Aberdeen assistant boss Tony Docherty insists the Dons have to respect Celtic’s threat – but they have enough quality to hurt the league champions.
Celtic have lost just once in 17 games, winning 15, and beat the Dons 4-0 at Pittodrie earlier this season.
Their 2-0 win over Hearts extended their lead to five points at the top of the Premiership. The Dons go to Parkhead chasing their first win over Celtic since May last year, when Andy Considine scored the only goal in Glasgow.
Docherty pinpointed the goal threat posed by Sam Cosgrove, with 19 goals to his name this season, as evidence Aberdeen can do Celtic harm this afternoon.
He said: “I think that is a clear message going into this game and realise you have to respect you opponent as Celtic can do that to you. You have to have real belief when you go to Celtic Park and get the balance right between attacking and defending.
“Any team that is going there as we are with a striker in the form Sam Cosgrove is in right now then they know we will carry a threat all over the pitch. The levels that Celtic and Rangers are playing at in European competition and winning shows you how well they playing.
“Of course that is down to the fact they have the investment to get the best players and be the best teams but this is a one-off game.”
Their first two games against the Old Firm this season ended in heavy defeats, with Rangers inflicting a 5-0 defeat on them at Ibrox. However, the Dons took heart from the manner of their comeback against the Gers when they met at Pittodrie earlier this month, coming from two goals down to take a point.
Docherty added: “We didn’t fold, we made sure we looked them in the eye, made sure we got the next goal and could have gone on to win it. That might have surprised a lot of people but it didn’t surprise me who were questioning us in that sort of situation.
“They (Celtic) scored with their first three chances at Pittodrie and that can really affect players on the day and goals change games. It’s difficult to come back from that but this group of players have done that recently coming back from two goals down to draw with Rangers.
“We want to be as close as possible to the two teams above us and we have another chance at Parkhead to put our mark on the game against a really good team.”