Jonny Hayes believes Aberdeen can take inspiration from last season as they bid to belatedly spark their cinch Premiership campaign into life.
The Dons are currently ninth in the table with just three wins from their 11 games as they adapt to juggling the demands of domestic matters with competing in the Europa Conference League.
However, Hayes is not alarmed by their current predicament as he recalls how they ended up finishing third last term – despite being seventh in early February following a poor run that cost previous boss Jim Goodwin his job.
“There’s still a long time,” said the veteran wide player. “If you look at last season, we can take confidence from that.
“We weren’t in a great place around January time, we slipped down the league, but we still managed to come good and put a run together.
“Regardless of where we are in November, we know if we hit a bit of form and put a run together we can still compete and qualify for Europe next season.”
The Dons host Rangers on Sunday – three weeks prior to their Hampden rematch in the Viaplay Cup final – but Hayes is adamant they are not feeling any extra pressure as a result of their poor start to the league campaign.
Despite being ninth, and having lost their last match 6-0 away to Celtic, they are still within seven points of third-placed St Mirren.
“I think if you get towards March-April time, you want to make sure you’re at the right end of the table, but there’s still a long way to go,” he said.
“You want to win every game, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think we’re getting overly concerned with league positions considering how tight it is. If you’re playing in cup competitions and Europe, and the league is tight it can be of benefit because you know you’re not going to lose too much ground.
“But regardless of whether you’re first or ninth, you’re going out to try and win every game no matter who you’re playing.
“You look more at the league table towards the end of the season, that’s when you’re maybe under a bit more pressure to win games to survive, qualify for Europe or win the league, whatever it may be that you’re trying to do.”