Aberdeen showed a lot of mental toughness in the 2-1 win over Hibernian at Easter Road.
They also showed they’re a strong enough squad to compete at the top end of the Premiership.
If you’d asked me in November what Derek McInnes needed in the winter transfer window, I’d have given you a list which included a striker and a creative midfielder.
This all changed in December when Sam Cosgrove began his prolific scoring run.
McInnes still added Greg Stewart and got left-back Max Lowe from Derby County for another six months during January.
Keeping players like centre-back Scott McKenna and Gary Mackay-Steven were also important pieces of business.
Three points in the difficult circumstances of Saturday – where players were injured in the lead-up to the match, during it and an early goal conceded – may have proved McInnes has his playing staff well-balanced.
Oli Shaw’s ninth-minute strike was made too easy and the Dons, playing away from home, could have easily capitulated. They instead took the game to Hibs immediately, flying at the home team from the restart.
Aberdeen were in the driving seat after Andy Considine equalised and Mackay-Steven put them ahead.
However, it could have fallen apart after each goal. First Cosgrove was forced off with a back spasm and a reshuffle was required.
Similarly, when Joe Lewis hit his head off the post while going for the ball, they could have lost the lead.
However, everything was coped with in a professional stable manner. James Wilson, the Manchester United loanee, put in a performance off the bench which was probably more like what the Red Army had been expecting when he arrived from the Premier League giants. If he continues playing like he did, he will give the Dons more competition upfront.
He’ll be disappointed he didn’t put away his chance at the end of the match, but it was promising and in the end could have been an easy afternoon.
Similarly, keeper Tomas Cerny, who made his competitive debut for Aberdeen when coming on for Lewis, showed his value.
It’s a bit of a thankless task being a second choice keeper, because you turn up and train, but rarely get invited to the party.
Finally receiving his unexpected call-up, Cerny showed his quality and why he’s accrued so much top-flight experience between the sticks during his career. Everything he did on the day was comfortable and confident.
Like Lewis, he looks capable of putting the defenders in front of him at ease with his quality and may need to again on Wednesday against Rangers.
The Reds ended Saturday just two points off the second-placed Gers and are still very much in the Premiership race ahead of the game at Pittodrie.
It’s a huge game.
Steven Gerrard’s side have yet to beat the Dons, with a 1-1 draw in the Granite City in August followed by two Reds 1-0 wins in Glasgow across the Betfred Cup semi-final and league.
The match will be more fascinating because I reckon both teams are as confident as they’ve been all season right now.
Both have scored goals for fun of late and beat teams around them.
The Dons lost to Celtic on Boxing Day and Rangers to Kilmarnock a week ago, but bar those results there’s been a feelgood factor with both.
I don’t expect an amazing game given the occasion. All three matches so far have been relatively cagey and low scoring.
Both teams will be nervous; desperate to beat one of their biggest rivals. Their quality will most likely see them cancel each other out, but Aberdeen should be confident they can win again.