Peter Leven says Celtic were 'rattled' as Aberdeen interim boss sets challenge

Peter Leven insists Aberdeen had Celtic "rattled" and were the better team for periods of their semi-final.

The Dons ultimately crashed out of the Scottish Cup after a heartbreaking penalties defeat but had performed heroics across the 120 minutes to make it that far. Bojan Miovski had fired them into an early lead at Hampden and they had looked comfortable until a slip from Angus MacDonald allowed the Hoops in for an equaliser.

And despite then falling behind, the Pittodrie men were never down and out and Ester Sokler's last minute header sent them deservedly into extra-time. That exhilarating moment was repeated at the end of the 120 when MacDonald scored a carbon copy of a goal to send the Red Army wild again.

Interim boss Leven admits he must pick his players up for this weekend's bottom six clash with Motherwell as they were flat after the game.

He said: "The dressing room is a little bit flat but that is my job and that of the staff to lift them up because we have a massive game on Saturday.

“I said to them that is the standard. In fairness, since I have come in, rest, recover and go again. We have these five huge games in the league.

“The spirit has been there since I have come in. The fans were brilliant and they never gave up and kept pushing us. We were the better team at times. We had Celtic rattled, especially in the second half. I am just gutted for the boys.”

The Dons has five massive games as they look to ensure they don't slide into the relegations playoffs spot. Leven wants them to aim to win them all.

“The challenge is to finish as high up the table as possible," he added. "I said to them we go to the league and finish as high as we can, that is the challenge. It is going to be a big push until the end of the season.

"We have to give more of the same. We are in a position where we don’t want to be. We have five massive games starting on Saturday. Two home games to start so I’m happy with that. Winning every game is mandatory at this club.”