Now that 14 weeks of injury hell are finally over, Ash Taylor today insisted his hamstring problems are in the past.
The centre-back is in contention to return at St Johnstone from a grade 2 hamstring tear that derailed his Dons comeback.
He was dogged not once but twice by the hamstring injury suffered just two games into his season.
Taylor was closing in on a return in early September only to suffer another setback with a recurrence of the same injury.
Now he is back and ready to fight for a starting slot ahead of Scotland international centre-backs Scott McKenna and Mikey Devlin.
Taylor said: “It has been a long road as I have been out for 14 weeks. I worked hard during that period and we made sure we did everything right.
“There was a little setback but we put things right and I am fully fit.
“However, that is football – things get thrown at you at times and are there to challenge you.
“I have looked at it as a positive thing to build on and come back stronger.
“It is great to be back. It was important we did things right so I was fully fit and there would be no more setbacks.”
Taylor returned to Aberdeen in the summer on a two-year deal, having left League Two Northampton Town.
The defender had three seasons at Pittodrie before rejecting the offer of a new Dons deal in 2017 to move to England.
On his return to Pittodrie he suffered the injury in the 1-1 away draw to Chikhura Sachkhere on July 25.
As he stretched to make a tackle in Tblisii, Georgia, he immediately knew it was a bad injury.
He said: “As soon as I put the tackle in I got up and felt it straight away. You know through experience when you are injured and when you can carry on.
“I want to battle through things when I can but with that scenario I couldn’t and had to come off.
“Then I had the scan, which showed it was a tear.
“It was a grade two hamstring tear that I got in a tackle where I over-stretched. It was quite a significant tear so we had to take our time with it.”
After the longest spell on the sidelines since the defender was a teenager, he admits it was tough to battle through, both mentally and physically.
However, he did it and is now back and ready to go.
He said: “I was a couple of days away from joining training and unfortunately it went again.
“I am experienced enough now and these things happen in football.
“It was important that, after it went again, we did everything right and pushed on.
“At times it does get tough being in the same four walls and not being on the training pitch.
“You want to be out with the lads, training.
“However, you have to stay positive and focused on what you have to do to get yourself ready.
“This was the second longest I have been out so I have not done too badly with injuries in my career.
“Early on in my career, when I was 18 or 19, I did my knee and was out for six months. You have to get your work down and work hard in the gym, with the physios and on the training pitch.”
Taylor finally returned to Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes’ first-team squad for the first time since July, when an unused substitute in the 3-1 away defeat of Ross County before the international break.
The centre-back stepped up his rehabilitation when starting for the Dons reserves against Highland League Inverurie Locos last week.
He came through 90 minutes in the Aberdeenshire Shield quarter-final, which the young Dons lost 5-4 on penalties.
Taylor said: “It was important that I got minutes.
“Reserve games are important, especially when you have been out for a long time.
“It is important to tick that box of coming through 90 minutes unscathed and I did that. It was good to come through that.”