Jonny Hayes is hoping underdog status can help Aberdeen in their bid revive their Ladbrokes Premiership title hopes against Celtic at Parkhead today.
The 28-year-old midfielder was sent off when the Hoops visited Pittodrie on 12 September, but the Dons battled to a 2-1 win which put them ahead of the champions and top of the table.
A 1-0 home win over Hamilton days later extended the lead over Ronny Deila’s side to five points, but, in their recent and dramatic slump in form, Derek McInnes’ side have gone five games without a win – four in the league – and are now four points behind.
Hayes, though, is not too concerned about the Parkhead side being firm favourites to move further ahead as they aim for a fifth straight title.
“Every team in the league that goes to Celtic is the underdog,” he said. “It is down to Celtic’s success over the last number of years.
“Going there as an underdog can maybe suit us. Celtic are obviously expected to win in front of their own fans. So, if we can upset that, we will be happy.
“It is a chance for us to get back on track and if we can take maximum points it can make the top of the league a bit more congested again.”
Hayes admits that only the same level of performance as the one produced against Celtic in their last meeting will do if Aberdeen wish to reduce the gap.
He said: “We know that was us at the top of our game and if we are going to win we will have to reproduce a performance like that.
“It is by no means an easy task. It is the hardest league game of the campaign, but we are well aware of the challenge that awaits us and we are looking forward to it.
“We will have a great support following us down as usual. They create their own atmosphere and so it has all the makings of a big game and as a footballer that is what you look forward to.
“You want to go there and play well. But the three points are the most important thing.”