Niall McGinn: Aberdeen win would make title race interesting

Niall McGinn says Aberdeen are 'capable of beating Celtic'. Picture: SNS
Niall McGinn says Aberdeen are 'capable of beating Celtic'. Picture: SNS
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Games against the Old Firm have literally been a pointless experience for Aberdeen this season and Niall McGinn knows that dismal record must end at Pittodrie tomorrow if Derek McInnes’ side are going to contribute towards making the title race meaningful.

The Dons have so far surrendered all 15 points in the five meetings with the Glasgow pair while, despite last Saturday’s defeat at Hibs, they have still only dropped 14 points against the other nine teams in the Premiership.

It doesn’t take a degree in mathematics to see how much better placed they would be by now had they taken anything tangible from those three meetings with Rangers and two previous encounters with Celtic.

McGinn was otherwise occupied with his unsuccessful spell in South Korea for all bar the most recent defeat at Ibrox but still has painful memories from playing in seven of a now nine-match run of Aberdeen losses to his former employers at Parkhead.

The Northern Ireland international won’t make any rash predictions but the winger knows denying Celtic one sort of ten-in-a-row will at least ask more questions of Brendan Rodgers’ side.

“The next couple of weeks is going to dictate whether there’s going to be other teams close to that first place or not,” said McGinn. “If we win it probably will put a bit of pressure on them and on other teams around us.

“If we had taken points off the Old Firm teams it could have been more interesting than it is now. I wasn’t here when we lost a couple of games but last season was a special season for them.

“We managed to beat them the season before that so we are capable of beating Celtic
but we want to do it more often. The longer you go without beating them the more frustrating it gets.

“The boys have been very consistent in other matches but we want to beat Celtic and we want to beat Rangers. If that happens it could be very interesting. Hopefully we do that on Sunday.

“We just want to go out and get the result. We are due a performance against them and we are due a result.”

Celtic’s squad has so much depth that they were able to allow Ryan Christie to join Aberdeen on a season-long loan, although that means he can’t play against his parent club at a time when they are already without inspirational captain Graeme Shinnie through suspension.

McGinn admits it’s a double blow and said: “We have a strong squad but we’ve lost Shinnie who gets us going. He makes tackles when they are there to be made.

“He’s a top-class player and to lose him is tough. It’s the same with Ryan but we have players who can come in. We will be well organised, ready to defend well and take our chances when they come.”