It`s not too unfair to say considering the injuries and quality of the players missing that yesterday`s deserved 2-0 victory over our much improved north eastern neighbours was something of a very welcome surprise.
Starting a match with six players Jimmy Calderwood brands as “fringe” members of the squad didn`t fill anybody who had watched United defeat Rangers last week with much hope.
But Lee Mair, Karim Touzani, Richie Byrne, Jeffrey de Visscher, Chris Maguire and new fans favourite Sone Aluko more than proved their worth to the squad and showed that Calderwood`s judgement in signing and keeping these guys around Pittodrie has been a shrewd move, designed to cope with the unexpected loss of his star players .
United are a very decent side, highlighted by the fact that not too many were delighted to have eventually drawn Craig Levein`s boys than Rangers in the CIS semi-final. Much of their success has been built on the confidence and assuredness Gregorz Szamotulski brings to a defence that simply don`t concede easy goals and Aberdeen`s resurgence has coincided with the return of Jamie Langfield which is certainly no coincidence.
Langfield has been outstanding since being reinstated and the team have not lost with him in goal apart from the two tough away matches at Ibrox and Greece. It could be argued that his return was in sync with the period of the season where Aberdeen were pitted against the league`s lightweights but it would be hard to argue that he has not been a tremendous re-addition to the first team, pulling off some outstanding key saves but most importantly, bringing stability to those in front of him who are clearly happier he`s between the sticks than Soutar .
And having a defence again that doesn`t leak soft goals the Dons find themselves back in the top six, only four points from their realistic target of third place and with a squad that has apparently shown that it should be able to cope with the hardship a football season brings.
Can the same be said of Dundee United, Hibs and Hearts? When they to have six first team stalwarts out, could they cope as well as the boys Calderwood sent out to play a team deservedly in 3rd place and beat them quite comfortably?
Time will tell and their squad`s may never be as stretched as Aberdeen`s was yesterday but with a CIS semi to look forward to and still some very important UEFA Cup matches on the horizon, those guys who so competently stepped up yesterday will no doubt be asked to do a job again during the course of this season and the boss can be confident they won`t let him down.
The Dons momentum is building with every match and there is every reason to be optimistic that this season could be a very memorable one as the squad finally flexes it`s muscle.
Let`s just hope that Sone Aluko stays fit.