Aberdeen showed real resilience to beat a good Kilmarnock side 2-1 this afternoon in the heat at Rugby Park.
These two sides should have been meeting at Hampden Park around this time last year in the SFA Youth Cup final. Sadly, the game has never been re-arranged.
So instead, the teams did battle in the Club Academy Scotland U18 mini-league. An opening day defeat to Hearts was followed by an away loss to Celtic for the young Dons. But Barry Robson's side impressed on Tuesday night at Cormack Park against Hamilton Accies, winning 3-0.
It was a really young side that travelled down to Ayrshire this afternoon due to injuries and a number of the players sitting exams at school. This plus the fact Calvin Ramsey, Tom Ritchie, Ryan Duncan are involved with the first team and Kevin Hanratty is on loan at Cove Rangers.
And on a very warm afternoon they got off to a bad start when Kilmarnock's Steven Warnock opened the scoring on 20 minutes after winning a penalty for the home side. He had been taken down by Buchan before beating Oluyemi with his spot kick.
Aberdeen then equalised on the half hour mark through Jack Milne when he met a corner and headed the ball off the bar. Milne was quickest to react to the rebound and tucked the ball home.
Eight minutes later and Aberdeen had the lead. Michael Dangana produced a brilliant individual goal. He showed good strength to hold off his man, before producing great feet to turn in the box and then fire a shot into the net.
Half time: Kilmarnock 1 Aberdeen 2
The visitors had a couple more chances to add to their lead either side of half time, but the game was to change dramatically when right back Corey Gerrard was sent off before the hour mark when he received a second yellow card.
Despite going down to ten men, it was the Dons who threatened next.
And it was a moment of controversy. Dangana brilliantly burst through on goal. The striker was taken out by the last defender but to his credit Michael stayed on his feet and got a shot away which has hit the inside of the post and came back out. After playing the advantage, Aberdeen was expecting the award of a penalty and for the referee to produce a red card. Instead, the officials have allowed the game to continue.
After that it was backs to the walls stuff.
The visitors had to defend eight or nine corners as Kilmarnock pushed hard for an equaliser. Blessing Oluyemi in goal produced some excellent saves and the defenders had to make a number of vital blocks but Aberdeen to their credit stood up really well to the pressure.
This was a really good win. The character and work rate shown by the youngsters will have delighted coaches Barry Robson, Scott Anderson and Tomas Cerny.
Next up in the mini-league, Aberdeen travel to play Hibs on Tuesday evening and then are at home to St Mirren next Friday afternoon.