Derek McInnes has praised the professionalism of his players as they step up preparations for the new season.
Aberdeen start their campaign a week on Saturday against Rangers at Pittodrie.
The Dons have been back in pre-season for five weeks having been off for three months after the coronavirus pandemic resulted in football being shutdown in mid-March.
However, even during lockdown, the Reds’ squad continued to work on their fitness and McInnes was pleased with the condition of his players when they returned.
He said: “We did our first test, the bleep test that we normally do on our first day back coming back from a shorter break, we did that after two weeks.
“One or two of the younger ones could have done better, but by and large the majority were ahead in their yardage covered from when they’re normally tested, that’s an indication that they’ve been working hard in isolation.
“We had to furlough our players, we kept some of our players off of furlough to do the community work that the club’s been doing, but the majority were furloughed for a period of time.
“Up until then the work they were doing was very competitive and to a very high level, it’s a credit to the players for how focused they were and how professional they are, there’s a pride there.
“I do think it comes down to an individual pride, players don’t want to be embarrassed and don’t want to be the first dropping out of the bleep test.
“I do think what we’ve created over the years is a culture of what’s expected, there are guys that know what’s expected and I think that professional pride must be there and part of a player’s make up.
“If that professional pride isn’t there then you will find yourself playing at a lower level before too long.”
This pre-season has been different to any other with no contact allowed between players during the first fortnight.
Since then top flight sides have been able to scale up their training, however, with their last game being a 3-1 win against Hibs at Pittodrie on March 7, it has been important not to push players too hard too early.
McInnes added: “In terms of competitive football, from us beating Hibs at Pittodrie and us playing Rangers, it will be the best part of five months.
“We were restricted for the first couple of weeks of training with no contact so we had to work in small groups.
“The sports scientists and medical team were at pains to stress the importance of not being too much normal training early on as the players hadn’t really had any football work, even passing or shooting.
“They had done a lot of running and a lot of work in isolation.
“Clearly when you saw the boys come back they were different animals. They were actually looking leaner because they hadn’t been doing all their power and gym work.”
Trying to avoid injuries during pre-season has been key for McInnes and, despite a few knocks, in the main Aberdeen’s players have come through unscathed.
Defender Mikey Devlin is the only player set to be missing at the start of the season after sustaining a hamstring injury last week.
McInnes said: “It was a case of being kind to them and building them up gradually and being mindful that we didn’t want to pick up too many injuries.
“In my conversations I’ve had with other managers in recent weeks, they have all faced similar situations where little aches and strains is having an impact on numbers.
“That is to be expected. We were picking up little injuries in the first couple of weeks and we think that is a consequence of getting them moving again.
“We are now coming out of that thankfully. We got through the game on Saturday and the numbers were looking more like it in terms of squad strength.
“There is no doubt it was a balancing act.
“This is the longest these boys would have had in their careers of not kicking a ball and training together.”