ABERDEEN captain Graeme Shinnie has expressed confidence the Pittodrie club can bounce back from their weekend mauling by Celtic against Rangers and then go on and enjoy a successful cinch Premiership campaign.

Barry Robson’s team remain just two points above bottom-placed Livingston in the top flight table after 11 matches of the 2023/24 campaign following their humiliating 6-0 defeat at Parkhead on Sunday.

Shinnie acknowledged his side’s display in Glasgow had fallen way below the standard required and dismissed suggestions that the draining Conference League game against PAOK in Greece on Thursday night had been to blame for the woeful performance.

However, the vastly-experienced midfielder is far from despondent about Aberdeen’s lowly league position and is certain they can move quickly into the top six when club football resumes after the international break.

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Their first game back is a difficult one – they take on a Rangers team which has not lost any of the seven matches they have played under their new manager Philippe Clement at Pittodrie on Sunday week.

But ex-Scotland internationalist Shinnie helped Robson’s charges to record a resounding 3-1 triumph against the Govan club away at the end of September and feels they can replicate that result after some much-needed down time.  

“We were not at the races at Parkhead and it wasn’t acceptable,” he said. “Thursday’s game is no excuse.

“Of course, we are not going to get away from the fact it has been a gruelling schedule. We’ve had five away games in a row, there’s no getting away from that. But it’s no excuse for that performance.

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“If anything, you can maybe tire towards the end, but we looked tired from the start. You can’t blame that on fatigue. It’s just not been good enough and overall, like the manager said, not acceptable as a team.

“Potentially, there is mental fatigue. But, again, we ain’t going to use that as an excuse. This is where we want to be. In European competitions and in cup finals, fighting to get into cup finals.

“It’s hard, but we need to deal with it. We can’t use it as an excuse because it is exactly where this club wants to be, so we need to deal with it as a team.”

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Shinnie added: “We went into the game in good form. We had won at Motherwell, get through to a cup final and done well over in PAOK. So three positive performances.

“But, yeah, Celtic was a sore one to take. We’ll use the international break now to have a bit of rest, spend a bit of time with family, recharge the batteries and come back and be ready to go again against Rangers.”

Aberdeen enjoyed an excellent end to the 2022/23 season after Robson replaced Jim Goodwin as manager and Shinnie is confident that the Pittodrie club can do so once again this term.

“It’s still relatively early days and it’s very, very tight,” he said. “We have got games in hand at home to Dundee and Livingston. They are not easy games, but we need to be strong at home. So it’s two games that we feel we can win if we play to our potential.

“It’s a long way to go, even if we look at last season. We were 13 points behind come February time and we managed to finish third. So the focus is on trying to pick our form up, and especially after European games.”