Captain Scott Brown has challenged crisis-hit Aberdeen to secure European qualification to salvage the season.
The Dons are on the hunt for a new manager after Stephen Glass was sacked following the Scottish Cup defeat at Motherwell.
Chairman Dave Cormack and the club’s board wielded the axe on Glass just 11 months into his Pittodrie tenure.
Glass left the Dons with immediate effect alongside coaches Allan Russell and Henry Apaloo.
Struggling Aberdeen have secured just one win in seven games in 2022 – against League Two part-time minnows Edinburgh City.
Despite their lowly league position, Aberdeen are just four points behind fourth-placed Dundee United, who occupy a European qualification berth.
Aberdeen also have a game in hand, which they play against St Johnstone at Pittodrie on Tuesday evening.
Speaking immediately after the cup loss – before Glass was axed – Brown was asked if European qualification could salvage the season.
He said: “That’s the aim. The aim is to qualify as far up the table as possible.
“Tuesday is a huge game for the football club and we owe the fans a good performance, particularly at home.
“The manager can only pick the team and we have to make sure we deliver the performances.
“We have to get back that winning mentality.”
Immediate response demanded
The 2,022-strong travelling Aberdeen support made their frustration clear at full time following the fifth round defeat.
United States-based Cormack attended the game at Fir Park.
Glass was subsequently axed.
Brown, who was part of Glass’ coaching staff, has challenged Aberdeen to turn around their dismal season.
He said: “We fancied our chances going to Motherwell and we wanted to have a good cup run.
“It’s disappointing to go out so early, especially in both cups.
“Now we have to look forward to Tuesday.
“It is a huge game for us and it’s now about how high up we can finish in the league now.
“We have to make sure we go on a proper run.”
Call to ‘defend for our lives’
Aberdeen raced into the lead when Christian Ramirez headed home after just three minutes.
Brown warned Aberdeen must be more ruthless in attack and ‘defend for their lives’.
Aberdeen have secured just five clean sheets in 34 games in all competitions this season.
Brown said: “When you go 1-0 up, you have to try to kill teams off.
“We put the pressure on ourselves to get a second goal and had a couple of chances.
“However, it is also about having the mentality in the team of wanting to keep a clean sheet and defend for our lives.
“We have not done that well enough and have to make sure we bounce back on Tuesday, which is a huge game for our season.”
Aberdeen need to get street wise
Brown has also warned Aberdeen need to get more street wise if they are to start a climb back up the Premiership table.
The Reds have taken just two points from a possible 15 since the Premiership resumed last month after the winter shutdown.
He said: “The lads have fantastic ability, but they (Motherwell) managed to stop 10 or 11 counter attacks by putting their bodies on the line.
“We need to be a lot more wiser that way by stopping counter attacks.
“The second goal was from a corner that came from a counter attack.
“We could probably have stopped it better and defend it better before that.”