Paul Hartley has been impressed by how his Cove Rangers side has come together after back-to-back friendlies with Dundee.
The League Two champions drew 1-1 with the Dark Blues at Dens Park on Saturday, after a narrow 1-0 defeat on home soil four days earlier.
Cove have two further friendlies before the Hibernian game on October 10, with Fraserburgh at home tomorrow night then Banks o’Dee on Saturday.
New signings Jamie Semple, Adam Livingstone and Leighton McIntosh all started at the weekend, while goalkeeper Ryan Mullen, a loan arrival from Celtic last week, played the second half.
It also gave the Aberdeen side the chance to test out a back three in the first period, which Hartley hopes to work more on.
Hartley said: “It was a good test for us and a good test for Dundee, especially in the second half. We changed the shape in the second half. We went with a back three in the first half, which we hadn’t worked too much on. It was a bit of an unknown to us.
“Three at the back is something we probably need to work on a bit more. We didn’t really pass it that well in the first half but the second half was much better.
“You need to work hard, concentrate so much, focus. The work ethic was terrific, so I’m pleased the way things are going just now. It’s not been easy but we feel we’ve got a decent squad. We’re happy with the attitude of the players and their conditioning is good.”
Scott Ross put Cove ahead in the second half before an own goal from Ryan Strachan levelled proceedings.
Former Dundee and Falkirk boss Hartley was pleased to get Mullen on the pitch, with it also being the first game for new goalkeeping coach Alan Combe. After leaving Hibs in the summer, the ex-Killie and St Mirren stopper replaces John McCafferty, who stood down due to work commitments.
Hartley added: “It was good for Mullen, getting into real men’s football. He had just come in on Thursday and he did well.
“We’re trying to take him out of his comfort zone. Hopefully the keepers push each other on and bringing Alan in will help them as well.
“Alan’s someone I’ve had for a while. I worked with him at Alloa with Scott Bain.
“When he became available it was a great opportunity for us, to get someone of his experience.”