It is hard to call any fixture a must-win one in September – unless you are Gordon Strachan of course – but Saturday’s lunchtime match between Aberdeen and Celtic is as close as you will get to it in the Scottish Premiership.
The Dons have been as close to flawless as you can ask for so far, with the exception of that one goal they lost to Motherwell last month as five wins have been racked up with ease.
But this weekend the stakes will be upped substantially when the Scottish champions head to Pittodrie.
Celtic beat the Dons in all four meetings of the teams last season which is why it is important, from a psychological viewpoint if nothing else, that Derek McInnes and his players stop that worrying run of results on Saturday.
Pittodrie will be sold-out for the big game, a sign the Dons supporters are right behind their team and full of hope and expectation that this is going to be a special season for their side.
The outcome of the game won’t decide anything but a home win would go a long way to injecting even more belief in McInnes’ squad.
In fact, the Celtic game marks the start of what could be a pivotal week for the Dons.
Think about it – how much of a shot in the arm would all three points going to the Dons do for the squad and the supporters?
Aberdeen would be two points clear of the champions with the chance to extend it to five on Tuesday with another home game against Hamilton Accies before facing another team who have made a strong start to the season in Hearts.
Beat the Hoops and those next two games will feature a Dons team full of confidence and a bit of panache I’m sure.
Lose to Celtic and all of a sudden the pressure is on for those next two games as Aberdeen try to keep hot on the heels of Ronny Deila’s side.
But let’s not worry about ifs, buts and maybes just yet. Let’s just keep the focus on the weekend encounter.
If there is a good time to get the Hoops then surely it is Saturday. Virgil van Dijk, to no surprise, has departed for Southampton leaving one strapping hole where a composed and impressive central defender once stood.
Celtic have been leaking goals domestically and in Europe in the early games of the campaign while he was there, and van Dijk’s replacement Jozo Simunovic has big shoes to fill and a big price tag to justify as he prepares to make his debut for the club.
Manchester United defender Tyler Blackett is another new arrival before the window closed and he too could be in store for a Pittodrie debut.
That still leaves Derdyck Boyata, who has been erratic at best so far, and in all likelihood Emilio Izaguirre, whose preference for pushing forward often leaps a gap to be exploited.
The chopping and changing of the back four by the manager points to one thing – he is still looking for the right blend to shore up a porous defence.
The Dons, in contrast, look settled and in the mood to build on the fine start to the new campaign. You can be sure they won’t be lacking in desire for this one either following the disappointment of those head-to-head matches last season.
Deila boasts a raft of attacking options which can hurt any team in Scottish football. But Saturday’s result will hinge on his team’s ability to stand firm against the Dons.
In other words, strap yourselves in folks, this one is going to be a belter.