Aberdeen stepped up their pre-season preparations with a 2-0 friendly win against Fraserburgh at Bellslea.
Teenage striker Alfie Bavidge netted the opening goal in the first half before summer signing Ester Sokler converted a penalty after the break.
It continued Sokler’s impressive start to his pre-season after the £300,000 signing netted four goals in the 9-0 defeat of Turriff United.
Aberdeen now face Preston North End away on Saturday in their next friendly.
The game celebrated the testimonial of legendary Fraserburgh defender Ryan Cowie, who has racked up 11 years of superb service for the Buchan club.
During that period, the 31-year-old has made 328 appearances and scored 27 goals.
In a trophy-laden career, he won the Breedon Highland League with Fraserburgh, as well as six Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cups and three Morrison Motors (Turriff) Aberdeenshire Shields.
Cowie received a guard of honour from both teams before kick off and walked out with his son.
Teenage striker Bavidge was denied by the bar in the 16th minute and Leighton Clarkson hit the post with a 25-yard free-kick in the 35th minute.
Aberdeen went ahead in the 38th minute when Bavidge fired in from six yards at the back post after meeting a Clarkson cross.
Bavidge was prolific at under-18 level last season and made his first team debut off the bench.
The 17-year-old has the eye for goal, speed and physicality to be an Aberdeen goal hero of the future.
Summer signing Ester Sokler made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute, having been introduced as a substitute at half-time.
The Slovenian won a penalty when he burst into the box and was brought down by Fraserburgh defender Bryan Hay.
He converted the spot-kick.
The match also marked the debut for Aberdeen summer signing Ross Doohan, with the keeper introduced at half-time.
Doohan recently signed on a tw0-year contract from Forest Green Rovers.
Summer signing Ester Sokler continues goal run
Slovenian striker Ester Sokler took just seven minutes following his introduction at half-time to continue his goal scoring form.
The 24-year-old burst into the box and was brought down by defender Bryan Hay in the 52nd minute.
Former Slovenian U21 international Sokler dusted himself down and calmly converted the spot-kick, shooting low into the keeper’s right corner.
Sokler netted four goals after being introduced at half-time in the 9-0 friendly defeat of Turriff United on Wednesday.
When the ball rippled the back of the net at Bellslea, it meant Sokler had scored five goals in just 52 minutes of action for Aberdeen.
Aberdeen splashed out £300,000 to Slovenian top-flight club NK Radomlje to secure the striker on a three-year contract.
Sokler’s goal spree has come against Highland League opposition, so it is difficult to judge just how effective he will be in the Premiership and Europe for the Dons.
However, all the signs are there that £300,000 is not just a shrewd investment, but a bargain.
Sokler has the game vision to stretch and pull defences with his movement, which opens up space for either himself or a strike partner.
Duk and Bojan Miovski – who is recovering from an ankle injury – could both benefit from the space the Slovenian opens up.
Sokler also has the lightning speed to burst into any pockets of space or through balls and capitalise.
In the 75th minute, he raced on to a free-kick into the box to direct a glancing header at goal, which was blocked.
The summer signing also possesses a powerful, true shot that can really travel.
His attacking strengths will deliver goals and assists, but Sokler is also a grafter.
He runs tirelessly to press defenders to win possession. That will be key to manager Barry Robson’s high-tempo, high-press game philosophy.
Midfielder Dante Polvara sharp after loan spell
American midfielder Dante Polvara started for the Dons at Fraserburgh as he bids to impress boss Barry Robson.
The 22-year-old operated on the right of a central midfield three of Leighton Clarkson (central) and Graeme Shinnie (left).
He linked up well with Shayden Morris, who was wide right, and also with summer signing Nicky Devlin, who played at right centre-back.
This is a huge season for Polvara as he only has a year left on his Aberdeen contract.
Against Fraserburgh he displayed the range of passes that were evident when he first signed for Aberdeen in January 2022.
Polvara tried to find passes to instigate attacks from midfield and also made some key interceptions and tackles against Fraserburgh.
There also seems to be more physicality about Polvara, who more than held his own against the Highland League outfit.
That needs to carry over to Premiership and European action.
It will be difficult for Polvara to force is way into the starting line-up in midfield with Shinnie, Clarkson and Ramadani likely to have those slots.
However, Polvara has certainly benefitted from his recent five-month loan spell in the United States.
He had regular starts during the loan at Charleston Battery in the USL Championship and looks match sharp.
Polvara was a mainstay of the Charleston team and played a pivotal role in the club’s rise to the top of the Eastern Conference.
He logged 1,456 minutes of action and was the only player to feature in all 21 of Charleson’s matches in the USL Championship and Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
It was valuable game time for the midfielder, who arrived on a two-and-a-half-year deal from Georgetown University under former boss Stephen Glass in January 2022.
However, he has made just 11 competitive appearances since signing for the Dons, with only five starts.
Polvara must use pre-season to convince boss Robson he has the quality to make more of an impact in the upcoming campaign.
Could Jack Milne be a centre-back option?
Aberdeen clearly need to sign more centre-backs ahead of the new campaign – but they also have a young strong central defender already in the building.
Centre-back Jack Milne put in a rock-solid shift in the centre of a three-man defence against Fraserburgh.
The 20-year-old started against the Highland League side and anchored a three-man back-line with Nicky Devlin to the right and Jack MacKenzie to the right.
Milne brought a real physicality against a tough Fraserburgh attack.
He kept tight on attackers Scott Barbour and Sean Butcher, although, in the 26th minute, keeper Kelle Roos had to save at the near post from a Butcher drive.
Milne made his first team break-through at the start of last season when featuring in the League Cup games off the bench.
He impressed then and looks to have improved further in the last year.
Milne spent the second half of last season on loan at Kelty Hearts, making 14 starts.
Centre-back Mine is confident playing out from the back and keeps calm under pressure to recycle the ball from defence.
Aberdeen boss Barry Robson has secured Liverpool centre-back Rhys Williams on a season-long loan from the Premier League giants.
Angus MacDonald, who has not featured in the friendlies, also signed a two-year contract extension at the end of the season.
Anthony Stewart was sent out on loan to MK Dons by Robson in January in one of his first acts as Aberdeen boss.
Stewart is back at Pittodrie and the former club captain played the second half at Fraserburgh.
Dundee United boss Jim Goodwin, the former Dons manager, has shot down reports he was keen to sign Stewart.
Former Dons skipper Stewart was solid at the back and kept it simple, clearing his lines and winning tackles.
The Dons are keen on securing centre-back Liam Scales on a permanent deal having impressed on a season-long loan last season.
However, Mine could be a centre-back option for Robson, even if there are signings in that position.
ABERDEEN (3-5-2): Roos (Doohan 46); Devlin (Richardson 46), Milne (Stewart 46), MacKenzie (Mercer 78); Morris (Marshall 46), Polvara (Ramadani 46), Clarkson (Barron 46), Shinnie (Duncan 46), Ngwenya (Hayes 46); Bavidge (Besuijen 46), Duk, (Sokler 46)
Subs: Williams, Lobban, Emslie.
FRASERBURGH (4-4-2): J. Barbour; Davidson (Aitken 25), Beagrie, Hay (Simpson 62), Cowie (West 85); Wood (Bolton 62), Campbell (Buchan 46), Young (Watt 62), Sargent (Laird 77); S. Barbour (Harris 77), Butcher (Sopel 46).
Referee: Joel Kennedy