The benchmark was set by Gary Mackay-Steven and now boss Derek McInnes has challenged ALL Aberdeen’s wingers to hit top form.
Summer signing GMS hit a memorable hat-trick in the 4-1 demolition of Hibs and now McInnes wants the other wide players to produce that level of performance.
The gaffer will demand more goals from his wingers and that they also do a shift defensively to block out crosses and match opposition runs.
Aberdeen travel to Parkhead on Saturday in the knowledge victory against the league leaders and defending champions could be the catalyst to ignite a Premiership title race.
At times this season the Reds have suffered from a lack of width following the exit of Jonny Hayes and Niall McGinn at the end of the previous campaign.
That loss was felt not only in attack but defensively – a vulnerability on the flanks started to creep in as McGinn and Hayes had done so much unsung work in tracking back to help the full-backs.
McInnes has demanded GMS and his fellow wide players deliver top form not only against Celtic at the weekend, but for the rest of the season to propel the Reds’ bid for glory.
He said: “I do demand more of my wide players and we are out of Europe because our wide players didn’t stop crosses and didn’t match runs.
“That is a fact.
“We have been used to having good wide players here who do the job defensively.
“That is a big part of the game and we are demanding that of our wide players.
“What we have had here in the last few years is good wide players who have a real level of trust and dependability to play a wide position against the ball.
“Both McGinn and Hayes, I could count on one hand the amount of times they didn’t do their jobs well in the side.
“However, what my wide players have – and that was shown against Hibs –is real talent.”
At the end of last season McGinn rejected a new contract and opted to move to South Korea.
The 30-year-old recently terminated his deal with Gwangju and is now a free agent.
McInnes is keen to bring McGinn back in the January transfer window and recently confirmed he expects the Northern Ireland cap to give an answer within the next week on whether he wants to come back to Pittodrie.
Hibs and Hearts are also keen on signing the winger.
Republic of Ireland cap Hayes moved to Celtic in a £1.3 million transfer.
Last season Hayes netted 11 goals for the Reds with McGinn pitching in with 13.
So far this season the Dons wingers have scored just eight goals – GMS on five, Greg Stewart with two and Scott Wright on one.
“What McGinn and Hayes also carried was a goal threat,” explained McInnes.
“They both contributed with finishes and we need our wide players to be contributing with goals.
“Having wide players pitch in with goals is very important to any team.
“Especially my team where I put that demand on the wide players to contribute by getting in among the goals.
“Hopefully, that performance against Hibs gives the wingers the appetite to go and score more.”
In reaction to the loss of McGinn and Hayes in the summer, McInnes splashed out £150,000 to secure Mackay-Steven from Celtic and also drafted in Stewart on a season-long loan from Birmingham City.
Stewart had struggled to make an impact in England but had been short-listed for Premiership player of the year for two successive seasons while at Dundee.
McInnes said: “I have been really pleased with Greg Stewart in the last couple of games, but we left him out against Hibs to freshen things up and bring pace.
“With the way Hibs played we thought we would be able to get good supply into Mackay-Steven.
“That was the case.
“Whether it is Ryan Christie out there, Scott Wright, Greg Stewart or Gary Mackay-Steven, they all have the ability to play that position.”
McInnes also paid tribute to his midfielders for their dominant shift that snuffed out the influence of Scotland international John McGinn in the emphatic Premiership win at Pittodrie.
McInnes said: “My midfield three of Christie, Shinnie and McLean were outstanding.
“They were up against good Hibs players but were very strong.
“That gave us a good platform to turn the ball over and play in there.
“That midfield three fed my wide players and front players.
“Our front play was bright and although we scored four, we threatened to score more.”