It's a funny old thing. One of football's great mysteries. "A striker scoring goals is a lot happier and feels a like a lot better player than a striker that's not scoring," said Scott Vernon, wisely, although probably not shedding any light on the eldritch perplexity.
But if anyone should be able to, it would be the Aberdeen striker. Vernon looked a player shorn of certainty in his first appearance of this season, a 2-1 defeat to Hearts in August. The Englishman scored 28 times in his first two seasons at Pittodrie, but the goals alarmingly dried up last term, during a bitter 10-month spell in which he could only muster two successful strikes.
But a barnstorming cameo - in which he came off the bench to score the winner against high-flying Inverness last month - was followed by a hat trick against Falkirk in the League Cup. Vernon is feeling something like his old self again.
"It's good for my confidence," he admitted. "Early on in the season I wasn't playing as much as I would have liked. I managed to get a chance, do the business and get a few goals. I'm not looking to rest on my laurels, I want to kick on."
The transformation from out of touch klutz to marksman in form can come quickly. "It's that fine line of getting a goal or two and then all of a sudden you are in a totally different mindset and feel like a different player," he said. "It [being a striker] is a confidence position. If you go a few games without scoring all of a sudden the pressure is on."
Aberdeen sit a point above Dundee United, fourth in the SPFL Premiership table, and Vernon admits the visit of their East coast rivals will be a big test of their promising early-season progress.
"Dundee United have been up there the last few seasons making the top six," he said. "They have proven time and time again they can do it. It's a big aim of ourselves to be up there. If we can kick on from here and turn those niggly performances where we are not playing so well and losing into maybe getting a draw and nicking a win, we feel we can definitely do it."
Jackie McNamara, the visiting manager, seems content for his side to just keep on keeping on, unbeaten as they are since before the close of the transfer window. "The lads are in good spirits," he said. "I've been happy with how things have been going in the past few weeks and it's a case of trying to maintain those standards when we go to Aberdeen."
McNamara's side have been praised recently for their attacking style of football, acclaim that he hopes will continue to be bestowed long into the season. His young, fearless starlets have caught the eyes of bigger clubs, but it is the manager's willingness to let them express themselves which has permitted the plaudits.
"We're better suited to getting the ball down and playing football," he said. "We've got players who like to play to their strengths and that's getting forward and trying to attack the opposition."
John Souttar and Ryan Gauld were with the Scotland Under-19 squad in midweek, and both played a part in three matches in five days.McNamara will assess their fitness today, and he hopes winger Gary Mackay-Steven will be also be fit after injuring his leg in training.
Barry Robson, who has been sidelined with a knee problem since the opening day of the season, could make his long-awaited return for Aberdeen.