A disastrous week for Aberdeen came to a suitably catastrophic end.
It had been, originally, a period which the Dons will have been looking forward to: A chance to test themselves against the runaway league leaders, followed by the opportunity to collect three points against the gravely struggling bottom side and advance to yet another cup quarter-final.
But from the moment the Scotland under-21 squad’s coronavirus outbreak sent Connor McLennan and, crucially, the midfield ramparts Lewis Ferguson and Ross McCrorie into isolation, it became a significant test of the depth of an already depleted squad. It failed.
To exit the week with only one point and out of the League Cup is far below what has come to be expected of this team.
That it was no less than they deserved – if anything, Aberdeen were fortunate that the scoreline here remained such that Joe Lewis’ extraordinary error could be decisive – will be a debate starter.
Aberdeen have attacked this season with a squad which, on paper at least, is the strongest of the Derek McInnes era and it appears intentional: A short-term punt to open clear water between the Dons and clubs behind them struggling with vastly reduced revenues.
Two trophy tilts going by the wayside in one month leaves them still waiting to collect on the gamble. They will need to reassert their authority at the same venue next week to continue their campaign for a return to the top three, but their odds will only shorten when their absentee list does likewise.
Every team struggles when specific individuals of particular importance are unavailable. But the purpose of a squad is to ensure that performance ought not to dip beyond an acceptable minimum in their absence.