Aberdeen V Celtic at Pittodrie Stadium : Match Preview

16 November 2012 07:01
Aberdeen V Celtic - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Dark days over for Langfield

Aberdeen goalkeeper Jamie Langfield could not be happier with his team challenging at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and his health scare fully behind him.

Langfield was this week given the all-clear from doctors 18 months after suffering a brain seizure, which kept him out of the first team for the majority of last season.

The 32-year-old has been an ever-present this season and could celebrate his news by helping Aberdeen go top of the SPL if they beat Celtic at Pittodrie.

"It was a massive relief off my shoulders," Langfield said.

"I am so happy the worry has finally gone. It is a good thing for my family as well.

"The support I have had from the fans has been amazing. I had a lot of good luck messages from fans throughout Scotland, but the Aberdeen fans have been brilliant and I cannot thank them enough.

"Their messages got me through some dark times. I am just glad I have got through it."

Langfield believes his ordeal has furnished him with a more relaxed approach to football.

"I don't look to the future as much now," he said. "I take every game as it comes.

"I am really enjoying my football. I am really enjoying being at the club. We have a great bunch of lads in the dressing room. Coming into work every day is very enjoyable."

Aberdeen could be without five experienced players for the match

Stephen Hughes, Ryan Jack and Gary Naysmith are still out and Rob Milsom is facing another knee operation.

Midfielder Gavin Rae is also struggling to overcome a knock but winger Ryan Fraser is expected to shake off a minor injury.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has clear memories of the Aberdeen glory days - some fond and some painful - and is relishing a top-of-the-table clash at Pittodrie.

Lennon's team travel to the Granite City one point above Craig Brown's men, who have only lost once in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League since their late 1-0 defeat at Parkhead on the opening day.

Lennon grew up in an era when Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen dominated Scottish football.

"Obviously I remember that great Aberdeen team, and the highlight was the Cup Winners' Cup final against Real Madrid," the former Northern Ireland international said.

"I remember sitting in the house as a boy watching it and jumping up and down because it was a Scottish team that were doing it."

After the collapse of Rangers, Celtic were generally expected to surge well ahead in the title race but they have faced a challenge at home from Aberdeen and Hibs, teams who have struggled in recent years, while exceeding expectations in the Champions League.

"I think it's very healthy for Aberdeen," Lennon said. "I'm sure there will be a really good crowd. They have recruited well in the summer.

"Craig's very shrewd and obviously with Archie [Knox, Brown's assistant] there they have great experience in the background. And they have been pretty consistent this season, which is something you can't throw at Aberdeen over the last few seasons.

"It will be a good atmosphere, you'll have two big clubs in Scotland going at it and we'll not be thinking about Benfica until two o'clock tomorrow afternoon.

"It's an important game for us. Our league form recently hasn't been great. It's not a major concern for me but it's a game where we can set a marker down."

Lennon had prepared a response to those criticising his side's SPL form, which has seen them pick up two points from three games and often struggle around the European fixtures.

"There are people casting aspersions and saying we are being complacent because there is no Rangers," he said.

"For some players tomorrow will be the 30th game of the season already in competitive games and internationals.

"I have done a bit of research. In Germany, Borussia Dortmund are 11 points behind, Ajax are nine points behind, Real Madrid are eight points behind.

"A lot of teams are struggling to compete in both. AC Milan are 17 points behind, Malaga and Valencia are double figures, Montpellier, the champions of France, double figures, Arsenal 11 points.

"We are two points behind with a game in hand. There are a lot of other clubs who aren't top of their respective leagues so we are there or thereabouts so that's why I don't think there should be too much negativity being thrown at us.

"We are not doing too badly considering the workload we have had."

Source: PA