Hosting Rangers in the Premiership opener at Pittodrie offers an opportunity for Aberdeen to lay down an early marker.
When football was suspended on March 13 due to the pandemic, the Dons were 22 points behind the Ibrox club, who also had a game in hand.
That is far too great a gap regardless of the superior budget and squad depth at the disposal of Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.
Aberdeen need to be pushing Rangers, and 10-in-a-row chasing Celtic, harder in the upcoming 2020-21 season than in recent years.
There will be no supporters for the August 1 clash with Rangers but there should be plenty of edge in a game that has major significance for both clubs. If Aberdeen can overcome Gerrard’s squad, it will send a clear message as to their intentions and strengths for the new campaign.
A defeat for Rangers would also pile on huge pressure after day one in the Ibrox club’s quest to stop Celtic securing 10 titles in a row.
In 2017-18 the Reds finished three points ahead of Rangers to secure runners-up spot behind Celtic, who were a further nine points ahead.
Pushing for the title over the course of a campaign, with a squad likely to be smaller due to the financial implications of the Covid-19 crisis, would be unrealistic.
However, the Dons can push Rangers hard and make Celtic work for 10-in-a-row by taking points off them in their head-to-heads.
Aberdeen also have the power to end Celtic’s bid for another treble.
The Dons still have to face the Hoops in the Scottish Cup semi-final, which was originally scheduled for April, but cancelled due to Covid-19.
Thankfully, the SFA are committed to completing that competition, ideally before the turn of the year.
Aberdeen are in the unique situation of competing in three domestic competitions in the upcoming season – two Scottish Cups and the League Cup.
Hopefully they can make it count and deliver a first trophy since the League Cup triumph in 2014.
Aberdeen are one of the few top-flight clubs that have had a stable summer with no squad upheavals.
Almost the entire first team was already secured on long-term deals before the pandemic. In hindsight, great business.
The only addition has been Jonny Hayes after his exit from Celtic. Having played under boss Derek McInnes for five years, Hayes will have no problem adjusting to the culture and expectations at the club.
Aberdeen have the continuity and squad capable of starting the season with a bang. A win over Rangers would be the catalyst needed.
What happened to sporting integrity?
It is shocking that Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers face legal costs of up to £150,000 between them – essentially for winning their leagues.
The promotions of all three may be reversed if Hearts and Partick Thistle successfully challenge their relegation from the Premiership and Championship respectively.
Hearts and Partick recently lost a court battle to have their relegations overturned.
But the Court of Session ruled the case is to be heard by an independent arbitration panel set up through SFA rules.
Already United, Rovers and Cove have been hit with a legal bill of £50,000.
That could rise to six figures and deliver dire financial implications for them.
They have launched a crowd-funding scheme to raise cash to pay the legal fees.
Such is the warped world of Scottish football in recent months, three clubs who won their league titles could be denied promotion by two clubs who were rock bottom of their tables.
Where is the “sporting integrity” in that?
Hearts are trying to steamroller through their own self interests at the cost of other clubs. If they do not get reinstated, Hearts and Partick want compensation of up to £10 million.
And because there’s no SPFL cash pot, the other 40 clubs would have to foot the compensation bill.
Fraser must bide time for title shot
Aberdeen’s undefeated bantamweight Kristen Fraser will push for a world title shot when boxing emerges from the pandemic-enforced shutdown.
The 32-year-old has already made history by becoming the first Scottish woman to win a professional Commonwealth title. Kristen has also been a strong role model and advocate of LGBT rights and was the subject of documentary The Boxer on BBC Scotland last night. If you missed it catch it on iPlayer.