Boss Derek McInnes has warned the Dons are ready to rise to the challenge of competing with the big-spending Old Firm.
McInnes reckons his squad silenced their critics by finishing ahead of Rangers to secure a fourth successive Premiership runners-up finish – nine points behind Celtic.
Many pundits tipped Rangers to overtake the Reds after the Ibrox club’s £10 million spree last year.
McInnes expects similar predictions of the Dons being “swept aside” with Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard set to take over as Rangers manager on June 1.
Rangers have been linked with a £4m move for Fenerbahce’s Martin Skrtel and have already signed Scott Arfield (Burnley), Allan McGregor (Hull) and turned Jamie Murphy’s loan from Brighton into a permanent deal.
McInnes has insisted his squad will be up for the fight to shut up doubters yet again after the summer break.
He said: “There will be a perception that we will be swept aside next term.
“When Rangers first came up we were told that they would be way ahead of us.
“Many were expecting us to be pushed to the side this season but we weren’t.
“We are not perfect by any stretch but we are trying to compete with clubs that are miles ahead of us financially.
“It’s been getting more difficult but it’s a challenge we are willing to take on.”
Rangers’ target Skrtel is a former Liverpool team-mate of Gerrard and has played at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2016 for Slovakia.
McInnes said: “I expect Hibs to improve and Hearts to maybe do the same.
“With Rangers you would expect their improvement to be more each year if they make the decisions.
“From the outside Gerrard looks a good decision because he is an impressive guy.
“If they get the funds and they use the funds wisely then they should be 10 to 15 points clear of Aberdeen and Hibs.
“The fact we have done our job well this season gives us a lot of satisfaction.
“We will try to take good players in this summer to make sure we are just as competitive again.”
In the bid to strengthen in the summer the Dons are understood to have offered Hibs midfielder Dylan McGeough, who is out of contract, terms that will make him the highest-paid player at Pittodrie. However the Reds face competition from Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, QPR and Brentford for the 25-year-old.
That Rangers are set to outlay £4m for Slovakian international Skrtel underlines the gulf in finances between the clubs.
Last summer Aberdeen’s largest transfer outlay was £400,000 to secure striker Stevie May on a four-year deal from Preston North End.
Winger Gary Mackay-Steven was also signed for £150,000 from Celtic.
However, the transfer of Republic of Ireland international winger Jonny Hayes to Celtic for £1.3m helped finance those moves.
Aberdeen closed the season by drawing with Rangers (1-1) and beating Celtic (1-0) to end a run of losing all six games to the Old Firm in the campaign.
McInnes said: “People tried to make out it was the bigger games but it was the Old Firm where we let ourselves down.
“Hibs only beat us once as did Hearts.
“In the post split I felt we were going to have to win against either Rangers or Celtic to get second spot.
“We had to lay a glove on them and we did that in both games.”
Meanwhile Aberdeen U20 coach Paul Sheerin has dropped out of the running to manage Morton having held talks with the Cappielow club last week. Sheerin was invited to an interview by Morton.