Pittodrie legend Dougie Bell insists there should be no panic over Aberdeen’s bid to finish third in the Premiership again this season.
The Dons delivered a third-placed finish last term to secure European group stage action and a Uefa cash boost of around £5 million.
Aberdeen’s then board bankrolled a summer signing spree with 13 new additions in a bid to land a return to the group stage of Europe again next season
But the Dons are currently languishing ninth in the Premiership table – just two points ahead of bottom club Livingston.
Aberdeen are, however, just seven points behind third-placed St Mirren and hold a game in hand over the Paisley club.
Gothenburg Great Bell reckons the rebuilt Dons can finish third as they are capable of beating any team in the top flight – apart from Celtic.
The Dons crashed to heavy 6-0 loss to the Hoops at Parkhead before the international break.
In the last 36 games at Parkhead, Aberdeen have won just once, with 34 losses and one draw.
The ex-midfielder reckons Aberdeen must get over their Celtic hoodoo and begin to “have a go” against the Premiership champions.
Aberdeen return to action with a league clash against Rangers at Pittodrie on Sunday.
Bell, 64,said: “Aberdeen still have a real chance of finishing third as they are capable of beating all the teams, apart from Celtic.
“They seem to be worried about Celtic and don’t have a go.
“Aberdeen just need to find that consistency in the league because they have done okay in Europe and are in the Viaplay Cup final (against Rangers, December 17).
“Aberdeen are good one week and poor the next in the Premiership.
“There is no real consistency and they have to find that and start winning a few games back-to-back in the league.”
‘Under Fergie we went to Parkhead thinking we would beat Celtic’
Aberdeen went into the international break on a low-point having suffered the heavy loss to Celtic.
That chastening defeat came less than 72 hours after a strong performance when drawing 2-2 with Group G leaders PAOK in the Europa Conference League in Greece.
Aberdeen have struggled to balance European action with domestic commitments this season, despite the expensive summer rebuild.
Of the six Premiership games on a Sunday immediately following a Thursday Euro fixture, the Dons have won just once, drawing one and losing four.
Bell said: “It suits Celtic if you just sit back and let them come on to you.
“When Fergie (Sir Alex Ferguson) was manger it was different because we went down to Parkhead thinking we would beat Celtic.
“Aberdeen were very poor against Celtic.”
Miovski will attract signing interest – Bell
During a trophy-laden time at Pittodrie under Sir Alex Ferguson, Bell won every domestic honour, as well as the European Super Cup.
He played a key role in the Dons’ run to the European Cup Winners’ Cup final where they beat Real Madrid in 1983.
Bell missed the final in Gothenburg due to an ankle injury – but was finally awarded a European Cup Winners’ Cup medal in May this year.
Legend Bell believes Aberdeen would be struggling without the firepower of striker Bojan Miovski, a £535,000 signing from Hungarian club MTK Budapest in summer 2022.
Bell fears Miovski’s scoring form will attract interest from other clubs and prompt a bid to sign the striker in future transfer windows.
English Championship Southampton were monitoring the striker last season
Italian Serie A club Lazio reportedly considered moving for Miovski in the January 2023 transfer window.
Bologna and Spezia, also of the Italian top flight, had Miovski on their radar as did French outfit Stade de Reims.
The 23-year-old is contracted to the Dons until the end of the 2025/26 season.
Striker Miovski has already scored 10 goals in all competitions this season.
North Macedonian international Miovski netted the vital goal for 10-man Aberdeen in the 1-0 Viaplay Cup semi-final defeat of Hibs.
Bell said: “I really like Miovski, he is a good finisher.
“If Aberdeen didn’t have him, they would be struggling.
“If Miovski keeps scoring goals, clubs will start to look at him because he is so sharp.
“He is away with North Macedonia to play against Italy and England (Euro 2024 qualifiers) and those games will put him in the spotlight even more.”
Bell impressed by another Dons summer signing
Bell – who recently revealed he underwent heart bypass surgery last month and is now on the road to recovery – has also been impressed with summer signing Jamie McGrath, who joined the Dons on a two-year deal following his exit from Wigan Athletic.
McGrath missed the 6-0 loss at Celtic due to a hamstring injury suffered in the draw with PAOK in Greece, where he scored a sensational free-kick.
McGrath then came off the bench in the 55th minute of a 1-0 Eur0 2024 qualifier defeat to Netherlands in Amsterdam on Saturday.
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Bell said: “McGrath is a good player – I have been impressed with him this season.
“(Right-back) Nicky Devlin has also done really well going forward.
“In the last few games I have seen, (left-sided defender) Jack MacKenzie has also done okay.”