ABERDEEN manager Derek McInnes insists his side go to Celtic Park this afternoon with justifiable belief they can beat the Scottish champions.
Aberdeen have suffered 16 consecutive league defeats at Parkhead, although they did enjoy Scottish Cup success in the east end of Glasgow in 2008. The Dons also saw their recent four-match winning streak come to an end with a 3-1 home defeat by Scottish Premiership bottom club Hearts.
But McInnes believes there were many positives to take from the game, with Aberdeen one up when Barry Robson was sent off. And he feels justified in believing that his players can supplement their recent improvement with a long overdue victory at Celtic Park against Neil Lennon’s unbeaten league leaders.
The former St Johnstone manager said: “It is difficult. I have been there as a player and manager and won but more often than not I have lost games there. The players will be the same but we can win the game and we have to make sure we have that mindset going into the game. Celtic have shown a level of consistency. Neil has brought in some new players but they still have that familiarity. They are always difficult to beat, especially at Parkhead, but it’s the type of game that myself and the players will look forward to.
“The support will be there in good numbers believing in the team. The staff believe in the team, myself included. We believe we can go there and get a result. That’s not being naive, I think we have a confidence that when we are right and playing to the best of our ability, we can cause teams problems.”
Robson is suspended while his former Celtic team-mate, Willo Flood, also misses out after suffering his second torn hamstring of the season against Hearts. McInnes said: “Celtic are as tough an opponent as can be, but it’s a team we believe we can do well against. Despite having a few players missing, I believe we have a team that can go down to Parkhead and win. But we will have to play extremely well. We will have to go into the game, not hoping Celtic don’t turn up, but believe that Celtic are going to be ready to play against us as well.”
McInnes takes consolation from the way his side coped earlier in the season without both Flood and Robson, saying: “We have been without both players for chunks of the season as well. We actually had a really good September without Willo and Barry in the team.”