Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes Celtic’s sliding season must give his players added belief they can win the Premiership title.
The Dons have closed the gap at the top of the table to four points after defeating Dundee United 1-0 midweek.
Celtic, hoping for a fifth consecutive title, have stuttered after being held to consecutive draws by Dundee and Hamilton Accies – and the manner of the performances has been greeted with dismay by the Parkhead club’s increasingly-frustrated support.
McInnes, whose side can cut the gap to a point by beating Partick Thistle at Firhill on Tuesday, reckons Celtic’s recent lapses have given his players added motivation in their title quest.
He said: “We have got 10 games to go and we are really looking forward to the next challenge ahead of us.
“I think we can run it close.
“Some of the results Celtic have had lately have given everybody encouragement.
“We feel we have to concentrate on ourselves, because nobody gives us anything.
“We have to work hard for anything we will get. We will continue to do that, try to win games and see where we go.
“Celtic have had a couple of surprising results recently and that has given us encouragement.”
McInnes believes Celtic, who also have superior goal difference, remain in the driving seat, and said: “With 10 games to go we are in a decent position.
“But it is still Celtic’s title to lose.
“But the way they have been recently, they have not been convincing with their work so we have to keep being convincing with our work by continuing to win games.”
The Dons have offered goalkeeper Danny Rogers a new contract.
The 21-year-old Irishman, who has spent this season on loan at Championship club Falkirk, has kept 11 clean sheets in 27 league matches.
Rogers’ deal expires at the end of the season but the Dons are keen to prolong his stay at Pittodrie.