Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin has been delighted by the reaction of his new-look team following their “reality check” against Motherwell.
The Dons were strong favourites to follow up a 4-1 home win over St Mirren when they hosted Steven Hammell’s side last weekend but were on the end of a 3-2 defeat.
Goodwin described it as an “off day” but has been encouraged by the response as his players prepare to take on St Johnstone in the cinch Premiership on Saturday.
“When you are trying to change things as drastically as we have – we let 15 players go and brought 12 in – these things don’t just click overnight,” he said.
“For the new players on Saturday, it was just a little bit of a reality check because we have had plenty of plaudits in the games prior to that.
“Sometimes you learn more about people in defeat than you do when you’re winning. It’s all very easy when things are going well and the atmosphere is bubbly and everybody is high-fiving each other.
“You find out more about personalities when you are up against it and when you have had a bad result.
“The reaction from the players this week has been exceptional, it really has. We spoke about the game on Monday morning for half an hour, we were all in agreement that it wasn’t acceptable, that we need to raise the level of performance again and get back to what it was against St Mirren the previous week.
“That’s all it is really, there’s no panic stations.”
Goodwin has learnt lessons from the defeat ahead of the trip to Perth.
The Irishman, who has doubts over the fitness of Hayden Coulson, Matty Kennedy and Leighton Clarkson, said: “We are still a very new group, there are still a number of players from other countries and this is their first experience of the Scottish Premiership.
“Maybe Saturday was a bit of an eye-opener to them in terms of what to expect when teams come to Pittodrie.
“The majority of teams are going to come to Pittodrie and set up the way Motherwell did with 10 men behind the ball and trying to hit us on the counter-attack.
“I thought Motherwell executed that game plan brilliantly, so full credit to Stevie Hammell and his players for that, but it’s up to us to find a way to break the opposition down.
“I think this Saturday against St Johnstone will be quite similar. They are very much a counter-attacking team, very organised defensively and look to hit you on the break. We have to be prepared for that, and we are.
“We have spoken about it this week, we have to move the ball a little bit quicker, we have to be a bit brighter and be more creative and take more risks in the final third.
“But we have to be better in those transitions. When we lose possession of the ball we have to make ourselves harder to beat and not be so open.
“I felt that was the real problem against Motherwell, we were far too open in those transition periods.
“The mistakes that we made are ones we can fix and make sure they don’t happen again.”