FORMER Celtic midfielder Murdo MacLeod reckons the Hoops’ fifth successive Premiership title will be in the bag if Ronny Deila’s team beat Aberdeen at Parkhead on Saturday.
Wim Jansen’s ex-assistant coach believes his old club will not be caught – with TWENTY-SIX games still to go!
The champions will move seven points clear at the weekend if they beat Derek McInnes’ team in Glasgow.
MacLeod admits he has been stunned by the collapse of the Dons who lost three league matches in succession – as well as crashing to Hibs in the League Cup – and then struggled to hold on for a 1-1 draw against Motherwell last weekend after an amazing eight-game winning run at the start of the campaign.
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And he insists they have to get something at Celtic Park or their challenge will be over.
He said: “Last year, Aberdeen put in a fantastic challenge and, with about six or seven games to go, they were still there. But now you’re looking if Celtic win at the weekend, then it’s just the end of October and it’s finished.
“It looked as though there was going to be a challenge to Celtic from Aberdeen as they appeared to be very comfortable, they were in control and they had beaten Celtic.
“So, you thought there was a challenge, but now you feel there’s no challenge.
“When they beat Celtic during the run they were on, you’re thinking ‘they’ve got a chance here’. I would have expected them to go the other way and that no-one would get near them.
“Now, all of a sudden, everyone has taken points off them and it’s not just an unlucky 1-0 they’re losing. St Johnstone scored five against them at Pittodrie.”
MacLeod, the midfield powerhouse of the 1980s who was in the dug-out when Dutchman Jansen stopped the nightmare 10-in-a-row prospect, is perplexed by the collapse, but hinted that it may be a mentality issue, pointing out that when his old club is at the top of the table and things are not going well, they can still grind out results, “whereas it’s just gone flat for Aberdeen.”