ABERDEEN sparked an “is it or isn’t it a title race” debate with their weekend defeat of champions Celtic.
I can’t see past the Glasgow giants in the long run but it has to be regarded as a contest until the holders pull away.
And that could be later rather than sooner as Aberdeen have an opportunity to extend their lead at the top to five points tonight if they win their game in hand against Hamilton while Celtic’s focus will be on the Europa League for a couple of months.
After taking their chance to edge out Celtic with 10 men this is a different kind of test for Derek McInnes’s side who are a best 4-9 at Coral.
So often the Dons rise to the occasion when they are underdogs and at the weekend the atmosphere at Pittodrie was electric – the best he’s witnessed according to McInnes.
That victory should ensure another big crowd inside Pittodrie to cheer their favourites to a record seventh win at the start of the season and they’ve got out of the habit to losing sides they should beat.
Strong defence has been the key to Aberdeen’s success this season with just two goals conceded – compare that to second-placed Celts who have allowed in eight and third-placed Hearts who have let in 10.
Last season after losing the first meeting 3-0 at New Douglas the Dons then won three times without conceding – netting seven in the process. Consider Dons to win to nil at 13-10 with Paddy Power.
Accies started the season well but were smashed 4-1 by St Johnstone at the weekend so consider Dons -1 at 5-4 at Ladbrokes.
Adam Rooney was on target against Celtic with a penalty and is 16-5 at McBookie to score first. Kenny McLean impressed in the supporting role at the weekend and should have scored a couple.
The ex-St Mirren forward has a super strike on him and is 11-5 at bet365 to net at any time.
Ali Crawford has been Hamilton’s star turn this season and the little playmaker is 11-2 at bet365 to hit the target.
Neither side have any serious selection problems and Dons midfielder Jonny Hayes is free to play after appealing his red card against Celtic.
Aberdeen to win to nil
(13-10, Paddy Power)
McLean to score