The Dons put in another highly acceptable European performance, and had they taken their chances against Helsinki, would have emerged with what would have been a deserved victory.
There were no failures on the night, it was another assured defensive display, and they created the sort of opportunities that must be taken on such a stage against decent opposition.
The disappointment is they failed to take three points from what was their most winnable game in the group, and with a double header against PAOK on the horizon, they are now very much up against it.
I was a bit baffled by Barry Robson’s criticism of the referee on Thursday, which seemed over the top. Yes, there should have been a red card, but the official clearly didn’t see the incident and was let down by the VAR team. That apart, I thought he did a good job.
But Barry was right to praise his side, and his confidence in the players has been validated in recent weeks.
Aberdeen had gone into the tie on the biggest high imaginable following their convincing victory at Ibrox a few days earlier.
They had to ride their luck in the early stages, but were defensively sound, and from the moment they took the lead, the players looked in control.
I said from the off that Stefan Gartenmann looked the real deal, and he has proved an astute signing. Not only does he do the job he is employed for, but he pounced for the crucial opening goal against Rangers, and that set the side up for what was a dream afternoon.
The last few performances have made it clear the guys now have the self-belief required to compete at the top level, the new boys have settled in, and they look well placed to successfully come through what had appeared a demanding period.
The win in Glasgow pushed the Dons up to a more comfortable position in the table and was a serious blow to Rangers; their third defeat of the campaign already making it highly unlikely they will genuinely challenge Celtic for the title.
It also spelled the end for Michael Beale. He departed having proclaimed they should never be losing at home to “a team like Aberdeen”, a somewhat bizarre comment, but one which was perhaps borne out of the pressure he was under at that time.
You have to wonder where they go next. Making the right appointment is key at any club, but particularly so at one like Rangers. This is the third successive year they have been in this situation; get it wrong again and the gap between them and their city rivals will become embarrassing.
Celtic lost again on Wednesday night, further evidence that the premier tournament is now a step too far for Scottish football. Yes, they played some good football, and yes, they competed, but it was still another defeat, and the statistics prove my assertion.
Last season, Rangers compiled the worst ever campaign of any team in the Champions League group stages, while Celtic have the lowest win percentage of any side to have competed on a regular basis.
It has reached the point where participation in the groups is now nothing more than a money making venture for our clubs.
Ryder Cup lived up to the billing
The 2023 Ryder Cup did not disappoint, the biennial contest once again providing some of the most dramatic and compelling moments of the sporting year.
Virtually from the first game on Friday, Europe took a stranglehold, and although the USA staged a partial comeback on the Sunday, Luke Donald’s team always looked likely to prevail.
It was an outstanding week for the captain and his players, each and every one of them contributing to a comprehensive victory.
Unlike the Americans, once again weakened by individual priorities, Europe played as a team and thoroughly deserved to reclaim the trophy.
The celebrations were extensive and some of the footage from the team coach was outstanding, a brilliant look behind the scenes, and a clear indication of just how much the win meant to the players.
I’m already looking forward to Bethpage Black in 2025.