24 Feb Derek McInnes urges Aberdeen to dare to dream against Celtic
Derek McInnes wants his Aberdeen players to dare to dream as they look to grab their first win in 10 attempts against Celtic.
The Dons have not beaten Celtic since Ronny Deila’s Hoops were toppled at Pittodrie back in February 2016.
The Ladbrokes Premiership leaders return to the Granite City on Sunday but McInnes wants his men to stride out believing they can become the latest side to upset Brendan Rodgers’ men.
Aberdeen were beaten at Hibernian last week but McInnes is confident that 2-0 defeat has been forgotten about.
“It will be a test of character as Celtic test you more than any other team,” he said.
“But I think it’s important we have a strength, a confidence, an attitude that shows we expect to get something from the game.
“You need to go on the pitch believing that will be the case.
“Last week’s second-half performance was a surprise to myself and in complete contrast to what we’ve been getting of late.
“I think the players we have here are always keen to win, always keen to perform and I think they recognise we let our standards drop a wee bit last week.
“But now we’re ready to get back to winning ways, hopefully.”
Celtic are also looking to respond after seeing their Europa League ambitions ended by Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday, losing 3-1 on aggregate in the last-32 after a 3-0 defeat in Russia on Thursday.
“Brendan sets his team up perfectly well at Parkhead and gets a brilliant result in the first leg,” McInnes added.
“But the manager can’t then be responsible for a free header in the box or his goalkeeper not doing better at the second goal.
“The dynamic of the game changed totally with those two goals.
“Zenit are a classic counter-attacking team and they could then be the team they wanted to be because they were gifted two goals.
“So you can over-analyse a performance too much. Celtic had 60-odd per cent of the possession and were totally dominant of the ball.
“They probably just didn’t have that cutting edge that they normally have.”
Winger Niall McGinn says his old side have dropped a level on last term’s ‘Invincibles’ campaign.
“There have been a few performances this season where they have dropped points,” McGinn said.
“They haven’t been as consistent as last season.
“But we know they have a squad of very good players and they can rotate when they want to.
“We know if we turn up and give a good account of ourselves, get a bit of luck and Celtic have a bit of an off day, we’re definitely capable of winning.”