Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes says today’s match against St Mirren is just as important as next week’s encounter with Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic.
The Dons can draw level on points with Ronny Deila’s men with a victory against the Buddies at Pittodrie this afternoon to put pressure on the Hoops before they face Hamilton Accies tomorrow.
Next weekend’s meeting between the Dons and Celtic at Parkhead could prove to be a pivotal day in the title race but McInnes and his players are looking no further ahead than today’s match against a struggling St Mirren.
He said: “It is fine for other people to talk us up but all the professional people at the club, myself and the staff have to make sure we are ready for the next game which is St Mirren not Celtic.
“There will be enough said about that game next week but, for us, it is the same three points that are available against St Mirren. We have to try and win any game. If any of my players or anyone talks about the Celtic game then it shows a lack of respect and concentration for the game in hand.
“There has been no mention from us. The players are always geared on the next game and we are fully focused on Saturday.
“We are playing against a team where the three points are equally as important for them, albeit for different reasons, they are fighting for their lives.
“We have to make sure we get on top of them and win the game. No one is going to give it to us and we will need to fight for it and that is what we intend to do.
“We are in a good frame of mind and there is a lot of confidence among the players and squad. That helps us but doesn’t guarantee anything.”
St Mirren came from two goals down to earn a point against the Dons in their last match at Pittodrie in September but today manager Gary Teale is banned from the dugout as punishment for criticising referee Steven McLean after last month’s 2-1 defeat by Dundee.
McInnes added: “I am sure Gary will be confident his team can come here and get a result.
“St Mirren took a point off us last time out here. We dominated that game and that is a reminder to us that we have to see a game out for 90 minutes.
“They had a disappointing result last weekend but their results suggest they should maybe sitting a bit better than they currently are in the league. He has to find a way to get his team winning consistently.
“They are in their own battle along with Motherwell and Ross County. His challenge, like mine, is to try to get the three points.”