Let’s start by putting whatever perception lingers from Aberdeen’s result in Hamilton on Tuesday night into perspective. The goal they lost was only the second time they had conceded in six games. Incredibly, both were penalties. They have played an astonishing 617 minutes without conceding a goal from anywhere but the penalty spot.
Including those two penalties, they have conceded only four since Tom Rogic’s late free kick the last time we played them. This is a well-organised football team who have a script ready for Celtic. They will defend tightly, get the ball forward quickly and chase the life out of everything. The defeat at Hamilton was the first time they have dropped a point since Inverness withheld an onslaught to leave Pittodrie with a draw seven weeks ago.
Despite sitting second in the table with an impressive defence, Aberdeen are well below where they hoped to be at this stage of the season. One win from their opening five league games saw them struggle in the bottom half of the table. Clear evidence that their preseason plans did nothing for them in Europe or domestically.
The most surprising aspect of the Premiership table is that Aberdeen have recovered their natural position as Best of the Rest so quickly.
There’s a tangible confidence among Celtic fans right now. It doesn’t necessarily extend to travelling to face A German Team but most of us think we’ll take three points tomorrow. I know Aberdeen fans who were at Hamilton during the week also fancy their chances, especially if we are as wasteful in front of goal as we have been recently.
Brendan Rodgers will need to plan for tomorrow and for Gladback on Tuesday, a game which brings an end of a five week period with five intense sell-out games (and a few others). He used his options well at Ross County on Wednesday, wise selections are needed tomorrow also.