It hasn’t been particularly concealed, but Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty have clearly noticed that their team needed a new approach.
The accelerated purchase of Matthew Kennedy and the immediate reliance upon him to provide an offensive spark was commentary on the offerings of the Dons’ creators and the often unusual methods of delivering free kicks seemed to concede that goals would not come by conventional means.
With Kennedy looking sharp, both on and coming in from the wing, it briefly felt as if one goal might open the floodgates.
It was accompanied by the knowledge that the longer the score remained blank, the more the game would revert to familiar, sterile patterns.
This line-up looked closer than most fielded this season to solving the puzzle of Aberdeen’s lack of threat, but there remains the same disconnect at its heart that has existed since the departure of Kenny McLean. No advanced midfielder, nobody in the “number 10” slot which every one-striker side needs to draw defensive attention.
Lewis Ferguson was pushed to the front of the midfield stage here, but whatever is said about freeing him to play further up the pitch is merely cover for the fact that he is being forced for want of another option.
Ferguson, as was often the case last season, is being shifted into a sub-optimal position to accommodate others and it seems unlikely to benefit either player or team.
That is not to say there were no positives to take. In the game’s first quarter Aberdeen looked assertive, with a much higher line and a far harder press.
It was like the Dons of the recent past, when they were content that it would ultimately bring goals. They must return to trusting that formula.