Derek McInnes isn’t interested in the Old Firm title fight as he’s fully focused on making amends for Aberdeen’s poor season last time round.
The former Rangers player knows just how much it would mean to the Ibrox club to prevent Celtic clinching 10-in-a-row.
Of course, a Dons win today would give Steven Gerrard’s side the chance to move seven points clear at the top a few hours later.
Not that doing his old club a favour is a factor for an Aberdeen manager desperate to prove they can compete as equals with the Glasgow giants.
McInnes wasn’t satisfied that was the case during a Covid-19 shortened season when they finished a distant fourth in the Premiership.
Now a first win in nine attempts against the champions would take them level on points with Celtic.
That’s all the motivation the Dons boss needs after taking steps to make sure his side were more effective and better to watch.
McInnes said: “I know this season is a lot about Rangers and Celtic and the spotlight is on them.
“But we want to knuckle down and get on with our job and I’m not too interested in what others are having to deal with.
“I was disappointed with last season’s work, although we’ve still got a Scottish Cup semi-final from it.
“But I wanted us to be the team I know we’re capable of by being better on the eye, and bringing more speed and goals to the team.
“I think early suggestions are that that’s what it’s going to be and the fact is, there is more speed in the team.
“That’s why we’ve been able to change formation from the 4-3-3 we normally went with last season.
“We thought a back three formation would better suit the players we had at the club after getting Tommie Hoban and Jonny Hayes back.
“Hayes is a perfect wing-back and Matty Kennedy too, while Connor McLennan can play there as well.
“We’ve got greater speed through Scott Wright and Ryan Hedges, who’s looking terrific, and Sam Cosgrove’s ready to return to cause problems to opposition and carry a threat.
“As long as we continue to improve, then we’ll have a good season.
“But we are just 11 games into the campaign, and it is too early to predict.”
Sadly, one of McInnes’ predecessors in the manager’s chair at Pittodrie, Ebbe Skovdahl, died at the age of 75 earlier this week.
But for all the Dane’s affability in the job, that spell between 1999 and 2002 were dark days for the Dons.
Aberdeen only escaped relegation for the first time in their history on a technicality, and things didn’t get a lot better before McInnes took over in March, 2013.
He added: “When I first turned up at Pittodrie, we were being judged against Inverness Caley Thistle and Ross County because we couldn’t beat them.
“We’re now judged against Celtic and Rangers, and that pleases me. But we have to knuckle down believe we can get these results.
“We’ve beaten the Old Firm in my time here, but we’re expected to do it more, especially being at home.
“We have good experience in the team as well as a lot of younger ones, but we’re going to have to work hard against Celtic.
“They and Rangers normally go into games as favourites, but we have to show we’re now capable of landing a blow.”
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