Dons legend Billy Stark believes new boss Stephen Glass has the chance to lay down a marker by taking charge before the end of the season.
Glass, 44, will be hoping to end the campaign on a high in the remaining five league games.
If the interim management team of Paul Sheerin, Barry Robson and Neil Simpson can guide Aberdeen past Dumbarton in the third round of the Scottish Cup next weekend, that will also be up for grabs.
Stark, who played for the Dons from 1983-1987, said: “Just now it’s coming towards the end of the season – but third place is still something Aberdeen are trying to achieve.
“Hibs are definitely in the driving seat with five games to go, but there is still something to play for.
“It seems like Stephen will be in place for the last five league games and that gives him a chance to put a marker down.
“But it’s difficult, because he will only be able to use the players that already there and won’t have been able to put his stamp on the squad.
“But that’s a good early target to try to catch Hibs in the post-split games.
“It will be tough being seven points behind, but the gap is not insurmountable.
“He’ll have Paul Sheerin and Barry Robson to lean on for the remainder of the season as well.
“I’m sure Stephen will be keen to get the summer and he’ll have targets worked out in terms of who he wants to bring in and also ideas about who from the current squad he wants to keep.
“It’s an interesting appointment and the chairman has great confidence in him.
“Stephen is a young, upcoming manager with not that much experience, but having been a Dons player will help.
“He will bring a freshness to the club and we’ll need to wait and see how it goes.”
Stark believes Derek McInnes did a good job as Aberdeen manager.
He reckons new gaffer Glass will be aiming to establish the Dons as closest challengers to Rangers and Celtic, win silverware and progress further in European competition.
The 64-year-old, who won the Premier Division title with the Reds in 1984 and 1985, added: “I think something that was levelled at Derek was only winning one trophy in eight years.
“You can point to the difficulties with the strength of Celtic in particular over that period.
“But then it’s also pointed out that St Johnstone have won two trophies in that time, so you can come at it from a number of angles.
“I think looking at the change that may be one of the reasons for it – to win more silverware.
“In terms of Europe and finishing second, third or fourth to get into Europe, that is difficult to match every season.
“But Aberdeen should be playing European football every year and that has been the case for a number of years.
“They have exited early though and that is something that can be improved.
“Stephen, from what I’ve read, understands he’ll be judged on the trophies he wins and wants to be judged on that and fair play to him because that’s a big pressure to put on yourself.
“That will also be in keeping with the chairman’s ambitions as well.
“For Aberdeen at the moment – and going forward – there is a challenge there from Hibs in terms of being the closest challengers to Celtic and Rangers.
“You also have Dundee United who have been back in the league this season and it will be interesting to see if they can push on.
“It also looks like Hearts will be coming back up, so can they bring that history, tradition and potential to make a challenge as well?
“But, over the next year or two, I think the main challenge to Aberdeen to finish third will come from Hibs and I don’t think there’s any doubt Stephen and Aberdeen can overcome that challenge.
“I think if Stephen can win silverware, whether the League Cup or the Scottish Cup, the fans would be delighted with that.
“Aberdeen have shown over the last eight years that they are capable of doing that and I’m sure that will continue to be the case under Stephen.”