Boss Stephen Glass admits he faces a selection headache amid Aberdeen’s revival in form.
Hit with a defensive injury crisis, the Pittodrie boss brought Dean Campbell and Dylan McGeouch back in for rare starts.
Both started, and impressed, in the 2-2 draw at Rangers and then the 2-1 defeat of Hearts as the Dons ignited a faltering season.
Glass admits Campbell and McGeouch have made it difficult for them to be dropped when the injury crisis ends.
The draw at Rangers was the first start for Campbell and McGeouch since August.
Campbell, 20, excelled in an unfamiliar left-sided defensive role at Ibrox and also impressed in the 2-1 defeat of Hearts when retaining his starting spot.
McGeouch, 28, provided an assist for Scott Brown’s goal at Ibrox and also set up Lewis Ferguson for the winner against Hearts with dead-ball deliveries.
Glass insists they have given him a welcome selection dilemma for when the defensive crisis alleviates after the international break.
He said: “Dylan and Dean have not played a lot, but for them to put on the performance they did at Rangers and then do it again (against Hearts) is fantastic.
“For them to produce that in two huge games shows how well they are training and their professionalism.
“When players perform like that they make it difficult to leave them out
“It is a great problem to have.”
In from the fringes for clash at Ibrox
Campbell had started just one game this season (1-1 draw with Ross County, August 29) prior to being named in the starting line-up to face league leaders Rangers.
McGeouch had started only twice before facing Rangers, with his last game time the 2-1 loss to Celtic on October 3 when he was introduced as a substitute for Scott Brown in the 72nd minute.
Glass hailed their professionalism for never adopting a negative attitude despite lack of game time and for their continued focus and hard work in training to push back into his starting plans.
Glass said: “They have been giving me something to think about all year.
“When players like that come in then their professionalism shows or it doesn’t
“You can see how professional Dylan has been over the piece when he hasn’t really played.
“He has been in and out and had to sit and wait his turn.
“Dylan has been brilliant. He kept the ball for us really well, has been defensively sound and got around the pitch, so I’m really pleased with him.”
‘I trust them 100 percent or they wouldn’t be starting’
In defeating Hibs 1-0, Aberdeen ended a confidence sapping 10-game run without victory.
However, the three points against Hibs came at a cost as full-back Calvin Ramsay and Scotland international centre-back Declan Gallagher both picked up injuries that will rule them out until after the international break.
Full-back Jack MacKenzie missed the Hibs game with an injury suffered in training that will also rule him out until later this month.
With Scotland international centre-back Andy Considine out until the new year following cruciate ligament surgery, Glass did not have his defensive problems to seek.
With a daunting trip to Ibrox looming, he turned to Campbell and McGeouch – and insists he always had complete trust they would rise to the occasion.
McGeouch operated in midfield to allow Scott Brown to drop into a centre-back role with Campbell slotting into the left of defence.
Aberdeen have now taken seven points from the last nine against Hearts, Rangers and Hibs.
Glass said: “People asked me before the Hearts game about trust in the players and I trust them 100 per cent or they wouldn’t be selected.
“I am delighted by them all.
“I have 100% trust in a player like Dean.”
The challenge on managing a large group
Glass oversaw a major overhaul of the squad in the summer with 10 players signed and 11 exiting Pittodrie.
The Dons manager was quick to shoot down comments players were sitting frustrated in the stand.
He insists the positive impact of McGeouch and Campbell is proof of a harmonious squad with players, whether playing regularly or not, all focused on contributing to the cause.
He said: “I’m delighted with the competition we have for places.
“I was told there was comments out there that it is difficult to keep that number of players happy when you leave seven or eight in the stand.
“But we have never done that because there is health issues going around, injuries, so there have been times I have left none out and have the 18 I have.
“Managing a group is a challenge, but it is one we are capable of and I think you saw, let’s say fringe players, you saw their reaction to coming in and the work they are asked to do.
“We are in a good place at the minute.”
Injured defensive trio to miss Motherwell
Glass confirmed Ramsay, MacKenzie and Gallagher will definitely miss Saturday’s clash with Motherwell at Pittodrie.
He said: “The three of them won’t be back until after the international break.”