26 Aug Dons can challenge
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes admits the club cannot compete with Celtic’s spending power as it is – so is not worried now that they stand to become £30million richer.
The Hoops have landed a huge Champions League windfall after qualifying for the money-spinning group stages.
Brendan Rodgers has already forked out more than £4million since taking over this summer and is expected to be handed more money to strengthen his squad before they take on Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach in Europe’s top competition.
But McInnes reckons his side can still compete with the Scottish champions, despite the huge gulf in resources.
The Dons beat Celtic, under Ronny Deila, twice at Pittodrie last year and McInnes is looking to end a 12-year wait for victory in Glasgow’s east end on Saturday by proving money does not always talk.
McInnes said: “Celtic will still be on a high from qualifying and I think they deserve a lot of credit and congratulations. It’s great we’ve got a representative from Scotland in the Champions League.
“They have spent millions over the last couple of years. We’ve spent £175,000 on Kenny McLean.
“They have added good players already. Kolo Toure is experienced, Scott SInclair has definitely given then something new and I think they’ll sign another player for a few million pounds now they have the attraction of the Champions League.
“So we can’t really get caught up in how much Celtic and Rangers will spend.
“I think Celtic are stronger this season. They have got their confidence going and the club seems more behind the manager. That makes them a more difficult opponent.
“It’s a challenge, but we’ve shown we can beat them before and I feel if we can get it right tactically and be fully concentrated we can get a result.”
McInnes, though, will have to decide whether to risk skipper Ryan Jack at Celtic Park this weekend.
The midfielder has been complaining of swelling in his knee and is set to be operated on early next week.
The Reds manager said: ” We think it is cartilage damage, but we’re hoping (the recovery period) will be weeks rather than months.
“We’re quite confident it is only going to be weeks, but until the surgeon goes in and identifies what is wrong we won’t know. You can see a lot in the scans, but sometimes they can be misleading.
“However, it is clear there is work needing done there because his knee has been swelling up.
“Hopefully this will get to the bottom of it and we won’t be without him for too long.
“Ryan has started really well, as he has done in the last few seasons. Along with Graeme Shinnie, he’s been leading by example, so it is a blow.”
And McInnes admits he may have to look to bring in re-enforcements if Jack’s prognosis comes back as worst feared.
“If it’s a matter of weeks we might see if we can get by,” he said. “If it’s going to be longer then we would probably have to try to do something.
“But it’s easier said than done to try and bring players of the quality of Ryan Jack to your club.”