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Necessity of Aberdeen win at Celtic not lost on midfielder Dean Campbell

Aberdeen midfielder Dean Campbell.
Aberdeen midfielder Dean Campbell.

Dean Campbell played in Aberdeen’s last win at Celtic Park and while the situation this time is different, the necessity is the same.

The 1-0 win over Celtic in May 2018, which was the first home defeat of Brendan Rodgers’ tenure, also secured the Dons second place on the final day of the season.

A victory this time would provide some much-needed respite to an Aberdeen side in desperate need of form, as their push for European football has hit the skids.

“It will be a different atmosphere to that day, ” Campbell said. “We’ve not played at Celtic Park this season with no fans so it will be a different experience.

“We’ve just got to do the business on the pitch. It’s 11 v 11, and we’ve got to make sure our quality is on show and look to win the game. I think in a way that day we spoiled the party.

“We needed a result to finish second. We went down there with our own objectives in mind and weren’t really worried about what their occasion was. It turned out to be a fantastic occasion for us. There was a great celebration after with our fans.

“Every game in this league is tough but we believe we have a really good squad. We are really confident we can turn this run around and put in a good run towards the end of the season.

“Then look to achieve our goals which is to finish above Hibs and as high as we can in the table.”

The trip to Parkhead comes amid one of Aberdeen’s worst runs in recent years, with one win in nine games and no goals in their last five.

It has increased the pressure on manager Derek McInnes, however Campbell maintains the squad is sticking together to steer them through.

Dean Campbell and manager Aberdeen Derek McInnes.

“As a club we are sticking together at this tough time,” he said. “We don’t really listen to the noise from outside – we are just focused on turning this run around.

“We believe in each other and will help one another out to achieve that. We still have a lot to play for between now and the end of the season so the focus is on the games and trying to put a run together.

Campbell made his sixth start of the season in the weekend’s 0-0 draw with St Mirren, taking his tally to 52 for his hometown club.

Over the last 18 months, he has seen Craig Bryson and Funso Ojo come and go, as well as Dylan McGeouch and Ross McCrorie arrive to stock the Dons’ midfield.

The 19-year-old acknowledges he has had to be patient for his opportunity but does not get disheartened by the competition for places.

“I work hard behind the scenes and believe in my ability. I am confident I can have a positive impact on the team,” said Campbell.

Craig Bryson left Aberdeen last year.

“It has been about staying patient, waiting for my opportunities and when they do come taking them. I am confident when I get on the pitch I can help the team. I look to continue doing that as the season progresses.

“Players who have come in from other teams have proven they can play at a high level already. It is up to me to try to get up to that level and compete with them as much as I can.

“(I can) use them to push me on and use them to try to make me a better player which I have hopefully been able to do.”

With the strong impression McCrorie has made since arriving from Rangers and Lewis Ferguson’s continual development, the future of Aberdeen’s midfield looks bright.

“We have all been involved in numerous Scotland youth teams so there is potential there to build a partnership,” added Campbell.

“Obviously whatever team is picked to play Celtic will be ready to go.”

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