GRAEME Shinnie has told his Aberdeen team mates they need to channel the pain of their narrow Viaplay Cup final defeat and concentrate on hauling themselves up the cinch Premiership table.

Shinnie and his Pittodrie team mates missed out on the chance to lift their first trophy in nine years at Hampden on Sunday afternoon when they were beaten 1-0 by their bitter rivals Rangers.

But the midfielder knows they can’t afford to dwell on the disappointment with five league games to play before the winter break next month – starting with an encounter with struggling Livingston at home tomorrow evening.

The former Scotland internationalist accepts that Aberdeen, who are currently in 10th place in the table, have not performed as well as they can in the Premiership during the 2023/24 campaign.

The Herald: However, the 32-year-old helped Barry Robson’s team put a poor spell of form firmly behind them and secure third place in the second half of last season and remains confident they can do the same in the coming months.

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“I told the boys after the game we need to use the hurt as fuel for the rest of the season,” he said.  “We can’t afford any sort of hangover. We need to turn our league season around. We need to use Sunday’s game to drive us on. 

“For a lot of the boys it’s their first cup final in Scotland so dealing with losing it is a new experience for them. It hurt on Sunday, but we have to digest it, forget about it and move on. 

“There is a long way to go. We have a lot of league games and there’s also the Scottish Cup to go for. The league is where we are focused now so it’s a good thing to be playing again on Wednesday. 

“In football it’s always a good thing when you have a game quickly after a defeat because it’s a chance to get going again. We need to put a run together now, put the league form right and start climbing up the table. 

“We had a good result in Hearts in the league (Aberdeen beat the Tynecastle club 2-1 at Pittodrie thanks to a last minute Leighton Clarkson goal) so we need to build on that, get some momentum and get up the league.” 

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Shinnie feels that being involved in the Conference League has been partially responsible for Aberdeen’s dire run of results in the Premiership and is hopeful that not having any European games to play in midweek will lead to an upturn domestically.

“This season has been gruelling, to be honest,” he said. “It has been tough, one of the toughest I’ve had in football. We have done a lot of travelling and had a lot of big games. But that’s what it’s like when you’re at the level of playing in European group stages and cup finals. 

“It comes thick and fast and you have to deal with it. It has been tougher than playing down south because in the European games you put so much into them. But that’s what you want to be doing as a club, so we have to get used to it and learn how to deal with it. 

“Now we have a run of league games we need to win to get to where we want to in the table. We went on a great run last season to get up to third so of course we believe we can do it again. 

The Herald: “We have had some poor games this season, we’re not going to lie, but we have also had some good performances as well. We know what we’ve got in the squad and the quality we’ve got. But there has been enough talking now, we have to start doing it on the pitch and pick up.” 

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Shinnie acknowledged that Aberdeen will need to improve when they are in possession if they want to start turning draws and defeats into victories in the Premiership. 

“It was gutting,” he said. “It wasn’t a great quality of game. It certainly felt like that playing in it, so I expect it was the same watching it. Both teams cancelled each other out and it felt in the game like one goal would take it either way.

“Unfortunately for us, Rangers got it and we didn’t. Was the game panning out the way we hoped? Not really, we needed to be better on the ball. 

“In the first half we had a few counter attacks that if we’d been better with our passing when it was three-v-two or whatever, then we could have hurt them. But we misplaced a few passes and didn’t do enough in the game to win it. 

“We let them off the hook a few times in the transitions. There were times it would have been one pass to break into those areas, but we didn’t do it and we paid the price for it. 

“It was a scrappy game, a typical cup final where nobody really went out and grabbed it. One goal was always going to win it the way it panned out, we’re just gutted the goal went against us when it came.”