Aberdeen defender Andy Considine feels the Dons have shown they are no longer a soft touch against the Old Firm in Glasgow.
The Reds face a quick turnaround following Sunday’s Betfred Cup final heartache against Celtic, with another crucial fixture against Rangers at Ibrox tomorrow. Steven Gerrard’s men took advantage of the Hoops being out of league action by defeating Hearts 2-1 to go top of the Premiership.
Following Sunday’s defeat, Dons manager Derek McInnes made reference to his side’s recent record which has seen them win three of their last eight fixtures in Glasgow, and Considine feels his side have gone a long way to answering criticism of their performance on the big stage.
Considine said: “Aberdeen Football Club has always been branded a bit soft over the years. We’ve got some tough boys though, boys who can handle themselves.
“The positive in the final was that as a team, I felt we were solid and especially in midfield. I thought we almost won that midfield battle, if not won it.
“We won first balls, second balls and turned it over. We got in between their midfield and defence and attacked them, it was just that final bit.
“The past two or three years we’ve got closer and closer to the Old Firm. We’ve come to Glasgow and beaten them and when they come to Pittodrie we’ve beaten them there too.
“When we lose games like that it hurts – more than it used to.
“We are within touching distance. Yes, Celtic are up there, but as a team I feel we are very close compared to years gone by.
“When we went toe-to-toe with them it took one lapse in concentration to lose a goal, but I felt as a team we reduced them to very little.”
Considine feels tomorrow’s encounter against the Gers, who Aberdeen defeated 1-0 in October’s Betfred Cup semi-final, provides the Dons with the ideal opportunity to bounce back.
The 31-year-old added: “It’s one place we would want to go and put it right. The fans were fantastic at the final, they sang all game. They came down in serious numbers, and they deserve a result on Wednesday.
“We will pick ourselves up.”
McInnes gave youth its chance to impress at Hampden Park, handing teenager Lewis Ferguson a start, while Connor McLennan and Bruce Anderson were both brought on as substitutes.
Considine, who was handed his Dons debut at the age of 17 under Steve Paterson in 2004, feels the Reds’ youngsters have what it takes to play a key role in McInnes’ side in the years to come, adding: “I feel young boys these days have no fear.
“Young Connor went out there and just attacked – he was outstanding when he came on. He has just signed a new deal which is fantastic.
“There are not many attackers who go past Mikael Lustig the way he did – he’s a World Cup player.
“Connor is a very good player and he’s got no fear. We’ve got a very good group of young boys at the moment, with Connor, Scott Wright and Frank Ross, who unfortunately is injured for months.
“If we can get them all fit it would be great for us.”