Aberdeen’s win over Hibs at Pittodrie on Friday fell into the same pattern as a lot of the Dons early-season showings.
It was another one of those vital victories, which was hard-fought and gritty, rather than a free-flowing, flashy performance.
The howling gales around the stadium made it difficult for any football to break out.
However, that being said, Derek McInnes’s team have put together a remarkable run of wins against quality opponents over the last couple of weeks and the positivity is back in their season.
They look like they’ll continue to climb the Premiership table after the international break, and they also have the League Cup final against Celtic to look forward to in early December.
It’s all good news.
If you’re getting those kind of results through sheer willpower, despite the play not being the best at times, it’s really positive for when everything clicks.
It’s certainly a different Aberdeen this season.
McInnes has had to look at different formations following the departures of Kenny McLean and Ryan Christie’s return to Celtic.
The solid spine of the team from defence to centre midfield is magnificent, but there are still problems to be ironed out in attacking areas.
McInnes is going two up top a lot more, sometimes from the start and sometimes later in games.
The Reds have looked at their most threatening in the last few games when they’ve had the two strikers on.
However, what seems to be the first choice partnership is still not perfect.
Stevie May was great on Friday. He works better in a two because, at the moment anyway, he does all of his work away from the goal, making runs to pull defenders away and creating space for James Wilson.
May would definitely prefer to find a way to also be in the box scoring goals and hopefully it’ll come, but he’s undoubtedly making a valuable contribution regardless. But the manager will be looking for more to come from Wilson in terms of getting into scoring areas.
Again though, if you’re getting brilliant results without a main goal-scorer emerging, it is cause for optimism.
Gary Mackay-Steven on the right flank showed his quality on Friday in scoring the winner.
Aberdeen need him to step up and be an auxiliary goalscorer at times and he certainly delivered with the precise long-range finish which won the game.
The Red Army will be concerned at the moment with the lack of movement on tying Mackay-Steven down to a new deal before his current contract ends in the summer. He really is at the top of his game just now – something which has of course seen him called up to the Scotland squad for their crucial double-header against Albania and Israel in the UEFA Nations League.
It’s always difficult for those in charge at Pittodrie to hold on to big players, especially when their performances put the spotlight on them and alert other clubs to their quality.