The upper echelons of the league have become a familiar environment for Aberdeen in recent seasons and Andy Considine sees no reason why this season should be any different.
Despite a slow start, the Dons injury-hit squad, patched up over the last two months through
frequent injuries and suspensions, is starting to take shape.
Four second-placed finishes in a row – last year’s coming when pundits expected Rangers to leapfrog them – have seen the Dons cement themselves as the nation’s second-best force.
Considine would not have it any other way and wants Aberdeen to continue thriving on the high standards they have set themselves.
He said: “It’s the expectation of playing at this club and the fans expect to be fighting for first place. That’s what Aberdeen Football Club is all about.
“Because we’ve done so well over the past five years, we’ve put ourselves on that pedestal: that’s what we need to produce year in, year out. I know the league is stronger this year.
“We strengthened this year and I know we lost some players in the summer but we’ve strengthened well. If we can keep everyone fit – we seem to have been hit by quite a lot of injuries this season – we have a really strong squad. If we keep everyone fit, I think we can be up the top again.”
Considine, a 14-year veteran at Pittodrie, has got used to seeing the Dons underestimated heading into new seasons, with this year being no different.
He said: “Yeah, pretty much. But at the same time I enjoy having that pressure and I think the boys in the changing room enjoy having that sort of pressure of having to finish second.
“As we’ve seen already this year, with how well the Edinburgh clubs are doing, Aberdeen seem to be having a stuttering start and this, that and the next thing.
“It would be great to prove them all wrong again. Last year was the perfect example, Rangers were going to be the ones who finished second, if not win the league.
“Yes it came to the final day, but we managed to do it. If it came down to that again, then I’m sure we’d manage to do it as well.”
The spotlight has shone away from the Granite City somewhat and gravitated towards the capital, because of how Hearts and Hibernian have emerged under Craig Levein and Neil Lennon.
Flying under the radar is a tried-and-tested mantra but it is one Considine is happy to adhere to.
He said: “The focus is on other teams this year because of how well they’ve started and because we’ve not come flying out of the traps like in previous years.
“We just need to go game by game and look after ourselves, pick up the results we need. It’s actually a very important month for us with the semi-final as well. If we can have a really good month, it can turn our fortunes around massively.”
“We’re seventh at the minute. We need to slowly crawl back up the league. The way we’ve kind of done it every year is quietly.
“A lot of people concentrate on Rangers, Celtic, etc. We just go about our job. Hopefully this year we will be able to do that again.
“The main thing is that we close the gap because we can’t let the like of Hearts, Hibs, Rangers, Celtic get away from us.”