McInnes expects 'full tilt' Bhoys

24 February 2018 11:35:46 EST

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes expects that league leaders Celtic will be at 'full tilt' for Sunday's Scottish Premiership clash at Pittodrie.

The Hoops were unceremoniously dumped from the Europa League by Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday evening in Russia and now face a tough trip to the north coast to face the Dons.

Aberdeen have been Celtic's closest pursuers in the league over the last three seasons but McInnes has lost all eight meetings against the Glasgow outfit since Brendan Rodgers arrived.

Six of those came in the league, with Celtic also denying Aberdeen in both domestic cup finals last season.

McInnes knows that Rodgers will have his strongest available team on the field come Sunday.

Against us they make sure their big players are always on the pitch.

Derek McInnes

"Celtic treat the games the way they should be treated - they're normally at full tilt in terms of team selection," said McInnes.

"Against us they make sure their big players are always on the pitch."

The Dons are 5/1 to win on Sunday, with Celtic 11/20 to take maximum points and the draw rated a 3/1 chance.

McInnes acknowledges the poor recent record, whilst suggesting that the Hoops see this fixture as a chance to 'slap down' their closest challengers. He is urging his players to step up and answer the challenge.

"You see some team selections against other teams [which are not so strong]. That's not a criticism, that's just the way it is. They are utilising their squad," he added.

"They always make sure they have a fully motivated performance because they see the importance of the game as normally we're their closest rivals.

"It's them trying to give us a slap down and win the game - that in turn makes it a bit more difficult for our players.

"But our players should relish the challenge of that and the responsibility of trying to get the points for Aberdeen."

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