Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes wants to see his players’ mean streak when Celtic visit Pittodrie tomorrow.
The memories of a 4-0 home loss to the Hoops in September have not faded despite a much improved display in the 2-1 defeat at Celtic Park at December and the Dons boss is clear on what he wants from his side tomorrow (12.0).
He said: “I felt as frustrated as I have been that day. We were too passive, nice, too respectful and too timid if I was being honest.
“We were spooked by Celtic’s movement. Celtic were good and clinical but I expected us to be better. It has been better since then.
“We have played the Old Firm, two draws against Rangers, we have played against some very good players and been far more competitive.
“We have defended our lines a lot more and defended with a lot more aggression.
“It because it was the last game against them at home and it is a reminder of their capabilities if we allow that to happen.
“For us, we have to make sure that isn’t how the game plays out and it has to be far more like that last game at Parkhead and the two games against Rangers.”
In the Dons boss’ defence, his midfield options were limited drastically for the last meeting of the teams at Pittodrie with an injury crisis forcing him to field Zak Vyner and Greg Leigh in midfield.
But with Lewis Ferguson, Funso OJo, Dylan McGeouch and Craig Bryson all available tomorrow McInnes is not lacking in options.
He said: “I now feel we have a proper midfield, whether it is Ojo, Ferguson, McGeouch, Dean Campbell or Bryson – I feel they know how to play the role and there is a real protection of the back lot.
“That has also helped us in reducing the chances opposition teams have. We will certainly be tested tomorrow because Celtic will come on to us and ask the question.”
The Hoops have pulled 10 points clear of nearest challengers Rangers at the top of the table and 29 points clear of the third-placed Dons but McInnes remains confident his side can produce a match-winning display tomorrow.
He said: “Rangers and Celtic’s results in Europe this season show that they are serious forces beating a lot of good teams.
“Domestically that can make it tough for any team to challenge them domestically but I still believe there is a 90 minute performance in us and other teams to get the job done.
“You obviously need things to go your way in the game as you have to make sure your own game is as competitive as it can be.
“But I think there is a performance in us that can beat Celtic and it is important that we show that against them on Sunday.”