Former Aberdeen manager Craig Brown believes his successor Derek McInnes hasn’t received enough credit for establishing the Dons as the second force in Scottish football.
Despite operating under a vastly inferior budget to rivals Rangers, who visit Pittodrie on Sunday, the Dons are 12 points clear of the Ibrox side as they close in on a third consecutive runners-up finish.
No team in the division came close to preventing unbeaten Celtic from claiming a sixth consecutive championship title but Brown, who was in charge of the Dons from 2010 to 2013, has been heartened by the way the Dons have proven they are once again the best of the rest.
McInnes’ side will head into this weekend’s encounter with the Light Blues in terrific form having won 12 of their previous 14 league fixtures and 10 successive home matches at Pittodrie.
Pedro Caixinha’s Rangers have been held to draws by Motherwell and Kilmarnock on their most recent outings and look unlikely to challenge Aberdeen’s grip on second spot over the final seven games of the Scottish Premiership season.
Former Scotland manager Brown said: “You can’t praise Derek and his assistant Tony Docherty enough for the recent results.
“They have been exceptional.
“I read that if they had picked up the same ratio of points at the start of the season as they have in recent weeks they would have been only within a few points of Celtic.
“People need to remember the budgetary constraints that Aberdeen are operating under.
“Aberdeen’s budget is well short of Rangers’ playing budget but Aberdeen have continued to improve with Rangers in the league.
“This has been a tremendous period and having another cup semi-final to look forward to later this month is great.”
More than 19,000 tickets have already been snapped up for Sunday’s match against Rangers and Brown is encouraged by the feel-good factor that has enveloped the club.
He added: “The morale at the club is great and the goodwill in the town is tangible.
“It is great to see so much positivity at Pittodrie.
“You get a sense of what is going on at a football club when you play away from home and visit a stadium.
“It doesn’t take long to work out if the atmosphere is positive or negative and I don’t think anyone could doubt the atmosphere at Pittodrie is anything other than really upbeat.”