Regardless of Aberdeen’s result in Europe tomorrow there will inevitably be an air of foreboding hanging over Pittodrie.
The Dons should comfortably see off Faroese minnows NSI Runavik, despite the disparity in game time between the two clubs.
Aberdeen have played only three matches in a Premiership campaign already shaken by postponements, while Runavik are 17 games into their league campaign.
However, it is on the domestic front where Aberdeen’s season could be plunged back into disarray less than 24 hours after that Europa League first qualifying round tie.
On Friday, the Aberdeen eight will learn their fate following an SFA disciplinary hearing.
Possible sanctions range from two-to-16-game bans for Dylan McGeouch, Mikey Devlin, Scott McKenna, Craig Bryson, Jonny Hayes, Sam Cosgrove, Bruce Anderson and Matty Kennedy.
All eight were served with notices of complaint for breaking Disciplinary Rules 24 and 71.
Aberdeen suffered a disastrous start to the campaign with three games postponed due to the actions of the eight – and also Celtic’s Boli Bolingoli – in breaching Covid-19 protocol. Bolingoli’s rule breach was far more severe than the eight, but his absence will not hinder Celtic’s large squad.
Losing eight players long-term would be disastrous for the Reds.
How long will the Aberdeen Eight be banned for? Our Northern Goal podcast panel gave their predictions:
Somehow, the Dons have found strength in adversity to secure back-to-back wins to get the domestic campaign back on track.
However, the SFA have the power to send them tail-spinning straight back into chaos on Friday.
Scottish football authorities have to strike a balance at the hearing.
They have to send out a message that further breaches will not be tolerated by punishing the eight.
That would reassure First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that the game is policing itself effectively after her yellow card warning that Scottish football could be shut down if there are any more breaches.
Yet they must also strike a balance by not hammering the club with excessively lengthy bans which could seriously harm their season.
You cannot legislate for the foolishness of players. The eight have admitted they were wrong and apologised, so punish them – but don’t hammer the club with bans which will ruin the campaign.
Loan star Marley Watkins has “wow” factor
The loan capture of Marley Watkins from Bristol City could add an extra edge to Aberdeen’s attack.
Welsh international Watkins made an impressive debut just 24 hours after arriving from the Championship side.
Only two superb saves from Robby McCrorie denied him a debut goal.
Watkins brings another element to the Dons attack with his speed and link-up play.
For the 1-0 win at St Johnstone, boss Derek McInnes had all four senior recognised strikers unavailable for selection.
In response, the Pittodrie board gave the green light for yet another emergency loan striker signing.
Loan arrival Ryan Edmondson has returned to Leeds after suffering an ankle injury, but will be back at Pittodrie.
As Watkins arrived, Curtis Main returned to action off the bench following knee surgery. Bruce Anderson was also available.
Watkins’ movement will ensure he can play alongside Main, Anderson, Edmondson and number one frontman Sam Cosgrove when the latter returns from injury.