The headlines in the early part of this week were rightly dominated by St Johnstone after the Perth side triumphed in the Betfred Cup Final.
In doing so, Saints became the only side other than Celtic to have won more than a single major trophy in the past decade in Scottish football.
That is a remarkable statistic, and one which the anti-McInnes lobby have been using to back their calls for a change in management at Pittodrie.
The Dons’ return of just the one League Cup during Derek’s time in charge is not good enough, especially given the advantages his team has at times enjoyed over most other clubs.
He was unlucky in coming up against a dominant Celtic in three finals and two semis but has also lost out in the last four of either competition to St Johnstone, Motherwell and Dundee United. There have been earlier exits at the hands of Dundee, Hearts twice, Hibs, Motherwell and St Mirren.
The luck of the draw is important, and there is no doubt that St Johnstone had a favourable route to their first success in this tournament, but they made the most of that, beat who was put in front of them, and thoroughly deserved their win.
Over the past eight years Aberdeen have generally had decent enough draws, but have all too often failed to capitalise and have lost a number of ties they should have won. That is why they remain alongside half a dozen other clubs – including the likes of Caley Thistle, Ross County and St Mirren – on a single trophy success, looking on enviously at the side from Perth.
The Dons only opportunity to change that this season will be in the Scottish Cup and that will now be a short sharp tournament.
If Aberdeen don’t end their three-decade long wait for success in that competition, redemption for this campaign is going to have to come from finishing third in the Premiership, and with the advantage Hibernian presently enjoy, that seems like a long shot right now.
It would not be impossible, but the team would have to improve considerably and maintain that between now and the end of the campaign to have a chance. Derek McInnes would have to find a way to get his misfiring players actually scoring goals again.
Whether it is down to the individuals concerned or the tactics employed by the management, this season has been woeful on that front. The Dons have barely registered a goal a game in the league and are set for their lowest ever tally under Derek, by a considerable margin.
Around the turn of the decade Aberdeen twice recorded a tally of just 36 goals scored; the current team should beat that, but may well end up with a total which is around half of what they managed in the manager’s best season, 2016-17.
In a dozen matches during 2021 the Dons have failed to score in eight, the 2-0 win over Motherwell being the only time they have netted more than a single goal. Of the five scored this year, one was an own goal and only one – Matt Kennedy against Rangers – came from open play.
Starting against Accies this afternoon, that is going to have to be rectified. If it isn’t, a third successive fourth place finish will be the outcome.
Lower league clubs were this week given the green light to resume training and playing again, but only if Covid testing is implemented.
The sacrificing of Leagues One and Two in January was a disgrace and there seems no reason why clubs couldn’t have been given the option then that they have been now.
There were plenty discussions behind the scenes, but while some privately might have believed it made no sense to try to cram in so many games in such a short space of time, it does now seem certain a shortened campaign will be completed.
That will be a relief for the likes of Cove Rangers, but I can understand entirely why a number of clubs would initially have preferred to null and void the campaign. They shouldn’t be criticised for that, the blame lies not with them, but with the authorities who made the unnecessary decision to pull the plug two months ago.