What has been another strange season in the Scottish Premiership enters its final phase this afternoon with the Dons kicking-off their post-split fixtures at McDiarmid Park.
They do so seven points adrift of Hibernian and realistically it is difficult to see how that can be clawed back. Hibs are also twelve goals better off and have scored a dozen more, which adds to their advantage.
Finishing third this year brings its own rewards, both financially and in terms of European qualification, but the horrendous run of just two wins in fourteen in 2021 has all but taken that out of reach.
If results go their way this weekend, it might put a little pressure of Jack Ross’ side and if they can remain in contention for the head-to-head in the penultimate game, they could yet do it, but given how this campaign has gone, that feels like a step too far.
The likelihood is that the remaining league matches will simply act as a taster for new boss Stephen Glass, the opportunity for him to get some of his ideas across and cast his eye over those nearing the end of their Pittodrie contracts. Most will probably depart, but one or two might just persuade him otherwise.
In truth, it feels as if the team needs a massive overhaul and this summer is exactly the right time to do it, allowing Stephen to bring in the type of players he wants, and to put his stamp on the side.
Having been unable to get out on the training pitch at Cormack Park, the manager has had to make his plans and hold discussions with the squad from afar, but that will have allowed him to study past games and assess what he needs to do.
Recruitment moves are well under way behind the scenes and it would be good to see the bulk of this summer’s activity done early. That way he can begin to lay foundations and hopefully get the team off to a quick start in the next campaign.
Aside from that, there is the matter of the Scottish Cup to consider, and having scraped through at Dumbarton, the Dons have been given the kind of draw they would have been hoping for.
They may have missed out on any of the minnows, but the potential of back-to-back home ties against teams from lower down the Premiership is an ideal pathway back to Hampden, and the chance to claim some long-awaited silverware.
If they are to do so, the management and players are going to have to find the answer to the lack of goals which have damaged the Dons’ chances in 2020-21.
Given that he is the only player to have found the net in the past two and a half months, it might be the time to give Callum Hendry a run in the closing stages of the campaign.
Of the three strikers brought in on loan in January, he is the only one to have scored, and – while he has rough edges – I have always believed he was a forward with real potential.
He cannot play against his parent club this afternoon, but if the side draws a blank again in Perth, I would definitely give him the opportunity to shine in the remaining matches.
Sunday will be dedicated to watching golf’s best tussle for Green Jacket
One of the very few plus points of the global pandemic is that we have not had long to wait for The Masters to come round again, the players teeing off just five months after Dustin Johnson won the 2020 tournament.
Along with The Open, it was staying up late into the night to watch the drama unfold at Augusta that made me fall in love with the game of golf, and the annual gathering in Georgia has produced some of the most memorable moments I have witnessed.
I can reel them off without thinking; Jack Nicklaus’ astonishing surge to victory in 1986 and Larry Maze’s chip in at the 11th the following year, Sandy Lyle’s bunker shot at the 72nd, emotional wins for Fred Couples and Ben Crenshaw, Greg Norman’s collapse in ’96 and all sorts of fireworks from Tiger Woods, culminating in his unbelievable triumph in 2019.
It will, I am sure, be as dramatic a weekend as ever and I will not be moving from the sofa on Sunday evening until the final ball drops.