For winger Niall McGinn there has been déjà vu this season with Aberdeen’s Premiership aspirations dismissed yet again.
The Dons were written off last season but finished runners-up to Celtic ahead of big-spending Rangers.
It has happened yet again this year with all the focus on the Old Firm and a resurrected Kilmarnock.
Hearts, once top of the table, were also touted as potential title contenders as the Dons languished in the bottom six.
Now McGinn reckons the Reds have come in under the radar to launch a Premiership tilt.
And yet again the Northern Ireland international is aiming for déjà vu by repeating the achievement of the last few years in splitting the Old Firm.
The only thing he hopes is different is where in that top two the Dons can finish come May.
He said: “If we are being honest, people write us off most seasons.
“That is just the way it has been.
“It is the same old, same old – all the talk is about Celtic and Rangers. That is just what you have to deal with – so be it.
“There has been a lot of talk about other teams but we have come in under the radar the last couple of weeks.
“If we can keep under the radar and plugging away, with three points each week to keep us in the top positions, we will be more than happy.
“We will let other people talk about the other teams, such as Kilmarnock, who have done tremendously well, Celtic and Rangers.
“We will just keep working hard behind the scenes and treat every match as a big game.
“Confidence is high after recent wins and we are looking to go again on Saturday against Hearts.”
A 5-1 demolition of Dundee, where McGinn pitched in with two assists, elevated the Dons level on points with defending champions Celtic before the Hoops beat Motherwell last night.
Aberdeen host Brendan Rodgers’ double treble winners in a mouthwatering Boxing Day clash. Aberdeen are also close behind Rangers, a team they have defeated twice in Glasgow this season.
McGinn added: “We have been climbing up the table, which is pleasing.
“Now we aim to maintain that confidence in the squad in the three games remaining before the break.
“If we keep close or thereabouts, it could be set up for an interesting season.
“There will be no better feeling if we are around the first or second position come the end of December.”
After Aberdeen’s win over Dundee, just one point separated the top four sides before Celtic and Rangers played last night.
Celtic were five points worse off than that stage (16 games played) last season. The Hoops are 13 points behind their tally after 16 games in Brendan Rodgers’ debut season at Parkhead, where they went the entire Premiership campaign undefeated.
This term there has been an unfamiliar vulnerability to the Hoops.
Could this be the season where there is a Premiership title race that goes right to the wire? McGinn said: “The way things are going at the moment, it is looking that way.
“However, there are still a lot of games to be played between now and the end of the season. But it is a season where everyone seems to be beating everyone else.
“Every team is dropping points and if we can keep our consistency right there is no reason why we cannot be up there or thereabouts fighting for those top positions.”
Aberdeen secured a third straight victory with a 5-1 defeat of struggling Dundee, with Sam Cosgrove netting a brace to take his goal tally to four in the last three games.
Teenage winger Connor McLennan, 19, also netted with defender Andy Considine grabbing a double. After a goal drought where there were only two goals scored in five games, the Dons have hit the goal trail with 10 in the last three.
“We were absolutely delighted to score five goals and probably the only disappointment was not keeping a clean sheet,” said McGinn.
“It shows the confidence is there.
“It was good to see Sam score again and Connor scoring, as well as Andy getting a couple.”
Next up for the Reds are a Hearts side in free-fall having topped the Premiership in October. When Hearts beat Aberdeen 2-1 at Tynecastle two months ago, they were top of the table and 10 points ahead of Derek McInnes’ side.
Now the Dons are three points ahead of a Jambos side with one win in nine and coming off the back of a 5-0 loss to Livingston.
McGinn said: “Saturday against Hearts is a big test and we are looking to kick on ahead of the Boxing Day game.
“We will be looking to take six points from those.”