As surely as spring follows winter and the countryside once more sings to the calls of a newborn generation, it seems that 83 minutes of plodding around the Dumbarton rearguard inevitably comes before a late settler keeping the Dons’ Scottish Cup hopes alive for another day.
Like Easter itself, Aberdeen’s cup debut against Dumbarton was a moveable feast, circumstances forcing the tie much deeper into the calendar year than in 2020.
It had the advantage of providing unseasonably glorious weather in which to enjoy one of Scotland’s picturesque fields, the Rock watching over the stadium like a ewe hunkering down beside her snoozing lamb.
And much of the tie was pretty somnolent fare.
The stillness of spring air was broken only sporadically by the anguished bleats of those – of both sides – denied a crack at goal by its outstanding protection or, more commonly, their own lack of confidence and conviction at the vital moment.
Aberdeen will naturally be pleased that they have secured welcome cup progress amid what has turned out to be a horrid run of form.
However, it will come with a note of disappointment that they were not able to conclusively banish it.
Their plan would surely have been to score more – and earlier – than they did, allowing their stilted attack to slot back into its groove for the challenges ahead.
If anything, that League One strugglers were able to hold them scoreless for so long will only deepen the concern.
In other times, Aberdeen’s eyes would have widened upon seeing how the draw has panned out for them.
However, the Dons players would perhaps be wise to start practising their penalties.