Aberdeen reserve manager Paul Sheerin was thrilled that Ash Taylor was involved for their Aberdeenshire Shield tie against Inverurie Locos.
The central defender was back after the hamstring injury he suffered in the Europa League qualifier against Chikhura Sachkhere on July 25.
To build up match sharpness, Taylor turned out for the reserves against the Railwaymen in Tuesday’s Shield quarter-final at Harlaw Park.
Although 10-man Locos won 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 draw, Sheerin was delighted that Taylor had played.
He said: “It was brilliant to have Ash involved and brilliant for the young players.
“We’ve got two 2003s and a 2002 playing alongside Ash. From their point of view it’s great experience and for Ash it was just about getting 90 minutes under his belt.
“He hasn’t played in a long time and was a wee bit rusty but he still makes such a difference.
“He was dragging people around him into position. That experience of playing somebody who’s played so many games in Scotland and England is beneficial.”
Sheerin was disappointed to exit the Shield but hopes his young charges learn from the experience.
He said: “The physicality and playing against men is important for the players.
“On Tuesday it was all first-team footballers that Inverurie played and they are a team that’s been going well in the last few weeks.
“We were aware of that and on a night of tough conditions both underfoot and overhead it was a night where they had to roll their sleeves up and match Inverurie’s physicality.
“In the main we did that, but there were two sucker punches in the first half and we were 2-0 down.
“We managed to get ourselves back into it in the second half, but it wasn’t enough.
“As frustrating as it is going out in the quarter-final of the Shield and the semi-final of the Aberdeen Cup – it’s always a learning process.”