The crowning moment of the trip to Dubai came last night in the form of the Dons’ friendly with Dibba Al-Hisn.
It had been a long time in arranging, much to the frustration of director of football operations Steven Gunn, but his hard work and opponent-hunting paid off when a team was finalised for yesterday’s game.
Given the stresses of an arduous December any game would need to be relatively low-risk, as Derek McInnes could ill-afford to sustain any more injuries after a first half of the season in which he struggled to get a consistent side on the field.
Sam Cosgrove continued his recent ascendancy to the leading man up front, opening the scoring in a first half where the Dons dominated prior to their belated breakthrough.
His second was even better and he was far the best player on the park, showing an eagerness to get a third even though the outcome was settled. Strikers thrive on goals, and the next one cannot come soon enough for the in-form forward.
The acid test of whether this trip has been beneficial will come in the coming weeks and months as league and cup prospects crystallise.
Aberdeen have generally fared well in the second half of the season in recent years under McInnes, reaching the latter stages of the Scottish Cup and cementing four second-placed finishes, and anything similar this year will have to be seen as a roaring success.
Just over two weeks are remaining in the transfer window and McInnes will undoubtedly look to add to his squad further. Without Max Lowe they are a defender light, and they could do with another forward with Bruce Anderson being injured.
A return for Greg Stewart – linked with a move on Sunday – would certainly be welcomed, particularly if he is able to replicate his form with Kilmarnock.
But as long as Cosgrove maintains his current form the sheep will not be the only thing on fire in the Granite City.