Aberdeen have the sun on their backs this week after a run of form that has lit up their season.
Six wins in eight games in December propelled the Dons into – whisper it quietly – the crowded title picture at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
But how does it stack up to their challenges in recent seasons?
Well, in recent years, their sole focus has been on trying to cling on to the coat-tails of Celtic in the hope that would be enough to get them second. For four campaigns on the trot, they have managed just that.
This year, however, there can be two ways of looking at it. One would be that they are in direct competition with Rangers for second spot – and pipping the Gers to the runner-up position would supersede any of their previous best-of-the-rest finishes.
The other way is that they are part of a four-team title race that will get edgier the longer the teams stay close to one another. Each team will hopefully continue to take points off another, which should at least drag the championship race out until the post-split fixtures.
No team took more points off the favourites than Kilmarnock, which tells you the strength of Steve Clarke’s work at Rugby Park. He took points off Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen and has rejuvenated Killie into a Premiership force.
Rangers’ January recruitment has been impressive and, while they are the wrong side of 30, Jermain Defoe and Steven Davis will prove classy upgrades on their current output. Defoe will be there to ease the burden on Alfredo Morelos, who is a frequent goal-getter but who also flirts with disciplinary issues.
Perhaps wary of their Glasgow rivals sniffing a championship chance, Celtic have moved quickly to address their own shortcomings. Unable to sign a replacement for Moussa Dembele in the summer, Brendan Rodgers has now bolstered his attacking options.
Oliver Burke has arrived on loan from West Brom and, from a Scotland perspective, Burke rediscovering his best form would be hugely encouraging, if not for the other teams in the top four. Timothy Weah is a prodigious talent and to get PSG to release him for the remainder of the season says a great deal for their view of Celtic.
The Dons, with reinforcements arriving in defensive areas with Mikey Devlin, Mark Reynolds and Tommie Hoban returning from injury, look to be set at the back, –barring another catastrophic run of injuries.
With Bruce Anderson set for two months on the sidelines, recruiting a pacy forward would be ideal for Derek McInnes. Sam Cosgrove discovering his scoring touch will have lifted some of the burden on January recruitment, while Stevie May and James Wilson will still need to chip in with goals during the second half of the campaign.
The centre of the park looks their strongest asset, given the form of Graeme Shinnie and Lewis Ferguson, although much will depend on the skipper’s future. It seems unlikely that the Dons would sell him this month should he be the subject of offers and in all likelihood McInnes has one eye on the market for the summer for potential replacements.
The same goes for Gary Mackay-Steven, who was mightily impressive in the early stages of the season before a frightening head knock against Celtic in the Betfred Cup final.
Connor McLennan has impressed out wide, despite his tender age, but McInnes will hope for more from Niall McGinn and Scott Wright on the flanks.
It would be no surprise if the top four places interchange right through the split and, while conventional wisdom points to another Celtic triumph, the sun is shining again on a genuinely exciting title race.