SPL

Better teams have gone down – Peter Leven knows Aberdeen are in relegation scrap

By Sports Desk March 13, 2024

Aberdeen caretaker manager Peter Leven warned his players that better teams have got relegated after a 1-0 defeat at Dundee left them just three points above the cinch Premiership danger zone.

Luke McCowan’s 66th-minute penalty, following a VAR-assisted handball call against Jack MacKenzie, earned the home side a well-deserved three points at Dens Park as Aberdeen’s run without a league win stretched to 11 matches.

A late equaliser for Ross County against Hibernian edged the Dingwall side closer to the Dons and allowed Dundee to jump back into the top six – leaving the spectre of the play-offs hanging over Leven’s side.

Leven is expected to remain in charge for Saturday’s trip to Motherwell after being put back in caretaker charge following Neil Warnock’s departure and he had some home truths for the players after a fourth consecutive league defeat.

“Not good enough,” the first-team coach said. “First half, really poor. Started well second half and the goal has killed us. But, for me, not enough quality on the ball and we dropped too deep.

“I just said to them, listen, we are in trouble. You have got to find a way. We had some honest words in there.

“We are running out of games and we have got to pick up points. Yeah, I could blame VAR but it’s just not good enough. (The penalty) was harsh, I have only seen one replay, but whatever I can say can’t change it.

“We have got to stand up and be counted now, that was nowhere near good enough for Aberdeen Football Club.

“Better teams have gone down, probably. It’s a big game on Saturday now.

“It’s about desire, playing for the badge, playing for the fans. We never picked up second balls, we never tested them.”

The travelling fans chanted “sack the board” in the closing stages and “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” as the players left the park.

Leven said: “I apologise to the fans. They pay their hard-earned cash to come here and follow us all over Europe and Scotland.”

Dundee manager Tony Docherty was delighted with his side’s display.

“I thought it was a fantastic performance, one of the best of the season,” he said. “We had huge dominance in the first half, I was bemoaning a final pass and cross but the level of performance was outstanding.

“Before the game we were bemoaning the fact we were surrendering too many leads. I felt, when we went 1-0 up, I didn’t have any fear we would lose the game.

“Aberdeen threw a lot at us but the mentality of the team was fantastic and it shows we are learning and developing.”

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