Derek McInnes: Aberdeen ready for Celtic clash

Derek McInnes: A lot to be pleased about. Picture: SNS

Derek McInnes: A lot to be pleased about. Picture: SNS

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ABERDEEN manager Derek McInnes believes his side are in the best possible shape to take the title fight to Celtic in the encounter between the pair in Glasgow next Sunday. He believes it “shouldn’t be ignored” that the resounding 3-0 defeat over St Mirren at home yesterday made for a 4-0, a 3-0 and a 3-0 from their past three Premiership games that have followed on from the League Cup semi-final defeat against Dundee United.

Aberdeen have racked up 11 victories and 11 clean sheets across the 13-game unbeaten league run that has allowed them to draw level on points with Ronny Deila’s men, who will restore a three-point gap if they beat Hamilton at Celtic Park this lunchtime.

McInnes maintained Aberdeen have been “getting stronger” in the three months since Celtic inflicted the Pittodrie club’s last league defeat and praised his side’s professionalism in easing past St Mirren. “I am pleased with today because there’s been a lot of talk about the game next week, understandably, and it would have been easy for us to take our eye off the ball but the players were very professional and got the job done and now we can look forward to the game,” he said. “Ash Taylor and Nicky Low will come back this week, so the squad is getting stronger and the performance levels are getting better. There’s a lot to be pleased about and we just want to continue this run we are on.

“I said in January that I still want us to be in and about the top in February, we are now into March next week, when the game starts we will still be at the very least three points behind. The win today was important, it is another game chalked off. Our season now becomes 12 games and our challenge is to win as many as possible, regardless of who it is.”

St Mirren boss Gary Teale, meanwhile, was forced to contemplate the downward trajectory of his team. The Paisley club have slipped into 11th position as one of three teams on 18 points, with St Mirren sandwiched between Ross County and bottom-ranked Motherwell. “We were not expecting anything coming up here,” he said. “Basically it is a three-way fight and I’m concentrating on that. We need 11 decent performances from here on.”

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