Aberdeen will exit the transfer window at midnight tonight far stronger after a summer of rebuilding.
The only concern is that a club comes in with a big money bid to lure Lewis Ferguson away before the window shuts.
Aberdeen have been effective and progressive in the window as manager Stephen Glass has restructured his team with a number of key signings.
In the last week he has signed four players in Marley Watkins, David Bates, Matty Longstaff and Austin Samuels to take his summer captures to 10.
Not strengthening to that extent was not an option when you look at the positive start to the season Hibs and Hearts have both had after adding to their squad.
To leave Aberdeen exposed and thin on the ground would have been completely the wrong way to go about it.
The work that had already been done in the summer transfer window had been positive.
However, more reinforcements were needed and the permanent captures of attacker Watkins and Scotland international defender Bates will strengthen the team for years to come.
I was surprised that the two loan signings of Newcastle United midfielder Longstaff and Wolves’ striker Samuels were both thrown right in for starting debuts in the 1-1 draw with Ross County at Pittodrie.
Normally a manager would want to work with new additions for a while first before handing them debuts, but needs must and they didn’t let anyone down.
Samuels was the more impressive of the two loan signings against the Staggies, although Longstaff also looks like a very good player.
Although classed as a striker, Samuels looked more like a winger due to his pace.
The positive influence Watkins brings we already know about following his loan spell from Bristol City last season, which was unfortunately cut short by injury.
Although summer signing Christian Ramirez netted his fifth goal of the season against Ross County, the attacking area really needed strengthened and Watkins and Samuels bring that.
When you factor in Ryan Hedges when he is back fit, with Watkins, it gives Aberdeen real strength.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas can also play in a number of positions, maybe not up top, but more as a number 10 or someone that floats about that area.
I also thought the defence needed strengthened even before Andy Considine suffered a cruciate ligament injury in the 1-0 away Europa Conference League loss to Qarabag that will rule him out until after Christmas.
Signing Bates on a three-year deal is a strong move because he is a Scotland international with a good reputation.
At only 24 years old, Bates has his career in front of him and Aberdeen can benefit.
The upcoming international break will give manager Stephen Glass and his coaching staff time to work with the new signings.
The manager now has time to work with the four new signings to get them fully integrated and settled in.
It will also give him valuable time to work with the squad during training sessions because it has been so hectic with European football.
When you have a European game on Thursday then a domestic match on Sunday there is not much time to work with players in training.
It becomes a routine of playing games, travelling and recovering.
That can be draining, but – as busy as the schedule would have been with Europa Conference League group stage football – that hope is now over for another year.
When balancing European and domestic action, time on the training field becomes restricted, so there is no doubt the international break will help Glass gel the team together.
👏🏼 Marley Watkins made his second debut for The Dons yesterday.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) August 30, 2021
That time can help them emerge even stronger from the international break for the next game, away to Motherwell.
Aberdeen have to come out stronger and fully equipped from the international break, because Hibs and Hearts have started the season strongly and Rangers and Celtic will also be up there.
If you have any ambition of finishing high up in this really competitive Premiership, the work has to be done and the performance levels high.
Considine has character to bounce back
Defender Andy Considine has the determination, attitude and commitment to recover from his recent injury setback.
Unfortunately the Scotland international will be ruled out until after Christmas following surgery on cruciate ligament damage.
Andy suffered the injury in the 1-0 Europa Conference League play-off first leg loss to Qarabag in Azerbaijan.
It is a massive blow for Andy, especially at this stage of his career.
The older you are the more difficult it can be to recover from injuries.
However if anyone is going to come back from that type of injury it will be Andy.
The admirable attitude he has displayed throughout his career leads me to believe he has every chance of overcoming adversity.
He has done it so many times in the past and this is another challenge for him.
It is one that won’t be easy but I am positive he will be able to turn it around and overcome it.
Injuries are a reality of football but for Andy to suffer it on the atrocious surface in Baku is an indictment of UEFA and how they oversee facilities.
UEFA are culpable for Andy’s injury.
Gutted I have managed to rupture my ACL. I have the best medical team @AberdeenFC to help me every step of the way with the recovery. Blown away with all love and support shown from everyone. See you all in the new year 👍🏼 cheers pic.twitter.com/opyR6Buumv
— Andrew Considine (@AndyConsie4) August 25, 2021
Ultimately Aberdeen were unable to progress past Qarabag to reach the group stages.
You have to learn from exits in Europe but unfortunately this is the eighth successive year I have had to say that.
Qarabag delivered a real lesson and manager Stephen Glass admitted that after the game – which was the right thing to do.
That play-off exit shows the standard the Dons must get to reach the group stages of even the third tier of European club competition.
It is a huge lesson and statement of where Aberdeen need to be if they have aspirations of getting to the group stages in Europe.
And a lot of work has still to be done on the evidence of Thursday night.
Will midfielder Lewis Ferguson still be at Pittodrie tomorrow?
Hopefully midfielder Lewis Ferguson will secure a deserved first Scotland cap this week – whilst still an Aberdeen player.
The biggest uncertainty for Dons fans is whether Ferguson will still be at the club after the transfer window shuts at midnight tonight.
That prompted Ferguson to hand in a transfer request, but despite all that his performance levels have not dropped.
His levels have been so high Ferguson is deservedly in the Scotland squad and in contention for a debut cap in the World Cup qualifier in Denmark tomorrow.
A team could yet come in and make a late bid that is too good for the Dons to refuse before the window closes. My hope is that he is still at Pittodrie tomorrow.
Ferguson is the full package if you are looking for a midfielder.
He can play deep, go forward, score goals and take penalties.
Ferguson is young, ambitious, strong, can play, can pass and also tackle.
His call up by Scotland boss Steve Clarke for the qualifiers against Denmark, Moldova and Austria is fully deserved.
These games will indicate if the bid to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar is a pipe dream or can become reality.
Denmark were semi-finalists in the Euros this summer and facing them away from home is a huge task.
Anything out of that game would be a positive.
After Moldova at Hampden on Saturday, the Scots then face Austria away next Tuesday.
Scotland are probably going to have to win over in Austria to have a chance of qualifying.