Barry Robson is not perturbed by the task facing second-placed Aberdeen as they attempt to overhaul Celtic between now and the end of the Premiership season. Tapping into his experience, the veteran midfielder does not believe a four-point gap, with ten games remaining, is unsurmountable.
The 37-year-old has been there and seen it all before and he has the medal to prove it. “When I was at Celtic, being nine points behind, we clawed it back. A lot of that was down to desire, work rate, mentality, fitness and it takes everything to be a top team. But, I think against Dundee United we showed all that. We work for each other, are well organised and we did well.
“We had a disappointing result on Saturday so to get the three points on Wednesday night to keep the pressure on was the most important thing. You knew it was going to be a hard game versus a team who are fighting for their lives. The pitches aren’t great at this stage of the season but I thought we played good percentage football and also had a threat. I think we deserved it in the end.”
The memories of overcoming the odds and the deficit to claim the title with Celtic on the final day of the 2007-08 season is a source of inspiration and comfort to Robson. He was a major influence in that title race, giving the Parkhead side added impetus following his January arrival. Despite the fact he has been used sparingly, featuring in five league games thus far, his experience and dressing-room guidance could be just as vital this term even if he maintains it is all about the squad. “I have enjoyed being here and watching the boys do well. I have trained hard and tried to push them along but it is not about me.”
He has seen enough to imbue him with the belief that Aberdeen are capable of becoming the first club outwith Celtic and Rangers to win the league since Aberdeen bettered them in 1984-85. The secret, he insists, will be replicating the attitude and application of the men he played with when he won that title. Robson said: “You just get your head down and win football matches. If you are tired then get through it and if you don’t feel you are playing well then work hard for the team-mate next to you. You got the ball back and gave it to somebody who is playing well – it was that simple. There was a massive expectation on Celtic at that time with the big budget and everything else.”
The Pittodrie club have had their opportunities to edge ahead of the defending champions and will rue an October which drew a winning blank. But for that blip in an impressive season, they would be comfortably ahead of Ronny Deila’s men. They slipped up again in recent matches, losing to Inverness Caledonian Thistle and then drawing with St Johnstone, denying them the opportunity to capitalise on Celtic’s slip-ups. But the respective results on Wednesday night have kept the Premiership title fight alive.
“There is a long, long way to go and we know the quality of Celtic. They have top, top players and we all know how they are budget-wise. But I do know we have a great spirit, a good group of players, who are fit, work hard for each other and do the best we can and will continue to do that to try and get as many results as we can between now and the end of the season.
“There are ten games left and I am not interested in looking at the league. We will just see how it goes. We have a big game against Partick Thistle [on Tuesday night] and we will see if we can get three points there.”