Derek McInnes is certain Aberdeen are still in their Europa League tie against Rijeka despite a 2-0 defeat in Croatia.
The Dons boss rued an “unnecessary” penalty conceded by Shay Logan just after the hour mark, but claimed there was some play-acting from Antonio-Mirko Colak before the forward got up to convert.
He admitted Robert Muric’s 87th-minute strike was a sickening blow but he feels the Dons can overturn the deficit at Pittodrie and reach the play-offs.
McInnes told Red TV: “If the roles were reversed and we had won 2-0 at Pittodrie in the first leg I’d still feel there was work for us to do and you have seen our work at Pittodrie in the early part of the season, so we are clearly capable.
“The late goal is a bit of a sickener for us and for 62 minutes we were very comfortable. We didn’t offer too much of a threat but I just thought prior to the penalty they were running out of ideas and the crowd were getting a bit restless.
“We were pretty measured and passed the ball better at the start of the second half. We still needed a wee bit more in the final third to get an away goal but we weren’t too flustered.”
There was no danger as Logan pulled Colak’s shirt just inside the box as a cross went straight towards Joe Lewis.
McInnes said: “I thought the penalty at the time was really soft. I looked at it again and their players are better at us than that, he feels a bit of contact and goes down as if he’s been shot.
“Whether it’s a penalty, I don’t know, I can’t say for sure, but it’s really unnecessary, the whole passage of events. And it gives them a lift.
“The late goal was disappointing, we have plenty bodies back and Muric skips by our midfield a bit too easily and slots it in the bottom corner, and we know he has that quality.
“We are down but we certainly not out, we feel we have a big performance in us at Pittodrie.”