This time last year winger Scott Wright watched frustrated from the sidelines as his pre-season was wiped out by a hamstring injury.
Now the 20-year-old is ready to make the most of this summer to give boss Derek McInnes a selection headache for the Europa League clash with Burnley later this month.
Wright is not just fully fit he is also sharp having spent more than two weeks with Scotland Under-20s at the Toulon Tournament in France.
Last year at the same tournament Wright sustained the injury that obliterated his pre-season and ruled him out of the opening games in Europe.
This time he returned from the French southern coast fit and with Scotland having reached the semi-finals.
Wright underlined his intention to make a major impact this season by netting a superb solo goal in the 2-2 friendly draw with St Johnstone at the weekend.
He aims to continue that momentum and force his way into contention to start against Burnley in the second qualifying round first leg at Pittodrie on July 26.
Aberdonian Wright said: “This is a big season for me.
“Pre-season games are the chance to show the manager what I can do and to say to him I am here to be picked.
“As an attacking player I am in the team to create goals for myself and others.
“The gaffer said to me when I am in that final third to go and express myself.
“That is what I am trying to do in every game. It is good to be involved in pre-season this year so I can feel fit and ready for any game.
“Hopefully I can get the chance to show what I can do.”
Last season was predicted to be the breakthrough campaign for Wright to continue the momentum of his debut.
The winger netted a hat-trick in his first Dons start, a 6-0 defeat of Partick Thistle in the last game of the 2016-17 Premiership season.
That sensational debut propelled Wright into contention for a possible start in the Scottish Cup final against Celtic. Ultimately he made a cameo appearance in injury time in the 2-1 loss.
McInnes had intended to utilise Wright’s creativity and pace in extra-time but Tom Rogic’s goal ended that plan.
Wright’s momentum continued when he was called into the Scotland squad for the Toulon 2017 tournament.
However, he sustained a hamstring injury in a 3-2 loss to Czech Republic that reverberated into pre-season.
He said: “Unfortunately I picked up an injury at the start of the Toulon last year and I felt that hampered me a bit.
“I missed out on pre-season and if you miss out on that you are always playing catch-up.
“All the boys were training and getting that fitness into their legs while I was sitting on the sidelines.
“That was frustrating as pre-season is where you get yourself ready for those bigger games.
“That was a problem as I was then playing catch-up.
“Then when you are back it is a case of you are going to get thrown in or you are not going to play.
“It was hard but as a footballer that is what you are there to do.
“That is all you can do.”
Wright was an unused substitute against Siroki Brijeg in the Europa League second qualifying leg last year.
He made his first appearance as a substitute with 12 minutes remaining in the 2-0 loss to Apollon Limassol in Cyprus as the Reds crashed out 3-2 on aggregate.
He went on to make seven starts with a further seven off the bench before the winter break, scoring one goal.
However, in January Northern Ireland international winger Niall McGinn rejoined the club on a three-and-a-half year contract.
McGinn had rejected the offer of a new Dons deal in summer 2017 to move to Gwangju in South Korea.
Following the termination of his contract by mutual consent Dons boss McInnes moved quickly to bring him back.
Following the winter break Wright would go on to play just 27 minutes of action in three appearances off the substitutes’ bench.
However, he reckons that experience will only help make him a stronger player.
Wright said: “I was more in it last year at the start of the season then it dipped down.
“However I have had that experience now and I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad season.
“I will take every experience and it will help with my football experience and how ever far I can go in the game.
“I can use that now for the season and see how that helps me down the line.
“It just goes back to working hard every day in training and then after training by going into the gym to keep myself ready in case I get the call to go in.”
Due to his involvement in the Toulon Tournament Wright had a reduced summer but there were no complaints from the winger.
He said: “I didn’t get as much of a break as the other boys but Graeme Shinnie and Scott McKenna were the same as they were away with the Scotland first team.
“It is always a great honour going away with Scotland and it kept me ticking over.
“It is good to be involved in the pre-season so I can feel fit and ready for any game.”
Wright underlined that he is ready by scoring the superb goal against Saints where he went on a solo run from 35 yards before rifling home from the edge of the box.
He said: “I was delighted to score although it was more about getting the minutes in the legs and getting the squad up to match fitness.
“I saw Gleeson get the ball in the middle of the park and made my move inside.
“I took quite a heavy touch and then squared the guy up, took it down the side and got a shot off. Luckily it managed to go into the bottom corner.”
The pre-season is geared towards that high-profile clash with Burnley.
Having finished seventh in the English top flight the Clarets are the favourites to progress.
However, Wright and his Aberdeen team-mates are determined to strike a blow for Scottish football.
“Burnley is a great draw,” he said.
“People were saying it is not as fancy as going abroad.
“But it is a fantastic tie and the chance to show everyone what we can do.”