Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has warned his players not to take Kilmarnock lightly, despite the Ayrshire side’s poor start to the season.
The Dons travel to Rugby Park tomorrow where both teams will be upbeat after ending three-game losing streaks.
Killie are in a period of transition following the departure of manager Steve Clarke to take the Scotland job at the end of last season.
New boss Angelo Alessio endured an unconvincing start to life at Rugby Park, falling at the first hurdle of the Europa League qualifiers against lowly Connah’s Quay Nomads.
Then there were league defeats against Rangers and Hamilton but Killie bounced back on Saturday with a 1-0 Betfred Cup win over Hamilton Accies.
McInnes says there is no chance his side will underestimate the team that pipped the Dons to third place last season.
He said: “The nucleus of that squad is still there.
“When any new manager comes in, whether he is from abroad or not, it is about trying to implement your ideas and getting them across to the team. There is no doubting there have been hints of similarities from last season’s style in recent weeks.”
Dons midfielder Craig Bryson hopes to make his third appearance for the Reds against his old club.
The three-times capped Scotland international spent four years at Kilmarnock before moving to Derby County in 2011.
It was reported Bryson, 32, was offered a pre-contract deal to move back to Killie in the summer with his Derby contract set to expire but the midfielder opted to join the Dons.
An ankle injury has impacted Bryson’s start to life at Pittodrie but he played more than an hour in Sunday’s 2-1 Betfred Cup win over Dundee before being replaced.
McInnes said: “He has had 65 minutes in Georgia (against Chikhura Sachkhere in the Europa League) and in the game on Sunday.
“He hasn’t had much game time over the last three or four months so we are going to have to keep trying to get the minutes into him until he gets his match fitness. We don’t expect him to be 100% at the minute.
“We are working towards that and having him back available is brilliant.
“We know what we are going to get from Craig this season and it was great to get him on the pitch.
“It was also great to take him off when we had planned without any injury concern. We work towards the next game now.”