IF ever there was a vision that summed up the word glum, then Scott McKenna was it. Trudging towards the waiting press corps in the sombre aftermath of Aberdeen’s timorous surrender at Hampden Park, you were generally concerned that the 21-year-old defender would add to the bloody wound he had picked up on his cheek by stubbing his toe on his own face.

McKenna was captain for the day but this particular day turned into a calamity. The beleaguered Aberdeen defence, rent asunder by Motherwell’s marauding, up and at ‘em assaults, looked like they were being marshalled by Captain Chaos at times. This was a sore one for McKenna and his team-mates and the postmortem will be prolonged and grisly.

“The manager was rightly having a go at a few of us because we deserved it,” said McKenna with a sigh. “It was too late after the game, though, for players to argue with each other. “The players should have been getting onto each other during the game and trying to turn it around. It’s easy to do it after the game when it’s over and done with. We just didn’t bring the performance when it was needed. We all went out with the intention to win and try to get to a cup final but we didn’t turn up on the day.”

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It’s all about deeds on the park, not words off it and this crushing blow to the general morale will linger. Aberdeen need to haul themselves up off the floor, dust themselves down and come out fighting again in the post-split tussles which will decide who will claim second place in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

On the evidence of Saturday, you wouldn’t be putting any left over money from the Grand National bets on the not so dandy Dons. When it comes to these crunch occasions, Aberdeen continue to stumble like a panic-stricken cuddy approaching Becher’s Brook. The withering perception that this team cannot deliver when it matters the most continues to prove difficult to shrug off.

“It’s a very disappointing result and performance,” added McKenna, whose miscued clearance in the first half led to a second shambolic goal as the Aberdeen defence seemed to get the heebiejeebies every time the Lanarkshire side powered into menacing territory. “I should clear the ball for the second goal. I should have gone with my right foot, but went with the left and put it up in the air. It caused us a problem and they capitalised on it. We knew how big a chance we had to get to the cup final and we’ve let ourselves down. It felt like Motherwell wanted it more. They outbattled us worked harder than us and when we got chances we didn’t take them. We did have chances and even at 2-0 down if we got one then they may have wobbled.

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“It’s only us that can fix it. The manager has put his trust in us and we’ve let him, the fans down and the club down. There’s still a lot to play for. We definitely need to get second after this result. It will be hard as Rangers and Hibs are going well but we need to pull ourselves together and go again. It’s important we get European football for next season. It won’t be easy to get this out the system. It will be hurting all week … or it should be.”

Ahead of the last few league games of the campaign, McInnes and Aberdeen need to find some answers. What comes after that, when the season has finished and the coals have been raked over, remains to be seen. Asked if a clear out of players “not up for it” was required, McKenna replied: “Yeah, maybe one or two of us but I don’t know the answer to it really.” In this game, there are often more questions than answers.