New Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass will start out at Pittodrie with the dream of landing the Scottish Cup in his first few months at the helm still intact.
The 44-year-old arrived in Scotland from the United States on the eve of the 1-0 third round win over Dumbarton, but had to be content with watching the action live on television.
Glass is now in a 10-day quarantine period and will also miss Saturday’s post-split Premiership trip to St Johnstone.
As he plots an inevitable shake up of the playing squad over the summer, he will also have the chance to try ending the club’s long Scottish Cup drought, which stretches all the way back to 1990.
It wasn’t pretty against Dumbarton, but Aberdeen got the job done to ensure the rest of this season will have more riding on it for Glass than assessing the squad before a busy transfer window.
However, it is clear getting the squad in shape to be more competitive in the 2021/22 campaign is going to be a big part of the job, at least in the first few months.
Boss and assistant Allan Russell will have tuned in for familiar tale of scoring struggle
Glass’s newly-appointed assistant Allan Russell will also inevitably have been watching the action from Dumbarton remotely.
Russell has gained a formidable reputation as a striker coach with Gareth Southgate’s England squad, where he tutors world-class strikers like Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford.
Aberdeen had 26 shots at goal against a part-time Sons side playing their fourth match in just a week, but could only net one of those opportunities.
At times it felt like they were on a road to nowhere in front of goal.
Prior to this cup tie, the Reds had scored just once in 10 matches and clear chances being missed has very much been the tale of recent months.
Russell’s input is clearly needed by the strikers this season as they bid for Scottish Cup glory. Aberdeen have no senior strikers signed for next season, so Glass and Russell will have a clean slate.
The deadline day swoop for three strikers made by previous boss Derek McInnes, after the Dons sold Sam Cosgrove, released Curtis Main and loaned out Bruce Anderson, has not paid dividends.
Callum Hendry is the only one to have scored.
St Johnstone’s Hendry netted his second goal since arriving to secure victory over Dumbarton.
Florian Kamberi has had seven starts and not scored, and failed to impose himself on a League One defence on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Fraser Hornby has had problems with injury.
Hendry’s goal was the first time an Aberdeen player had scored away from home this year.
The last goal came from Cosgrove, now at Birmingham City, in a 2-0 win at Kilmarnock on December 20.
The Reds had netted once on the road since then, but it was an own goal in a 4-1 loss at Ross County.
Youngsters are at least taking chance to show incoming coaching team what they can do
Interim boss Paul Sheerin has given the rising young talent at the club the opportunity to impress the incoming manager and handed a first start to 17-year-old right-back Calvin Ramsay at The Rock. He was my man of the match.
Teen attacker Ethan Ross, 19, also came in for only his second start, with the first coming in a 1-1 draw with Hibs in October 2019. The two teens grabbed their chance to shine and were the Dons’ best players.
Sheerin had also handed a first start to defender Jack MacKenzie in the recent 1-0 loss at Dundee United.
It was a shame MacKenzie was ruled out of this one. He was cup-tied, having played in the tournament while on loan at Forfar.
It must have been frustrating for the 20-year-old, who made a solid debut against United and then signed a contract extension.
Former Atlanta United 2 coach Glass has said he had watched every one of the Dons games this season from the USA.
He will know what every experienced player can, and can’t do. Who has impressed and who has not.
The youngsters are a relatively unknown quantity, so they have had the chance to show their abilities in the last two games.
Aberdeen set up in a 4-3-3 with Ramsay at right-back, Tommie Hoban and Andy Considine were the centre-backs, with Jonny Hayes left-back.
The midfield was Ross McCrorie, Dean Campbell and Lewis Ferguson.
Kamberi was up front with Ross left and Niall McGinn right.
Interim manager Sheerin ditched the back three favoured by previous boss McInnes for the second game in succession, opting for four at the back – at decision which at least yielded a second clean sheet.
Could it be the shape of things to come under new boss Glass?