Saturday 19 January 2019

Deila: 'Aberdeen tie Celtic's biggest of the season'

Ronny Deila believes one of the biggest fixtures in the Premiership calendar this season will be today when Aberdeen visit Celtic Park.

The Dons have been widely tipped to finish runners-up to Celtic although the Parkhead side are still trying to find top form having gone four games without a win and having crashed out of the Champions League qualifiers.

The Hoops will play only their second league game of the season at Celtic Park and the Norwegian is looking for his side to replicate the form showed in the 6-1 home win over Dundee United last month.

The former Stromsgodset boss, however, is aware that Derek McInnes's side beat Celtic twice last season when predecessor Neil Lennon was in charge, once in the William Hill Scottish Cup and once in the league.

"Aberdeen is the biggest club besides Celtic and they are a good team," said Deila.

"They beat Celtic twice last year so it is going to be an exciting game.

"I am looking forward to playing at Celtic Park again and I am hoping for another performance like we had against Dundee United and (if we do) then we have a good chance of getting a good result.

"That is how we want to play and even better.

"I liked a lot of things in that game and we have to take the positives from it.

"I have seen Aberdeen twice in Aberdeen and I have also seen them on video.

"So I know their strengths and weaknesses and we have to be ready."

Deila will be without Charlie Mulgrew who picked up a knee injury playing for Scotland against Germany in Dortmund on Sunday.

Winger Aleksandar Tonev, on a season-long loan from Aston Villa, is still struggling to shake off a groin injury.

However, Deila hopes skipper Scott Brown could make his first appearance of the season against the Pittodrie men, following his recovery from a hamstring injury sustained in a pre-season friendly against Rapid Vienna.

Ghanaian winger Wakaso Mubarak, on a one-year loan deal from Rubin Kazan, Serbian striker Stefan Scepovic, who signed a four-year contract from Sporting Gijon on transfer deadline day and Swedish forward John Guidetti, who arrived on loan from Manchester City, could all get some game time against the Dons.

The Hoops boss said: "Some players have played (during the international break) and some haven't so we have to see them individually. But it looks good.

"It is important that players get the experience at international level that will develop them and develop us.

"We have a good squad and we have to start work now."


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