Aberdeen’s season hinges on knocking out Rangers today to keep alive their bid for a first Scottish Cup triumph since 1990.
The dismal return of just one point from back-to-back home games against the Premiership’s bottom two sides has damaged their bid to finish league runners-up.
Rangers hold an eight-point lead over the Dons and a far superior goal advantage.
With Rangers hitting form and only 10 games left, it seems too big a gap to overhaul.
Ultimately, in the Premiership all that will be left could be the fight for European football. Aberdeen are in pole position to at least achieve a sixth straight season in Europe.
However, after securing runners-up for four straight seasons, to finish third would be regression.
While Rangers are powering on the Dons are at best treading water, at worst going backwards.
Which is why the quarter-final is a season-defining match. It also holds that significance for the Gers.
Despite the ill-timed exit of Brendan Rodgers from Celtic to Leicester, the experience of interim boss Neil Lennon and the Parkhead squad should be enough to see Celtic, six points clear, retain the league title.
Which leaves the Scottish Cup as the only trophy left to Rangers boss Steven Gerrard in a season where he has splashed out £15 million.
Should they lose to Aberdeen there will very likely be nothing to show for that cash which would put an entirely different spin on Gerrard’s first season at Ibrox.
Dons boss Derek McInnes accused his players of lacking aggression in the recent 2-0 loss to Hamilton.
I have no doubt that will not be an issue. The key will be channelling that aggression in what will be a fiery tie.
Having that dig and fight, along with calmness, will be vital.
Which is where Alfredo Morelos comes in. A fantastic talent, Morelos was superb in the first half of Gers’ recent 4-2 win at Pittodrie.
However, he lost the plot again, when stamping on Scott McKenna, who was naive to retaliate. Both were rightly red carded.
Morelos has been sent off in all three games he has played against Aberdeen this season. He is Rangers’ main man – and their Achilles heel.
Aberdeen have beaten Rangers twice this season, in Glasgow, and have the quality to do it again.
However, they will have to produce the same level of defensive steel that earned a 1-0 win at Ibrox. They may also need a moment of magic and calm amid the tempest. It can be done.