Pittodrie captain Joe Lewis insists it is now time to finally draw a line under the “Aberdeen eight” crisis and move on.
As club skipper, it is Lewis’ job to help guide the ship through troubled water, and the Reds hit major turbulence when eight players breached coronavirus protocols by visiting a busy city centre bar on August 1.
Since then the eight have been fined heavily by the club, publicly apologised, been excluded for 14 days from training due to self-isolation and been hit with an SFA three-game suspended ban.
The Dons also had three games postponed.
Finally the Reds are in calmer waters, having racked up three straight Premiership wins and progression in Europe to face Viking FK in Norway, with the reward a tie with Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon.
Lewis said: “We are looking forward to moving on.
“We’ve had discussions, we’ve not had an official meeting, but there’s been lots of talks and discussions.
“The manager has spoken to everyone and the club has spoken to everyone, as I’m sure every other club has.
“Just to just remind the players and get everything nailed down, so there’s no confusion and everyone is aware of their responsibilities and the rules that are in place.
“We’re pleased now that it’s behind us and that we have got those recent wins.”
Following the coronavirus breach, National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch held a zoom call with the managers and captains of all 12 Premiership clubs to emphasise protocol.
Due to the three postponements, Aberdeen were idle for 19 days while the rest of the Premiership were in action.
Dons boss McInnes insisted that during that troubled time the eight players had been “kicked from pillar to post” and “dragged through the mud” by critics.
Lewis said: “There’s been loads spoken about it, and lots of media coverage, as you’d expect.
“There has been loads of conversations.
“I spoke to the lads about various things, but obviously that all stays in house.
“We are looking to draw a line under it.”
Five of the Aberdeen eight were involved in recent wins in Europe and domestically having returned from the self-isolation period – Jonny Hayes, Matty Kennedy, Dylan McGeouch, Scott McKenna and Bruce Anderson.
The other three, Sam Cosgrove, Mikey Devlin and Craig Bryson, are currently out injured.
Lewis said: “The lads who haven’t been involved and have been here the whole time have been working really hard.
“Those who came back have shown a great attitude throughout the whole thing, in terms of getting back training and getting themselves fit.
‘You can see from a couple of the boys involved in the European game, their performances were excellent.
‘They’re all good lads, they’ve all got great attitudes. And they’ve remained professional since they’ve come back.”
Amid the upheaval of the ‘Aberdeen eight’ and the postponements, manager Derek McInnes strengthened the squad with the capture of Ross McCrorie from Rangers and the loan signing of striker Marley Watkins from Bristol City.
McCrorie was secured on an initial season-long loan from the Ibrox club and will then join on a permanent three-year contact with Aberdeen next summer.
Lewis hailed the immediate impact of Scotland U21 international McCrorie, who has excelled in both defence and midfield in his four games so far.
He said: “Ross is a brilliant player and a really good lad.
“He’s slotted in so well, you’d think he’d been here for months.
“On and off the pitch, Ross has fitted right in and the lads really like him. From what I’ve seen of Ross in the last couple of weeks, since I’ve known him, he seems to have it all.
“He has the ability, he has the mentality, he has the physique.
“Ross also has a good level head on his shoulders.
“So there’s no reason, if he continues that work ethic and continues to learn, that he shouldn’t go a long way in the game.”