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Derek McInnes wants Aberdeen to give Celtic a run for their money

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has urged his players to get in amongst Celtic and show no signs of anxiety.

McInnes accepts Celtic and Rangers will fight it out for the Ladbrokes Premiership title between themselves but is determined his side can make their mark against the Glasgow pair along the way.

Quoted on his club’s official website, McInnes said: “There is no doubt we are going to be tested a lot more on Sunday.

“Celtic are top of the league for a reason, they are champions, they have got good players, they have plenty to play for. I think them and Rangers will fight it out.

“It’s up to us to land a few blows along the way. When we take these teams on there has to be a belief, a level of performance that we can win the game.

“I am looking for our team to win the game. Go and get on the pitch and as soon as that ball rolls we are in about it.

“Celtic players need to know there is an Aberdeen team doing all that they can to win the game and not being anxious, not being half-hearted, they have got to be after the game.

“We have got to make sure that we give ourselves a chance. If we lose the game and have that approach then so be it, we have to deal with that. I want to see that approach from my team as soon as that ball rolls.”

McInnes has been impressed by Celtic’s form under Neil Lennon, who replaced Brendan Rodgers in late February.

The champions have scored 28 goals in nine league games and victory over Lazio in the Europa League has given them an extra boost ahead of Sunday’s trip to Pittodrie.

“It was tough for Neil, last season, going in through the campaign and just trying to steer the ship,” McInnes said.

“He was probably in a no-win situation, but he managed to do it and get the job done and now he has got his own opportunity to put his own stamp on his team.

“There are still similarities to Brendan’s team but there are signs that Neil has put his stamp on it. The goals that they are scoring and the manner in which they are playing should be getting the plaudits that they have been getting.

“The good thing from Celtic’s perspective is they know Neil is a winner, he is a motivator and this season for them they will be tested on that more than ever from Rangers. I think he has done a very good job.”