Aberdeen interim boss Peter Leven revealed he told the Reds to relax and be brave during a rousing half-time talk in the 1-1 draw with Celtic.
Leven ended a nine game losing streak to Celtic in the Premiership just four days after being thrust into the interim manager role.
First team coach Leven saved Aberdeen the ignominy of losing 10 straight league games to Celtic for the first time in the club’s 121-year history.
The 40-year-old admits he is unsure if he will be in the dugout for Tuesday’s clash with Rangers at Ibrox as the Pittodrie hierarchy search for a new manager.
The Reds failed to register a single shot at goal in the first half in the home clash against Premiership leaders Celtic.
However his motivational talk revitalised the Dons who went ahead via a Bojan Miovski strike soon after the break.
Celtic hit back via a Nicolas Kuhn goal to deny Leven a sensational win.
Leven, assisted by Scott Anderson, was pitched into the caretaker manager role after Barry Robson was sacked on Wednesday following a 1-1 draw with Dundee.
He said: “At half-time I just said relax.
“I sat them down and said believe in yourselves, be a bit more braver on the ball.
“I told them they are top players who do it every day in training.
“And you could see it in the second half.
“They were more confident and got the ball under control.
“Celtic are a good team that are going to pin you back.
“They turned the possession over but we just needed to make a few more passes.
“We had a lot of chances and the boys ran well in the second half and pressed them a lot better.
“It was just about belief.”
‘I’m just going to take it day by day’
Aberdeen aim to appoint an experienced interim manager until the end of the season, with veteran Neil Warnock one candidate in the frame.
A short-term appointment will allow the club’s hierarchy the time to appoint a permanent long-term boss in the summer.
It is understood Aberdeen hope to make an appointment next week.
Asked what has he been told about what happens next, Leven said: “Nothing.
“I have just told the boys we are in for recovery on Sunday and I’m just going to take it day to day.”
Asked if he expected to still be in charge against Rangers, he said: “I don’t know yet.”
‘Massive’ confidence boost for Ibrox
Leven was thrown in at the deep end when handed the managerial reigns just days ahead of facing Celtic.
Did Leven enjoy it?
“When he (referee) blew the final whistle,” he laughed.
“At the end of it when they put up six minutes (injury time) I turned round to Scotty (Anderson) and said that’s six minutes to win it.
“It was really good, I enjoyed it.
“They are a great bunch of boys who ran all over the pitch and gave everything.
“We can take massive confidence (to Ibrox) as it is a good point.
“I expect us to be at it.
“We just need to believe in ourselves as we are a top team and we showed that in the second half.”
First start for loan midfielder Phillips
Leven made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 against Dundee on Wednesday, a result that precipitated Robson’s dismissal.
He went with four at the back and on loan Crystal Palace midfielder Killian Phillips was handed a first start.
Phillips had the tough task of keeping the shackles on Celtic captain and Scotland international Callum McGregor.
He did a granite solid job and was applauded off the pitch when substituted.
Aberdeen may have found a replacement for Ylber Ramadani, albeit only until the end of the season.
In the seventh minute Celtic had a Luis Palma goal disallowed for offside following a VAR check.
In an underwhelming first half Palma had a shot saved and then clipped the bar on the half-hour mark.
On the stroke of half-time Paulo Bernardo hit the bar with a shot from the centre of the box.
In the first-half Celtic registered 13 shots (three on target), eight corners and had 72% possession. Aberdeen had zero shots and zero corners.
Goal hero Bojan Miovski stuns Celtic
Aberdeen exploded into an attacking threat after the break.
The Reds went ahead with their first shot at goal when Bojan Miovski raced onto a Dante Polvara through-ball.
Powering upfield Miovski shimmed, hen stepped past Maik Nawrocki before firing a superb left-footed shot beyond keeper Joe Hart for his 19th goal of the season.
🗣️ "That was the moment he was waiting for!"
Bojan Miovski fires Aberdeen ahead against Celtic! Watch the second-half live on Sky Sports 📺 pic.twitter.com/zHnwxJHFzz
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) February 3, 2024
In the 61st minute Phillips noticed keeper Hart off his line and attempted to lob him from 45 yards but his audacious effort flashed just wide.
Celtic hit back in the 63rd minute as substitute Nicolas Kühn netted with a low 12 yard left-footed drive.
Celtic substitute Nawocki was fortunate not to receive a second card for a rash challenge on Miovski.
In the 70th minute Miovski found Graeme Shinnie unmarked 12 yards out.
The midfielder was in space and had only keeper Hart to beat but his low drive was straight at the stopper who blocked.
The Dons captain should have scored.
The match raged on at a frantic pace with both teams creating chances that neither could convert.
ABERDEEN (4-2-3-1): Roos 7; Devlin 7, Gartenmann 7, Jensen 7, MacKenzie 7; Barron 7, Shinnie 8; Polvara 7 (Duk 77), Phillips 7 (Clarkson 62), McGrath 7; Miovski 8.
Subs not used: Doohan,Hayes, Sokler, Morris, Duncan, MacDonald, Milne
CELTIC (4-3-3): Hart 7; Johnston 6, Nawrocki 6 (Welsh 77), Scales 7, Bernabei 6 (Ralston 59); O’Riley 7, McGregor 7, Bernardo 5 (Idah 59); Abada 6 (Kuhn 59), Furahashi 6, Palma 7 (Vata 87).
Subs not used: Bain, Holm, Kelly, Forrest
Referee: Steven McLean
Man-of-the-match: Bojan Miovski (Aberdeen)