How realistic is Aberdeen’s title challenge? To answer the question posed in one word – very.
We are not talking about a flash in the pan here. We are not in October when bright starts spark unrealistic talk of what could be on the cards. Where we are is the end of January, with the tape lifted on the sprint towards the finishing post.
With Aberdeen still very much in the picture, with Scottish football betting placing them at 8/1 to take the crown, why should they be written off with several hurdles still to be negotiated?
More than 20 years have passed since the Dons were allowing themselves to get this excited, and 30 have been consigned to the history books since they last landed Scottish football’s biggest prize.
Maybe, though, just maybe, the class of 2015 are capable of emulating the achievements of Sir Alex Ferguson’s legendary troops of the mid-1980s.
In many ways, success in the modern era would be even more notable than it was back then.
Rangers may have suffered a humbling fall from grace, which has them making more headlines for events off the field than on it, but their fierce Glasgow rivals are still very much a force to be reckoned with.
Celtic have secured back-to-back titles since the Gers drifted off the radar, with little resistance offered by those playing catch-up.
That is not the case this season and those at Parkhead are aware that plucky upstarts from Pittodrie are breathing down their neck. Aberdeen would like nothing more than to knock them from their perch.
The Dons have become serious contenders and the attributes possessed by any successful side are being showcased on a regular basis.
Derek McInnes’ team are unbeaten in Scottish Premiership competition since November 9, with nine games taken in since then.
Only three goals have been conceded during that run, and all of those arrived in the same game – a game Aberdeen trailed by two just three minutes from time only to stage a dramatic fight back and snatch a share of the spoils off Dundee.
Eight straight clean sheets inspired by goalkeeper Scott Brown is a remarkable achievement for any side, at any level, so for the Dons to have found such form when it matters most suggests they are not about to be swatted aside by the big boys.
If there is one area of concern, it is the fact that no points have been taken off Celtic this season. Two fixtures to date have delivered two 2-1 defeats.
They have one more shot at the Bhoys, and that could be crucial.
If they can remain within touching by the time they visit Glasgow on March 1, an epic encounter could be on the cards.
Potential distractions have been avoided by new contracts and extended stays for important figures and McInnes is eager to ensure that focus remains locked on the present.
If he succeeds in that task, keeps things simple, tight at the back and adventurous going forward, there is every reason to believe that he can succeed where 11 before him have failed. He can guide the Dons out of Fergie’s shadow and into a category of legends all of their own.