Sport Soccer

Thursday 19 September 2019

Bhoys keep focus on Dons test as Old Firm looms

Rodgers: Expecting tough test. Photo: PA
Rodgers: Expecting tough test. Photo: PA

Ronnie Esplin

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers believes Aberdeen's wobble earlier in the season was a false reflection of their abilities and expects another test at Pittodrie today.

Derek McInnes' side won just two out of seven league matches in a tricky spell which lasted from late August to late October and saw them slip out of the top six, albeit a penalty shoot-out win against Hibernian also took the Granite City men into the Betfred Cup final.

However, since losing 1-0 to Celtic in the final at Hampden Park at the beginning of December, the Dons have recovered their form, winning five out of six including their last four matches.

Saturday's 2-0 home victory over Hearts left them in third place, three points behind Celtic who cruised to a 3-0 home win over bottom side Dundee, and two points behind Rangers who beat St Johnstone 2-1 on Sunday.

"They are on a nice little run at the minute," said Rodgers. "Where they were at the early part of the season was probably a little bit false.

"Since the cup final they have had some good results and it will be a good game.

Tough

"It is a place that you always expect a tough game and that is what we will prepare for.

"There has always been different types of games with Aberdeen but we know that it is always a tough game. We will go there ready to hopefully put in a good performance and get the points."

Celtic travel to Ibrox on Saturday, which will be the last of nine matches in December for the Hoops.

That is another huge fixture for Rodgers' men but defender Filip Benkovic, whose goal against Dundee added to 19-year-old attacker Mikey Johnston's double, is focusing only on the game in the Granite City.

He said: "December is very tough with a lot of games.

"The last game is against Rangers but we will think about that after Aberdeen.

"These two games are really important, we want to get further away from our opponents and stay there until the end of the season.

"We respect Aberdeen because we know that they are a really good team but we know our qualities and in that game we want to take all the points."

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