Aberdeen captain Anthony Stewart insists players must take full responsibility for the worst result in the club’s history… not boss Jim Goodwin.
Pressure has intensified on Goodwin following the humiliating 1-0 Scottish Cup defeat at the sixth-tier minnows Darvel.
Some Aberdeen fans are calling for Goodwin to be axed after the worst result in the club’s history, but the defiant boss has vowed to fight on.
Aberdeen’s United States-based chairman Dave Cormack was at Darvel to witness a defeat Stewart describes as a “disaster”.
Skipper Stewart says the players let Goodwin, the club and supporters down.
Centre-back Stewart has now challenged every player to “look in the mirror” after bringing embarrassment to the club.
The club captain also warned players must realize careers are riding on their results.
He also questioned the mentality of Aberdeen players, just five days after vice-captain Ross McCrorie did the same.
Stewart said: “It was a disaster. A painful one.
“As players we have to look in the mirror and take full responsibility.
“I feel a lot for the gaffer.
“He has given us everything we could have asked for.
“The gaffer prepared us in the right way and we let him down.
“We also let ourselves down, the fans down and the club down.
“We have to take this job seriously as there are careers and lives that rely on us.”
‘You can’t go out there coasting in games’
The loss at Darvel was the nadir of a crash in form which has seen the Dons lose seven of their nine games since the winter break.
Stewart was the second Dons player in a week to criticize the mentality within the squad, after McCrorie also questioned players’ mental strength after last week’s 5-0 loss at Hearts.
When asked what went wrong at Darvel, Stewart said: “It was all about mentality.
“We have got to have to look at ourselves and demand more from each other.
“We have got to play like it means a lot to us.
“You can’t go out there coasting in games and think things will just turn for us.
“You have got to work hard to fix things.
“We are not taking our opportunities and we are letting ourselves down.”
‘We didn’t give it our all’
This Aberdeen team will go down infamy for their part in the worst result in the club’s 120-year history.
West of Scotland Premier League leader Darvel is the first non-league side to defeat a top-flight club since Elgin City shocked Ayr United in 1966.
Aberdeen’s loss at Darvel was the biggest upset in 149 years of the Scottish Cup.
Stewart laid into the Dons’ performance, saying none of them stood up and fought – and he included himself in that.
He said: “We have to say sorry to the fans.
“We didn’t go out there and intended to lose and we let ourselves down.
“But we didn’t give it our all in a game that was on television.
“We went a goal down and we looked defeated.
“You have got to stand up and fight and not all of us can say we did that, including myself.
“It’s not so much who we were playing against.
“We were embarrassed and have got to do better.
“We have got to demand a lot more from ourselves.
Asked if the loss at Darvel was the worst defeat of his career, Stewart had no hesitation.
His answer was short – “Definitely”.
‘I’m a strong character and I will keep going’
The Darvel loss was the latest setback in a difficult period for club captain Stewart.
He was sent off for a reckless challenge on Fashion Sakala in the League Cup semi-final defeat to Rangers at Hampden.
The Dons were tied 1-1 just before extra-time when he was dismissed, and they would have gone on to lose 2-1 after extra-time.
In the build up to the semi, he was also criticized for comparing Rangers strikers Alfredo Morelos and Antonio Colak.
On his return from suspension, against Darvel, he captained the Reds to their worst ever result.
The 30-year-old said: “I’m not shying away from it.
“I take responsibility for my own actions. I’m a strong character and I will keep going and keep trying to do better.”
Aberdeen ‘can recover’ from Darvel humiliation
Aberdeen’s campaign is in free-fall with the club exiting both cup competitions in eight days.
Sandwiched between those cup exits was the heavy 5-0 defeat at Hearts.
That loss at Tynecastle delivered a hammer blow to hopes of finishing third.
The Reds trail third-placed Hearts by nine points.
Stewart is defiant that the season can still be salvaged in the Premiership.
He said: “We can definitely recover from this.
“We have good characters in the dressing room.
“I can’t sit here and say we will do this and do that.
“We have to go on the pitch and do it.
“It starts on the training ground.
“We have to work harder there as what we do there reflects on the pitch.
“We have to trust each other to pull through in tough times.
“It’s all about consistency.
“We cannot do it for one game and not the three games after.
“We have to do it day in and day out, away from football and in training.
“As players we have got to take full responsibility as we can’t keep coming out and feeling sorry for ourselves.
“We have got to roll our sleeves up and go again.
“There are a lot of games still to go.
“We have to come together as a team and bounce back.”
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[Aberdeen captain says blame lies with players not Jim Goodwin]