.
Glass confirmed Brown ‘needed a break’ as, at 36 years old, he cannot play every game in the Aberdeen’s hectic schedule.
They have 10 fixtures packed into January and February following the Premiership’s winter break.
Summer signing Brown has started 27 of Aberdeen’s 32 games in all competitions so far this season.
The Dons are next in action when hosting Brown’s former club, Premiership leaders Celtic, at Pittodrie on Wednesday.
On why Brown was on the bench at Livingston, Glass said: “We need to protect him as he is 36 years old.
“There is going to come a stage when he can’t play every week.
“We felt that today (Livingston) was the stage that he couldn’t play every week.
“I’m not going to stand and say it was clever in resting him or anything like that.
“He needed a break.”
👌🏼 The diving header.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) October 28, 2021
Brown set to face league leaders
Asked if Brown will be good to go against Celtic, Glass said: “Yes, he should be.
“Obviously we then have Motherwell (Scottish Cup), St Johnstone, Motherwell, so there are a lot of games coming up that we need everyone to be available for.”