Jim Goodwin believes Aberdeen’s hard-fought 1-0 victory over St Johnstone on Saturday proves that they are heading in the right direction.
The Dons picked up their first Premiership away win since last December courtesy of a stunning second half free-kick from on-loan Liverpool midfielder Leighton Clarkson.
The visitors had further chances to add to their lead as the game opened up but were wasteful with their finishing.
And after being beaten by the same scoreline in their last visit to Perth in May, manager Goodwin hopes the manner of the weekend’s victory is a sign that the Dons are a more formidable force this term.
Goodwin said: “We played with more tempo and it’s far more entertaining to watch.
“The last time we were here last season it was one of the worst games of football I’ve witnessed and it must have been dreadful for the punters.
“We’re not going to get it right every time but I thought Saturday was better than what it was last time and that’s the big thing for us.
“Do we look like a side that’s improving, do we look a better group than last season?
“I think that’s clear for everyone to see at the moment. It’s still a new team, we brought 11 new players in and it takes time to gel those guys together.”
Goodwin singled out two of those new players, full backs Jayden Richardson and Hayden Coulson, for their contribution against Saints.
Goodwin was particularly pleased for Richardson following a tough shift in the previous weekend’s loss to Motherwell.
He added: “There were so many good individual performances. Jayden Richardson came in for a bit of criticism last weekend with some of the goals we conceded but I thought his reaction was good.
“Hayden Coulson in the left-back area was fantastic. As a manager you hate singling individuals out but those two in-particular were pivotal to us keeping that clean sheet.
“Individually brilliant but collectively as a team I thought the group were outstanding.”
Saints manager Callum Davidson, meanwhile, insists there are doubts among his team whether the free-kick that led to the goal should have been awarded.
Graham Carey was penalised for a foul on Johnny Hayes 25 yards out and the midfielder was clearly annoyed by the decision from referee Craig Napier, who also booked five Saints players during the game.
Davidson added: “I’m not sure if there was any contact at their free-kick but Graham is adamant he didn’t touch him.
“We also picked up five bookings and as a result we had to make a lot of changes with so many people just one foul away from another card.”