Graeme Shinnie admits that Aberdeen have too often been the masters of their own downfall this season as the Dons skipper urged his side to cut out the sloppy errors and get back to winning ways.

Barry Robson’s side occupy 11th place in the cinch Premiership standings and have still to record a first league win of the campaign, and their plight was pulled into sharp focus at Tynecastle on Saturday against a Hearts team that had lost its last four games on the bounce in all competitions.

Yutaro Oda’s 15th-minute goal put the hosts in the driving seat early on in the capital and Aberdeen toiled to get back into the game before Liam Boyce’s second-half strike all but sealed the win for Steven Naismith’s men.

Shinnie rued the Dons’ sloppiness at both goals – the first arrived via a well-executed counter, the second was a rebound tucked home from a few yards out – and he accepts that the travelling supporters were right to boo the players come the full-time whistle.

“I can understand their frustration and we fully accept we haven’t been good enough,” said the midfielder. “We got a lot of plaudits last season because we did well and everyone enjoyed it. But now we are not doing well we have to accept the criticism.

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“The fans have backed us tremendously but we haven’t been good enough so far. All we can do is start winning games and give them a team to be proud of.

“We have not scored many goals. We didn’t score at home to Hibs and didn’t score at Hearts. And we have been conceding too many goals so we need to be more solid defensively.

“Last season, that’s what we were very good at - at one stage we conceded one in seven or eight games. We have to be harder to beat. Sometimes it feels like we have been gifting goals and we haven’t been getting them.

“We need to stop beating ourselves sometimes. We need to cut out the sloppy mistakes and make ourselves harder to score against. When you are that team, with the players we have at the top end of the pitch, you know you’ll win games.

“All we can do is work hard, we have to work together and stick together. It’s a new group so the boys are getting to know each other still but there’s no rest for the wicked.

“There are plenty of games coming thick and fast to turn it around. This is Aberdeen, we know where we are and we’re at a big club. The only way to turn it around is performances and winning games.”

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The fixture list hasn’t been kind to the Dons in this instance. A midweek trip to Germany to face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa Conference League is next up on the agenda, where the prospect of even a draw seems highly remote.

The 2022 Europa League winners will be the odds-on favourites to claim three points but Shinnie insists that Aberdeen won’t be treating the fixture as a free hit.

“The pressure is never off, especially in these situations,” he added. “Thursday will be tough, we know that, but we want to be in these competitions playing against these teams.

“We are looking forward to it. We’ll need to stick together as a team, defend as a team and help each other out. It will be a beautiful stadium, a good crowd and a good team to play against - so it’s the kind of game you want to be involved in.”

For Hearts, meanwhile, Saturday’s victory signalled a welcome return to form following an indifferent start to the new season. Having lost their two previous league games before the international break – and having failed to find the net in either of them – a controlled and commanding win was just the lift Naismith and his players needed.

Centre-half Frankie Kent was impressed with the team’s performance as they kept their opponents at arm’s length for 90 minutes, and urged Hearts to show that same consistency in the coming weeks as the squad continue to gel.

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“It was nice to get a win and a clean sheet,” said the summer signing. “We needed it because we had to show a reaction to what happened before the break. It was a good performance all round. It was good from start to finish, we played with a high intensity and had our game plan.

“We knew what threats they had because they are a good team and I think our energy showed today. We showed that we are fighting for everything, we closed down the ball well, won our duels and our tackles. But we also had the calmness to implement what we wanted to do to hurt them. I think that was a big factor.

“Can this be a statement performance? I think so. It’s still the start of the season and we need to improve on a lot of things but there were a lot of positives to take. We still have to get better at things and are learning what we need to improve on but it’s good and everyone is happy with how we played.

“We need to get consistency and a run of games, nobody is getting carried away because we need to build on it now. We have to do it again next week so this week we’ll rest up and hopefully do the same next week.”