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‘HELP US STOP CELTIC,’ PLEADS DONS STAR

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ABERDEEN defender Ash Taylor fears Celtic can’t be caught unless others step up to prevent the title becoming a one-horse race.

The centre-half is out for revenge at Pittodrie this lunchtime against Brendan Rodgers’ champions after their 4-1 thrashing at Parkhead in August.

So far Caley Thistle, with a stoppage-time equaliser in the 2-2 draw in Inverness last month, are the only club to take points off the runaway Premiership leaders, already seven points clear off the Dons at the top with a game in hand.unspecified-169

Derek McInnes’ side defeated Celtic twice at Pittodrie in the previous campaign, but the Champions, under the shrewd management of Rodgers, have made enormous progress and have invested well in players such as Moussa Dembele, Scott Sinclair and Kolo Toure.

With a challenge from Rangers failing to materialise and Hearts stumbling recently, it has been left to the Dons again to lay down a marker on behalf of the rest of Scotland’s top flight.

Taylor said: “It showed last season that other teams needed to step up as well and beat them and most of the time they didn’t. It was only us who were causing them problems, but we’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves this time and get the job in hand done.

“We gave a good account of ourselves when we went there earlier in the season and the result was a bit harsh. In the last 10 minutes, we were still in the match, so I’m sure we can give them another good game.

“We beat them twice here at Pittodrie last season, so I don’t see why we can’t do it again – we’ve got the squad to do it. We can talk about their threats, but we’ve also got dangers in our team to cause problems.”unspecified-168

Dons boss McInnes has admitted the league is already a foregone conclusion and the main challenge for Aberdeen is to push the Parkhead men as close as possible.

He reckons the Hoops have the country’s best strike-force in Scott Sinclair, Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths who could net 70 goals in this campaign.

Taylor admitted he and his team-mates must be at their very best to stop the threat from the Bhoys, who have averaged more than three goals a match in their opening nine league games.

He added: “Their strikers are in form and they have a bit of confidence. When strikers are confident, they feel like they can score at any given moment so we must stay switched on.unspecified-164

“Dembele is strong and quick and, like any striker in form, he’s hard to stop. Our whole back four must be switched on to nullify them because their whole team carries a threat.

“Their midfield and strikers rotate better now, their wingers come inside and their midfielders bomb forward so we must stay focused.”

Celtic will be without the injury Kieran Tierney but will have the other players rested in midweek back including skipper Scott Brown who missed the trip to Dingwall on Wednesday due to family reasons.

It was an eventful week for the Celtic skipper. After an outstanding performance at hamden last Sunday, when he bossed the entire Rangers midfield, he had an new addition to his family during the week and yesterday news broke that he has come out of a very short international retirement to assist former Aberdeen star and now Scotland manager Gordon Strachan in his must win encounter with England at Wembley next month.

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