Midfielder Connor Barron is confident Aberdeen will “kick on” to deliver success this season despite the shock of their 6-0 hammering by Celtic.
The humiliating defeat to the Premiership leaders at Parkhead left Aberdeen languishing a lowly ninth in the league table.
Aberdeen are just two points ahead of bottom club Livingston.
Barron admits the manner of the defeat at Celtic brought the Dons crashing back down to earth after a strong performance in Greece against PAOK.
Aberdeen drew 2-2 with Group G leaders PAOK in the Europa Conference League fewer than 72 hours before facing Celtic.
Despite that draw, the Reds’ hopes of qualifying from the group stages were extinguished in Thessaloniki.
Barron has backed the Dons to bounce back from their Parkhead howler and the disappointment of losing out on qualification from the group stage in Europe.
The 21-year-old is adamant a Reds squad rebuilt in the summer will “get to where we want to be” this season – although he says it may take time.
Barron said: “It (Celtic loss) was tough to take because we were on a bit of a bounce after the PAOK game and you think you are going to go again.
“But then you get brought down.
“That’s the highs and lows of football and it’s about how you pick yourself up again.
“We know we will get to where we want to be come the end of the season, but it’s just going to take time.
“I really believe we will kick on.”
Barron’s pride in Euro performances
Barron is currently on international duty with the Scotland under-21 squad for Euro 2025 qualifiers against Belgium and Hungary.
It is further continental action for the midfielder after starring in the Europa Conference League group stage with the Dons.
Aberdeen cannot qualify from Group G as they have just two points from four fixtures.
Group G leaders PAOK sit on 10 points, with German Bundesliga giants Eintracht Frankfurt on nine points.
With only two games remaining, those teams cannot be caught.
Aberdeen went toe-to-to with Eintracht Frankfurt, the 2022 Europa League champions, in Germany in a narrow 2-1 defeat in their group opener.
Barron reckons the sense of frustration at missing out on progression from the group is an indication of the Dons’ level of performance on the continental stage.
He said: “The way we have played in Europe this season shows we have to take confidence in our performances.
“It’s something we should be proud of coming up against the teams we have played and producing good displays.
“Yes, we are disappointed not to have qualified, but that says it all.”
Bid to bounce back against Rangers
Barron is out of contract at the end of the season and will be free to talk to any interested clubs when the winter transfer window opens on January 1.
The Dons initially held discussions with the Pittodrie youth academy graduate and his representative more than a year ago.
A deal was offered then, but there was no resolution.
Aberdeen are competing in the group stages of European football for the first time since the 2007-08 Uefa Cup.
Scotland U21 international Barron insists he and the Dons now have a taste for continental group stage action.
The midfielder insists the Reds are determined to secure a return to the Euro groups next season.
However, Aberdeen’s Premiership form will have to improve for that to become reality.
Barron says the fightback from the Celtic hammering begins in the next game at home to Rangers on Sunday, November 26.
Aberdeen also have a Viaplay Cup final against Rangers at Hampden on Sunday, December 17, looming.
Barron said: “We were away in Greece and came back and then we were straight on the bus to Celtic and lost.
“Now we will go back and focus on the Rangers game.
“The European stage is where you want to be playing.
“It has been brilliant for me to be able to say I have been at that level – but I want to come back and do it again.
“It’s now about us getting back to where we want to be by making sure we are back in Europe.
“We have got a big few weeks coming up at Aberdeen and we have the League Cup final, too.”