Aberdeen travel to Glasgow today hoping to do what no SPL team has done there this season; beat Celtic. Boss Jimmy Calderwood fears his team might not have enough belief in themselves.
Celtic Team News:
Celtic striker Shaun Maloney will miss Saturday’s visit by Aberdeen with an ankle injury picked up against Hibs.
But midfielder Thomas Gravesen and goalkeeper David Marshall are fit again. Gary Caldwell and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink remain sidelined.
Player to watch: Shunsuke Nakamura
Any free kicks anywhere near the box will be an obvious threat to the Dons hopes of maintaing a clean sheet.
Aberdeen Team News:
Jimmy Calderwood has asked his players to show everyone why they are joint second top in the league in today`s match at Celtic Park. He thinks this is the perfect opportunity for his team to go Glasgow and be confident of victory as they are on a four match winning run and he hopes this will give his team belief in themselves.
He said: ‘I don’t get the impression the players are as confident as they should be. We still make life difficult for ourselves at times and we didn’t start playing until we were 2-0 up last week. The players know they are not going to give away too many goals but there should be a bit of arrogance about the side. We should be dominating teams but we don’t do it until we get a goal.
‘There is still a lot more to come from this team. This time last year Hearts were 14 points in front of us and Hibs were well clear, too. We are ahead of both at this stage. If we can have a good December, then maybe the confidence will come.’
Calderwood knows the challenge that awaits his team in Glasgow. Celtic have won every game they have played on their home turf this season in the league and clocked some very impressive results in Europe too, most recently beating Manchester United 1-0. He knows his team will have to perform much better than they did in their first match when the Dons lost to a very poor, deflected Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink goal.
He is boosted by the news that Jamie Smith, Steve Lovell and Zander Diamond, who all missed the 3-0 victory at East End Park, are all fit again and in the squad.
He said: ‘We took a bit of stick for our performance against Celtic here but we are better prepared now. Lee Miller is fit and, Richie Byrne apart, we have a full squad to choose from.
‘We have nothing whatsoever to lose and, although this is one our hardest games, it is an easy one to approach. Many people expect us to lose, the pitch is great, there will be 60,000 people there and we will get the chance to play.
‘We are all looking forward to it. Celtic were battered for 70 minutes by a very good Hibs team last week but they still came back from 2-0 down to get a draw. There is a resilience in the team.’
‘People still don’t rate Aberdeen even though we’ve turned the tables on Hearts, Hibs and Kilmarnock, who were ahead of us at this stage last season.
We have to keep proving ourselves. If we are still in this position after the next seven testing games, we’ll have a better idea of where we are going.
Some supporters are travelling to Glasgow expecting a result, which is great. If we play as well against Celtic as we did earlier in the season, hopefully we’ll take more than we did before.
Lee Miller played in that game but wasn’t match-fit. He’s made a difference by providing a physical presence in attack which was a bit lightweight.
He holds the ball up well and has the strength to keep it. He also has a lovely touch which gives us another option and allows us to play further up the park.
The standard of training was so high that I just had to stop it in case it back-fired which is a real positive.
Having three more players back from injury certainly lifted it. A fully-fit squad creates problems for me but they are pleasant ones.’
‘The stage is there against a great team, a superb pitch and a magnificent stadium. It’s up to the players to seize the chance. They must attack the ball then do something positive with it.
Player to watch: Jamie Smith
With doubts surrounding his future, Jamie will be hoping to put on a show against his former employers.