This could be the season Aberdeen finally progress to the Europa League group stages under Derek McInnes, yet no supporters will see it.
Aberdeen landed the two toughest draws possible in the bid to progress to the play-offs – and another step closer to the lucrative groups.
Two away one-off knockout ties in the midst of a pandemic is bad enough.
However, the Reds also face an in-form Viking FK side, unbeaten in five and 17 games into their season.
It’s a tough tie but the Reds are also flying at the moment with five straight wins. Not only are the Reds looking potent in attack with speed and movement, they also have a granite spine in the team.
The three at the back have impressed, with Matty Kennedy and Jonny Hayes also dropping back to bust a gut defensively. The midfield duo of Lewis Ferguson and Ross McCrorie give further strength. It will be tough but I anticipate Aberdeen will overcome Viking.
Under normal circumstances an away trip to Portuguese giants Sporting would be daunting. However, these are far from normal times and Sporting have been hit with a Covid-19 outbreak.
Seven first team players and a member of the coaching staff have tested positive and have to go into a 14-day self-isolation, ruling them out of a potential clash with Aberdeen.
Sporting’s friendly with Napoli on Sunday was cancelled due to three positive tests on the day of the game. That later became eight. Not only will seven key players be absent, those still available will be short of match sharpness.
The Portuguese giants have not played a competitive match since a 2-1 loss to Benfica on July 25.
Sporting have played just three friendlies prior to kicking off the delayed domestic campaign on Sunday at home to Gil Vicente. The hope would be that should Aberdeen progress, come the Europa League tie Sporting will be weakened in numbers and ring rusty.
Progress beyond Sporting and there is only a one-legged knockout match to reach the groups where anything can happen.
However, I am getting ahead of myself here. Aberdeen must first see off a Viking side which carries a potent threat in attack tomorrow.
Sadly no supporters will be present to witness Aberdeen’s bid to reach the groups as Uefa decreed all qualifying ties would be played behind closed doors. Hopefully the Dons can reach the groups and fans get back to enjoy European nights.