It took mere hours for Derek McInnes’ words to come back to haunt him. The Aberdeen boss had told the Daily Record that a cup competition remained his side’s best chance of glory this season, then watched as Ladbrokes Championship side Hibernian dumped them out of the League Cup.
An eight-game winning streak had propelled the Dons to the top of Europe’s form tables, but the 2-0 loss to Alan Stubbs’ side quickly doused that excitement. Injuries to Graeme Shinnie and Willo Flood only compounded the defeat.
Any concerns that the upset will derail the club’s Ladbrokes Premiership title tilt can be laid to rest though, as McInnes has proved himself to be a capable crisis-averter in his time on the Dandies’ touchline.
Only once in his tenure has the former midfielder lost more than two Aberdeen games on the trot. What’s more, McInnes only has three other runs of consecutive defeats on his record across his 116 all-competition games in charge.
Belief that the top-flight leaders will respond positively to their League Cup departure at the first opportunity can also be backed up by the history books.
In 2013/14, McInnes’ first full season in charge, a six-game unbeaten run was ended by a 1-0 defeat to Ross County. The Dons responded by winning all of their next four games to nil.
Later that same season, Partick Thistle’s 3-1 league triumph spawned a run of nine outings without defeat, with the Dons starting that streak with victory over Celtic in their next game.
The following term Dundee ended hopes of FA Cup glory in the fourth round, but the Granite City men quickly remedied that heartache with a seven-match blitz in the top-flight, again ending each outing unbreached.
After Dundee United dumped them out of the League Cup at the penultimate hurdle later that year, Aberdeen beat Ross County, Hamilton Academical and St Mirren by an aggregate 10-0 scoreline in the league.
So while it may smart to be out of the League Cup now, there is little chance of McInnes allowing the pain to be too prolonged.
Aberdeen travel to Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the league next and are 21/10 chances to claim a doom-clearing win to nil.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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