Celtic Aberdeen preview: McInnes, “There’s still time to get third”

Derek McInnes maintains Aberdeen can still finish third even though they are now five points behind Hibs and the Dons gaffer admitted it has been a highly unusual season on the North-east coast.

Aberdeen have been in the mire of late, their last win coming at home to Motherwell six games ago.

Since then the Dons have drawn three and lost two in a run of form that has seen them go from three points ahead of Hibs with a game in hand to five points behind the Edinburgh outfit with twelve games of the season to go.

“We’ve been up and down between third and fourth all season. There is still time for that to change and that is what we need to focus on.”

An unwanted goalless record

Aberdeen are on the verge of breaking a club record of minutes without scoring a goal. The record currently stands at 535 minutes set under Jimmy Bonthrone in 1973.

Aberdeen are currently 463 minutes without scoring after three 0-0 draws with St Johnstone, Livingston and St Mirren and two 2-0 losses to Livingston and Hibs.

McInnes told the AFC website ahead of the game against Celtic that this season Aberdeen have been up and down between third and fourth and there is still time for that to change.

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Particularly unusual season for the Dons

The gaffer also highlighted it has been an unusual season for Aberdeen which saw the Don’s hyped up with the ‘best squad they’ve had under McInnes’ to having four strikers leave the club by the midway point of the season and McInnes having to completely rebuild his forward line.

Sam Cosgrove, Curtis Main, Ryan Edmundson, Marley Watkins and Scott Wright have all left the club whilst Ryan Hedges is out injured for the rest of the season.

Aberdeen rallied to bring in Fraser Horby, Callum Hendry and Florian Kamberi on the last day of the January window, all of which have had little playing time recently.

Kamberi was a surprise addition on Saturday after finally receiving his work permit to play in the UK. Whilst he didn’t score McInnes was pleased with the former Hibernian striker’s display.

On Kamberi’s introduction the boss said: “I thought Florian was very infectious, full of enthusiasm and eager to impress. That sort of approach was really good to see. He knows the league and has shown his capabilities before and someone like him can help the situation.”

Kamberi has landed making his debut in the 0-0 draw with St Mirren

Of course McInnes is weary of Celtic. It’s well documented how insanely bad the Hoop’s historic 10IAR season has gone and although they’ve all but conceded the league to Rangers, Lennon’s boys have made a recent resurgence winning all of their last four games.

McInnes finished by reiterating the season isn’t over yet and there are still lots of possibilities as to what’s going to happen in what has been a bizzare season for everyone.

“We’ve been up and down between third and fourth all season. There is still time for that to change and that is what we need to focus on.

“In reality and in life, you get thrown different challenges you have to navigate your way through. For myself we have been through tough times before and you just have to trust yourself, trust your team and trust how you work to get through it and that is what we continue to strive for.

“Two months ago, people were telling me it was our second-best start to a league season in 20 years, people were saying it was the best squad we have had. We have had to deal with bringing money in through player sales, we have had to contend with a lot of injuries. Leigh, Hedges and Devlin are probably out for the season and that is not ordinary. It is unusual to have so many players out for such a long period.”

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