“Losing to Celtic and Rangers in Glasgow was not good, but we’re now judged against that standard. I still think we will always get a competitive team out there against them.
“But whether Celtic get stronger and others find a way to get closer to them, we have to do what’s right for us.
“We’re debt-free and it’s important we live within our means. Other teams can spend mone,y but in my time here we’ve only spent £200,000.
“Ultimately money does come into it. We can compete with a lot of what we do, but we only spent £200,000 putting this team together, £175,000 down on Kenny McLean.
“He is the only money we’ve spent and we’ve put together a squad now trying to challenge two teams with vast resources. But that’s where we’re judged, against Celtic and Rangers.
“We accept that, that’s why our work has to be so good in so many areas, but we will always give it a go.”
The criticism that followed losses to Celtic at Hampden and Rangers at Ibrox was heavy, but he added: “I get it. The biggest thing for me is that outside factors don’t come into it for me and my players.
“Win, lose or draw we’re in on a Monday ready to work. If you came into Pittodrie on a Monday, you’d never know if we’d won or lost.
“The good press we get is maybe beyond what it should be and it’s the same the other way when we lose.
“We had two defeats in six. That shows you it might have been acceptable at one point, but not now.
“I always say to players they’re not as good as they think they are when we win a few games and then not as bad as people tell them when we lose.”