Aberdeen can mount title challenge, says Willie Miller

Aberdeen players celebrating
Aberdeen were 1-0 victors over Inverness on Sunday

Aberdeen are capable of pushing Celtic in the title race, says their former manager and captain Willie Miller.

Sunday's 1-0 victory at Inverness means the Dons end the year two points behind the defending champions.

Aberdeen won the last of their four league titles in 1984-85, a third success for Miller as a player.

The 59-year-old told BBC Scotland: "If they can keep this run going and steer clear of injuries then they are going to be title challengers."

Aberdeen's good form this season has been underpinned by a strong defence, with eight clean sheets in their past 10 matches.

A fifth consecutive league victory lifted them above Dundee United, while Celtic were held to a goalless draw at home to bottom side Ross County on Saturday.

"We're almost at the halfway stage and there are only two points in it," added Miller, who managed the Pittodrie club from 1992-95.

Willie Miller with the Scottish Premier Division trophy in 1984
Miller won three Scottish Premier Division titles with the Dons

"I don't see Celtic dominating the second half of the season because they haven't shown that they are capable of doing that.

"And when there's a bit of fragility from the champions, then Aberdeen should be looking at it as a possibility.

"I wouldn't take Inverness Caley Thistle out of the mix - they were unfortunate not to get something out of the game and Dundee United will be bitterly disappointed to have lost on Saturday.

"It's intriguing because Celtic are not dominating games the way they should with the squad they have."

Dons manager Derek McInnes stressed he is looking no further than Thursday's game against St Johnstone.

However, a victory in the New Year fixture would lift Aberdeen into top spot, even if only briefly, since Celtic play in the evening.

"The Aberdeen fans don't need any encouragement to think they are title challengers but the manager's job is to keep everybody firmly grounded," said Miller.

"The manager has done a fantastic job since he came to the club. He has built a very fine side. Their pool has been stretched of late and they have coped with it extremely well.

"A lot of hard work goes into those team performances and the manager has got to be praised for getting the players to buy into his formation.

"He's asking players to work defensively for the team and put on the back burner their own preferences perhaps. The glory is put on the team rather than individuals."