Aberdeen’s damaging inability to balance European demands with Premiership commitments struck again as they lost 2-0 to Hibernian in Edinburgh.
Manager Barry Robson and his squad have struggled to find a solution to competing in both Europe and the Scottish Premiership this season.
In the seven matches immediately following a Thursday Euro match during this campaign the Dons have only won once.
The Dons created enough chances to beat Hibs, hitting the woodwork twice and Bojan Miovski had a penalty saved.
But the bottom line is another defeat.
In the search to solve the conundrum of balancing Europe and domestic demands, Robson heavily rotated his squad this week.
He made seven changes to his starting line-up for the Europa League 2-2 draw at HJK Helsinki on Thursday with many key first team players rested for the Hibs clash.
The Dons boss then made eight changes to the side at Easter Road – but the same problem continued.
This cannot be termed a Euro hangover because only three players who started in Finland started against Hibs.
Aberdeen languishing in bottom six
Aberdeen are languishing 10th in the table, eight points behind fifth-placed Hibs – albeit the Dons have two games in hand.
The struggling Dons have won just three of 13 Premiership games this season.
Last season manager Robson led the Dons to seven straight Premiership wins to ascend from the bottom six doldrums to secure a third-placed finish and European group stage qualification.
The challenge this season is to deliver another third-placed finish.
With seven remaining league matches remaining before the Premiership winter shutdown on January 2 Robson will have to deliver another extended winning streak similar to last to re-ignite the bid for third.
Hibs take route one to the first goal
Hibs created the first opportunity after just 70 seconds when Martin Boyle raced onto a long ball upfield from defender Will Fish.
It caught out the high Aberdeen-back line and allowed Boyle to break into the penalty area but his low drive was saved at the near post by Roos.
That direct route over the top was an early warning, but it was one that was not heeded by the Dons defence who continued to hold a high line.
It back-fired as Hibs grabbed the opener in the 17th minute when defender Slobodan Rubezic was caught beneath a David Marshall goal-kick which dropped to Boyle.
Clean through on goal Boyle squared a pass wide of Roos to the supporting Dylan Vente who rolled into an empty net from 12 yards.
Hibs were left to sweat during a VAR check for offside, but the goal stood.
The Dons have lost all six league games in which they have conceded first this season.
Aberdeen defence ripped apart again
Aberdeen were left exposed defensively yet again as a slide-rule pass from Joe Newell found Jair Tavares on the left.
Tavares’ drive from a tight angle beat Roos, flashed across the face of goal and inches wide of the far post.
In the 37th minute Shinnie won possession from Rory Whittaker and drove into the box before squaring a pass across goal to Miovski.
The striker’s attempt was pushed onto the near post by Marshall.
Following a scramble for the loose ball another Miovski shot was blocked before the striker passed to McGarry who blasted over from 12 yards.
Aberdeen claimed for a penalty just before the break after Ester Sokler went down under pressure from Rocky Bushiri in the box.
Referee Willie Collum and the VAR officials decided there was nothing in the challenge.
Aberdeen denied by the woodwork
Aberdeen had the ball in the back of the net early in the second half via a McGarry shot when latching onto a Clarkson effort that hit the post.
However the goal was chalked off for Ester Sokler impeding keeper Marshall who dropped the ball in the lead up to the disallowed goal.
The woodwork denied Aberdeen a leveller in the 63rd minute when Miovski met a Clarkson cross on the run and unleashed a volley from six yards.
It cracked off the inside of the post. The ball looked to be bouncing towards Sokler yards out but Fish managed to scramble clear off the line.
Against the run of play Hibs made it 2-0 when Fish rose highest to meet a Boyle corner to head home from five yards in the 70th minute.
Aberdeen were awarded a penalty in the 77th minute when a flick by Miovski hit the hand of Lewis Stevenson.
Leading scorer Miovski’s low penalty was saved by diving keeper Marshall to his right.
Aberdeen were left regretting missed chances as the fine margins in football brutally hit home.
ABERDEEN (5-3-2): Roos 6; Devlin 6 (Milne 72), Gartenmann 6, Rubezic 5, Jensen 5, McGarry 6 (Hayes 72); McGrath 7, Clarkson 6, Shinnie 6 (Barron 79); Sokler 6 (Duk 66), Miovski 6.
Subs: Doohan, Gueye, Polvara, Duncan, MacDonald.
HIBERNIAN (4-4-2): Marshall 7; Whittaker 6, Fish 7, Bushiri 6, Stevenson 6; Campbell 6 (Doidge 79), Levitt 6 (Jeggo 79), Newell 7, Tavares 6 (Molotinikov 83); Boyle 7, Vente 7 (Youan 72).
Subs not used: Wollacott, Hanlon, Harbottle, Delferriere, Landers.
Referee: Willie Collum
Man-of-the-match: Martin Boyle (Hibs)