So, it is next stop Azerbaijan after a hard fought, but richly deserved, win for the Dons over Breidablik.
Thursday night’s victory produced a number of notable individual performances and proved that the manager is not afraid to make changes, the second half return to a back four contributing to the success.
It was great to see Ryan Hedges back among the goals, his second was an outstanding finish, and Scott Brown turned in a commanding display at the heart of the midfield.
The youngsters, Calvin Ramsay and Jack MacKenzie, continue to flourish and will be better for the European experience they are amassing, while Funso Ojo is finally proving why the club was so desperate to sign him in the summer of 2019.
Apart from making progress, the big plus on the night was having 15,107 fans inside the stadium, and from what I heard on the radio, and from friends who watched the game, the atmosphere was pretty special.
A fifth win in six games is an excellent way to start the campaign and the Dons are in a good place right now. The trip to Azerbaijan will be demanding, but Qarabag is a winnable tie, and playing group stage football could soon be a reality.
Celtic also went through on Thursday, as did St Johnstone, despite losing to an excellent Galatasaray side, with Hibernian the only Scottish team to drop out completely.
Rangers reeling from Champions League exit
The big news of the week was Rangers crashing out of the Champions League.
As Jon Dahl Tomasson had pointed out beforehand, the Ibrox club needed the millions the premier tournament brings, and the defeat to Malmo was a severe blow on and off the pitch.
Steven Gerrard’s side has breezed through the past year or so, romping to the league title and making a decent impact in Europe, but the brakes have been put on in the last week, suffering their first league loss in seventeen months as well as the Euro exit.
That saw Rangers losing three matches in a row for the first time since May 2015 and bit deeply into the feelgood factor and the confidence the team has been living off.
It seems likely they will regroup and bounce back, but we all know how quickly things can change in the game, and it will be important for them to get back on track quickly.
If they don’t, it will offer Celtic the encouragement they have been desperate for, and the Premiership campaign may not be the easy ride most were anticipating.
The spotlight returns to the Premier Sports Cup this weekend with the Dons heading for Kirkcaldy and a potentially tricky encounter with Raith Rovers.
John McGlynn has done a tremendous job there in the past three years and I would expect them to once again challenge for the play-off places in the Championship. They are a good outfit, play decent football, and will be up for it.
Aberdeen have more quality, so it will be down to attitude and application, and if the players produce what they are capable of they should progress relatively comfortably.
That would be hugely important for the club and add to the growing sense of optimism in the early part of the season.
Money will help Messi move on from Barcelona
Lionel Messi’s love-affair with Barcelona came to a tearful end this week, but the Argentine superstar recovered pretty quickly as he read the eye-watering details of his new contract with PSG.
He may have taken a pay cut, but I’m sure he’ll get by on his new basic salary of at least 35 million Euros a year.
Messi is an undoubted talent, arguably the best player we have ever seen, but I found it difficult to feel any kind of sympathy for him as he was ‘forced’ out of the Nou Camp.
The fact that he chose to join such a soulless outfit, the plaything of Qatari billionaires, added to my lack of compassion.
He has spoken of winning another Champions League, and I guess he has given himself a decent chance of doing just that, but I hope he falls short.
PSG are largely unloved outside Paris and Qatar; I really do not want to see them lift the famous trophy.