Aberdeen V Celtic at Pittodrie Stadium : Match Preview

24 February 2014 05:01
Aberdeen V Celtic - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

McInnes: We don't fear Celtic

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes insists his side do not fear a Celtic backlash after wrecking their ambitions of a domestic double.

The Dons face the runaway Scottish Premiership leaders for the first time since knocking them out of the William Hill Scottish Cup two-and-a-half weeks ago.

Celtic have responded to that shock 2-1 defeat in Glasgow by redoubling their defensive efforts and helping keeper Fraser Forster post a new Scottish league record for clean-sheets of 1,215 minutes.

But McInnes says Aberdeen are high on confidence despite slipping to a 3-1 defeat against Partick at the weekend and are ready for whatever Celtic have to throw at them.

Speaking before Tuesday's Pittodrie clash, he told RedsTV: "It's the perfect game for us. Any time Celtic come to town it's always eagerly anticipated and it's a good challenge for us.

"Celtic deserve huge credit for their league form this season. Fraser Forster's record is something he should be really proud of. I think that says a lot about the team rather than just the individual as well.

"They are quite a formidable opponent but it's a game that as a player, a manager or a supporter, you are always looking forward to.

"I think we should go into the game looking forward to it and I think we should go into the game with confidence, certainly based on our performances against Celtic this season. The games have all been tight and winning the game a couple of weeks ago was a great boost for us in terms of our confidence and our belief going into the game for the players."

The Dons were surprise losers at Firhill as the Jags claimed their first home league victory since winning promotion back to the top flight.

But McInnes hopes the Granite City support will cheer his team on to another win over the Hoops.

"It's great to be back at Pittodrie, we've been on the road for a while now and it's good for the players to be back here," he said.

"I think the home support will be glad to see the team back and playing. If we put in the performance that we are capable of there is no question that we can go and try and get a positive result."

McInnes admits defender Shaleum Logan remains a doubt for the clash with the groin strain which kept him out at the weekend.

Celtic's Stefan Johansen is racing against time to be fit after sustaining an ankle knock against Hearts on Saturday.

Leigh Griffiths has a slight calf strain but should face the Dons at Pittodrie, however the journey north has come too soon for Emilio Izaguirre and James Forrest, who are back training after recovering from knocks.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon has warned that Griffiths will only get better after opening his Hoops account.

The former Hibernian striker returned to Tynecastle for the first time since completing his B#1million move from Wolves on Saturday to net his opening Celtic goal against old foes Hearts.

Griffiths struck 28 goals during his final season at Easter Road last year as he claimed both the Clydesdale Bank and Scottish Football Writers' player of the year awards.

But Lennon believes the 23-year-old Scotland cap is ready to click up another notch.

"He's settled in fine," said the Parkhead manager. "Getting the goal will have given him a huge psychological lift.

"He has been brought here to score goals and there is an expectation on him now. He's playing for the biggest club he's had in his career now but he's adapted to it very well and the players around him have made the transition easier for him.

"It will be a weight off his shoulders to get that goal so early in his time here. He's a goalscorer and if you look at his finish, it was a typical Leigh Griffiths finish.

"He strikes the ball with so little back-lift but with a lot of power and unerring accuracy. We like his movement and his intelligence and I think there is more to come from him."

Celtic travel to Aberdeen on Tuesday but Lennon insists the Bhoys do not have vengeance on their mind following their shock Scottish Cup defeat by the Dons.

"Revenge is a bit too strong a word really," said the Northern Irishman. "It's just a case of us maintaining our focus away from home."

Source: PA

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