Apart from a couple of costly lapses in concentration, Aberdeen were well worth their aggregate win over Finland’s RoPS Rovaniemi in Europa League qualifying.
Derek McInnes’ team switched off right at the death at Pittodrie after dominating, meaning they only won 2-1 over 90 minutes, when it could’ve been 6-0.
It was a lapse right at the start in Lapland which saw them go 1-0 down, but again, their eventual 4-2 aggregate win was richly deserved and they should be confident agead of their second round tie against Chikhura Sachkhere of Georgia getting under way.
However, they need to be wary – as the quest to reach the group stages heats up, so does the unforgiving nature of the competition.
The little slip-ups which the likes of Shay Logan, Mikey Devlin, Scott McKenna and Ash Taylor were guilty of against RoPS need to be cut out.
The game in Tbilisi will likely be a more intimidating atmosphere against more difficult opposition.
To an extent, I understand the difficulties the Dons faced at kick-off in Lapland.
It’s easy to be at it from the word go in a packed arena, but on an artificial surface which was essentially a community pitch next to a play-park, it can be difficult mentally.
Nevertheless, when I was playing, Alex Ferguson used to hammer into us all the time that you could be cruising, but end up knocked out due to one moment of taking your eye off the ball.
Up the other end, I’d like to see Aberdeen start to take more of the chances they’re creating.
In Finland, they could’ve been out of sight once more, but for some wayward finishing.
Sam Cosgrove came off to give Curtis Main a debut on Thursday, but I still think McInnes plans for Cosgrove to be his main goalscorer this season.
The young Englishman showed last term he’s got the ability to put a run together, and his penalty against RoPS was cool as you like, despite a wait to step up and some goading from keeper Antonio Reguero.
He went on to miss a coupe of glorious chances to score again, both with his head.
Remember it’s still very early doors in the season and I always think targetmen like Cosgrove can take a wee while to get going, but last term showed the goals can arrive suddenly and in numbers.
Hopefully Georgia on Thursday can be the moment this term.
Main looks like he’ll offer more of a running option and the game in Lapland was as good a moment as any to start introducing him to competitive action in a red shirt.
James Wilson never came on, but his presence on the bench shows there’s good depth and variety in the ranks for the campaign ahead.
One thing the strikers won’t be short on is ammunition.
Ryan Hedges on the wing was excellent again against RoPS and puts plenty of good quality balls into the box.
Jon Gallagher wasn’t as good as he’d been in the first leg at Pittodrie, but to be fair, he’d set a very high bar.
In the second half of the second leg he was more involved and, with Niall McGinn also in the line-up, there’s a lot of ability there.
All three will be key as the season goes on in providing creativity.