Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes insists his side will be ready to take on Celtic tomorrow – after fluffing their lines against rivals Rangers on the opening day.
The Dons prepare for their second game against the Old Firm this season and both have been at Pittodrie.
On the opening day Aberdeen turned in a below-par display to go down 1-0 against Rangers. But since then they have lost just once in the league – a 3-0 defeat against Motherwell – and have strung together a consistent run of results.
Following Tuesday’s night victory over Hamilton Accies, they are up to third and just a win behind the Hoops, with the chance to draw level on points with them tomorrow afternoon.
While McInnes is taking some pride in his team’s current run of form, he knows how much has to go right for them to record a first league win over Celtic since May 2018.
He said: “We’re judged against the Old Firm and have been for a while. It’s clear they’ve got many advantages over us but what we want to make sure, when they come to Aberdeen, is we give them a tough game. We felt as though we fluffed our lines in the first game of the season – we didn’t look ready. When you play against the better teams in this league, you have to do so much right.
“I think we’ve always been a team that, over the years, has had good spells throughout a season. We’ve always got a decent amount of points in the league, we’ve always been a decent cup team, and we want that to continue and obviously we’ve got that game next week.
“For us, it’s about trying to give as much encouragement to our forward players, and keep working on the defensive responsibility of the team. I do think the way the team has been since the start of the season is far closer to the team I want to watch and want us to be, as opposed to last season where it really was a struggle at times to find a way.”
McInnes, however, does not buy into any talk of Celtic being on a downward trend.
They lost 2-0 to Rangers at Parkhead and suffered a number of absentees, with Odsonne Edouard, Ryan Christie, Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed all sitting out.
Neil Lennon’s side were beaten 3-1 at home by AC Milan on Thursday night in the Europa League, before heading to Pittodrie.
McInnes added: “I look at Celtic and see the amount of talent they’ve got at their disposal. They’ve not been the only team that’s suffered from injuries and Covid related issues. Any team has to overcome that and if you lose a lot of key players, that can have a bearing on proceedings.
“I look at the players they have and we could face on Sunday, they’re good players. Guys who have been over the course for a number of years. They’ve had a tough time of it in the last couple of weeks, but sometimes that happens in football. You don’t always get it easy.”