The seemingly decades-long debate as to whether Aberdeen raise their game against Rangers has been rumbling away since the Dons’ 6-0 mauling by Celtic before the international break.
Football pundit Kris Boyd dropped that old chestnut into his post-match criticism following the Celtic Park mauling.
The ex-Rangers and Kilmarnock striker said: “I’m sure Barry (Robson) will have absolutely no problem in getting them up for the next game, that’s for sure because Rangers are in town. Fact. It’s true.”
Boyd defended his position on Sunday, insisting at no point did he reference Celtic in his criticism.
But a battling 1-1 draw for the Dons against the Light Blues at Pittodrie did little to alter his view.
Is there a grain of truth to Boyd’s stance?
Boyd may feel he was vindicated following Sunday’s result at Pittodrie but his claim does not stand up to scrutiny.
Since winning promotion to the Premiership in 2016 Rangers have found life in the top flight of Scottish football has changed – and Aberdeen have nothing to do with it.
It should not come as a surprise to see Celtic on top given Rangers had to start all over again in the fourth tier of Scottish football before working their up to the top flight.
But seven years later, the Hoops remain the team to beat.
In the seven seasons which have passed, 21 domestic trophies have been contested. Celtic boast five treble-winning seasons and have taken a hugely impressive 17 of the trophies available.
Rangers have two, a tally matched by St Johnstone in their cup-double winning season of 2020-21.
Establishing that fact is fundamental to understanding why the Dons have found Celtic a tougher nut to crack than Rangers.
The facts do not lie
The truth is when it comes to the Glasgow teams one has been consistently better than the other.
You do not even have to trawl through all the results since both were reunited in the top flight to see it.
The last two games against them tells the story perfectly.
When Aberdeen were hammered in Glasgow earlier this month they were swept aside by a Celtic team which had 78% possession, mustered 21 shots on goal of which 10 were on target.
Fast forward to Sunday’s visit of Rangers to Pittodrie and the visitors had 69% possession and managed 22 attempts of which 10 were on target.
In response, Aberdeen had one on target from their three attempts in Glasgow yet hit the target four times from their five attempts at Pittodrie.
Celtic are simply better than Rangers
Clearly, the notion the Dons raise their game for one over the other is nonsense.
From the two most recent examples it is apparent that one side is far more adept at turning pressure into goals than the other.
Aberdeen were put under intense pressure by both teams in the last two games.
They struggled against the Hoops but they managed to withstand most of which Rangers could throw at them at Pittodrie.
You could point to fatigue from the trip to PAOK in the Conference League being a factor in the one-sided loss to Celtic too.
But a glance at the league table which shows Celtic eight points clear at the top and having won at Ibrox already this season as evidence they are simply the best if you’ll pardon the Tina Turner inspired pun.
Perhaps the real questions should be aimed at why Rangers are prone to dropping more points than their rivals.
After all, that seems to be happening on an annual basis and as much as Dons fans would love for their club to be the reason it’s simply not true.