When the Aberdeen fans were discovering the team lines on Saturday, they probably weren’t terribly interested in checking how strong were the sides being selected by their rivals across the league.
If they lasted the full 90 minutes without sneaking a look at the line-ups from McDiarmid Park, it can only be because they’d brought their own reading materials on an afternoon which will hardly rank among the most enthralling in the competition’s history.
Matthew Kennedy’s arrival at Pittodrie will boost a Dons attack which can often be too predictable and pedestrian to crack heavily reinforced defences, and the weekend’s events may inspire Derek McInnes to make it happen now rather than in June.
For while his current batch of attackers struggled to unbalance their part-time opponents, Kennedy was inactive as his erstwhile employers entered the tournament in Perth.
A pre-advertised knock set the scene for his absence from the St Johnstone squad for their match with Morton, but, whether by accident or design, its consequence is that Kennedy would remain available for the remainder of this cup campaign were Aberdeen to force through an accelerated purchase.
Watching his team enjoy two-thirds of possession and fashion almost 30 shots at goal, yet fail to conspicuously discomfort Dumbarton keeper Conor Brennan and prevail only thanks to a tired tackle in the game’s last moments, will have redoubled McInnes’ determination to convert Kennedy’s summer commitment into a January sale if at all possible.
It may be that a deal is done in the coming days, even if a condition of it is that a replacement is sent on loan to aid Saints in pursuit of their own significant goals.