As Aberdeen prepare to embark on their 2021/22 Premiership campaign, there is a feeling that the new era is about to properly get under way for the club.
When Derek McInnes was sacked back in March, it took a fortnight to appoint Stephen Glass and a further three weeks before the new man could take charge of the team for the first time in the Scottish Cup win over Livingston.
But that time he spent studying the squad and past performances, and the six games he had as manager to see out last season, will have been crucial in his preparation for this one.
Since then, he and Allan Russell have been joined by Henry Apaloo, a coach Stephen clearly trusts, and the squad has been significantly revamped with the addition of half a dozen new faces, while nine players departed.
It was a shake-up that was badly needed after a disappointing couple of years.
The goalkeeping position should offer no concerns. Joe Lewis will clearly be first choice and will be hoping for a more consistent season than last time out, but Gary Woods is an experienced and capable back-up.
In terms of the defence, Jack Gurr and Calvin Ramsay will be vying for the right-back slot, with Jack MacKenzie, Jonny Hayes and, depending on how Stephen lines up his central defence, Andrew Considine, the options on the left.
Andrew prefers playing in the middle, but with Declan Gallagher’s arrival and Ross McCrorie very capable of operating there, he may have to be moved out on occasion. If Michael Devlin gets himself fully fit again, he would offer another very welcome option, and the manager has the personnel to play three at the back should he go down that route.
Scott Brown has already made a huge impact in his short time with the Dons, and the pictures of him after the first leg against Hacken must have convinced some of the doubters. I have said all along that his signing will be the most significant move Stephen makes, and the early indications are that it will be the success he had hoped for.
Scott and Lewis Ferguson – for as long as he stays – will be regular starters and, from what I hear, Funso Ojo has caught the eye of the management team. With the likes of Dean Campbell, Dylan McGeouch and Teddy Jenks as options, the midfield looks well-staffed both in terms of quantity and quality.
Ryan Hedges, Christian Ramirez and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas will be top of the list as the front men, with Connor McLennan, Matty Kennedy and Niall McGinn used more sparingly. I would like to see one more striker added, but that might have to wait until nearer the end of the window.
The return against Hacken didn’t quite go to plan, but the hard work had been done in the first game, and the most important thing was getting through.
It was fitting on the trip to Gothenburg the club announced a statue of Sir Alex Ferguson is to be erected outside Pittodrie.
It is up to Stephen Glass and his players to now put together the kind of season which would make the great man proud.
Cove look strong in pursuit of Championship promotion
After the troubled start to Cove Rangers’ League Cup campaign, the win over Caley Thistle will have come as a huge lift to everyone at The Balmoral.
Like the Dons, there have been big changes at the club, with the most recent additions, Jevan Anderson and Shay Logan, arriving during the week. I have heard good things about Jevan, and he should prove a decent signing, as should Logan, if he concentrates on playing football rather than trying to make a name for himself on social media.
The earlier captures of Iain Vigurs and Ross Draper was a real statement of intent, and Paul Hartley looks to have assembled a strong, well-balanced squad with a real goal threat offered by Mitch Megginson, Leighton McIntosh and Rory McAllister.
With promotion being followed by a play-off place last time round, Cove have to be among the favourites in League One; this afternoon’s opener against rivals Falkirk will be a good pointer as to what lies ahead.