Aberdeen skipper Joe Lewis says harsh lessons must be learned after the Dons missed out on a top-six place.
The Reds’ 1-0 defeat to Ross County on Saturday consigned Jim Goodwin’s men to their first bottom-half finish since 2013.
It is an outcome that deepens the extent of Aberdeen’s failings this season, during which they have exited both cup competitions in the early stages.
The poor form resulted in the sacking of previous manager Stephen Glass, who was replaced by former St Mirren boss Goodwin in February.
Goalkeeper Lewis, who has only experienced top-half football since joining from Cardiff City in 2016, says the Reds’ shortcomings were put into sharp focus in their defeat to the Staggies.
Lewis said: “We ended up having 45 minutes to salvage something from the season and try to finish on a positive.
“The second half wasn’t good enough, and it sort of epitomised what has happened previously.
“Every time we feel like we’ve got an important game or an important moment, we have not delivered.
“It’s another one, where we have missed out on what could have been a positive note.
“There are five games left. We have got a break next weekend, and we will need to train hard to try and get this out of our system.
“It’s a really sore one. There’s enormous disappointment, frustration and anger.
“We need to get that out of our system for our next game. We’ve got a bit of time to do that.
“There is a lot of hard work to be done going forward.”
Battle for seventh place ‘not good enough’ for Dons
Joseph Hungbo netted County’s winner from the penalty spot after Jonny Hayes was dubiously penalised for handball.
Shortly beforehand, referee Greg Aitken had refused to award a spot-kick for what appeared to a blatant foul by Connor Barron on Regan Charles-Cook.
The result puts the Staggies firmly in contention to push for a European place, while the Dons will be left to battle to finish best of the rest in the lower half of the table.
Lewis added: “No matter what we do this season, seventh place is the best we can get now. That’s not good enough for Aberdeen, that’s for sure.
“We saw their celebrations at the end for getting into the top-six, and what the rewards can potentially be there.
“We knew their threats and we didn’t really give them anything to go on.
“There were two penalty incidents for them. The first one possibly was, but the second one wasn’t.
“That isn’t the deciding factor in our season. What we haven’t done this season is what has cost us at the end of the day.
“I’m not going to point the finger at a refereeing decision, to blame that for our season.
“Everyone needs to have a good hard look at themselves.”
Reds must make amends to supporters in coming weeks
Lewis says Aberdeen’s players must rally in the final stages of the season in an effort to prove their worth to the Dons fans who voiced their discontent at full-time on Saturday.
The 34-year-old added: “The fans are not the only ones with the frustration, but we have to understand they have shown up in their numbers and there hasn’t really been anything for them to get cheering about.
“They are not alone in that.
“Performances and results are the only way to change that.
“I think the effort was there. It’s easy to say you have worked hard, but ultimately that’s not good enough when you put on an Aberdeen shirt.
“The quality needs to be better. I’m not going to sit here and point the finger at anyone.
“Everyone at the club can do better, and needs to do better.
“That’s what we will work on.”