Aberdeen: Derek McInnes expects to face Celtic's strongest side

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes and Celtic counterpart Brendan Rodgers
Derek McInnes says Celtic play their strongest team against Aberdeen

Derek McInnes says Aberdeen always face a Celtic "at full tilt" when the sides lock horns on domestic duty.

The Dons will be aiming for a first victory against the Premiership leaders in 10 attempts when they meet at Pittodrie on Sunday.

"Celtic treat the games the way they should be treated - they're normally at full tilt in terms of team selection," said McInnes.

"Against us they make sure their big players are always on the pitch."

Aberdeen are behind Rangers in second place on goal difference, nine points behind Celtic.

'Dons relish the challenge'

"It's nine games now [since we last beat them] I've been reminded. A couple of those have been cup finals, but all the rest have been first-against-second, so they have been real meaningful games.

"You see some team selections against other teams [which are not so strong]. That's not a criticism, that's just the way it is. They are utilising their squad.

"They always make sure they have a fully motivated performance because they see the importance of the game as normally we're their closest rivals.

"It's them trying to give us a slap down and win the game - that in turn makes it a bit more difficult for our players.

"But our players should relish the challenge of that and the responsibility of trying to get the points for Aberdeen."

McInnes is reluctant to believe the Dons will have the upper hand in Sunday's game, following Celtic's Europa League exit at the hands of Zenit St Petersburg.

"Celtic still haven't lost too many domestically although they have had a few draws," he said.

"They are nine points ahead of us and I still think they have the strongest squad in the league. They are used to the schedule of going away to Europe and lifting themselves when they come back."

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