Aberdeen v Celtic: Can inconsistent hosts end champions' Pittodrie dominance?
|Scottish Premiership: Aberdeen v Celtic|
|Venue: Pittodrie Stadium Date: Sunday, 27 October Kick-off: 12:15 GMT|
|Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Scotland, live text updates on BBC Sport Scotland website & app|
Aberdeen have not beaten Celtic at Pittodrie in over three years, a grim six-game drought they will attempt to break on Sunday lunchtime.
The Scottish champions are riding high after a thrilling comeback victory over Lazio in Thursday's Europa League tie.
But in Derek McInnes' men, they face a resilient foe who, after a mixed start to the campaign, are showing signs of finding their groove.
Can Aberdeen end Celtic's Pittodrie reign? Or will Neil Lennon's side conquer the Granite City once again?
On their last visit to Pittodrie, dominant Celtic trounced Aberdeen 3-0, a familiar tale of Glaswegian supremacy that also secured the champions' eighth successive top-flight title.
Since Aberdeen's last home win over Celtic in February 2016, they have scored only four goals across those matches, conceding 16, and been kept scoreless four times.
Indeed, the Dons have beaten Celtic just once in 16 attempts.
And even on neutral ground at Hampden Park, Aberdeen have failed to derail Celtic's run to a treble treble on four occasions, losing a semi-final and final apiece in the Scottish and Scottish League Cups.
Will there be a European hangover?
It is perhaps a football cliche, but can Aberdeen look to take advantage of any sluggishness after Celtic's European exertions against Lazio on Thursday?
In short, probably not.
While in the wake of beating Cluj in the Europa League Lennon's side went on to lose to Livingston for the first time ever earlier this month, it is very much an isolated incident.
Indeed, in the other six continental ties that were followed by domestic fixtures, the Scottish champions won all of them.
Also, when it comes to facing Aberdeen post-Europe, there is a running theme for Celtic.
Last season, Brendan Rodgers' side came off a 1-0 victory over Rosenborg to beat the Pittodrie club three days later. The season before they went to Pittodrie and won 2-0 after Zenit St Petersburg had dumped them out of Europe.
In the 2016-17 campaign, the trend continued on two separate occasions, too.
Can Aberdeen buck the trend?
However, there is some hope for the Dons.
McInnes has overseen an inconsistent start to the season, the Europa League exit at the hands of Rijeka especially underwhelming, but while their form fluctuates, seldom do his teams lose matches.
Aberdeen have displayed their best stuff only in fleeting bursts, but have been beaten just twice in their nine Premiership games. In fact, they have only lost three domestic games in 2019.
Admittedly, one of those defeats was a particularly chastening 5-0 thumping by Rangers, but victory on Sunday would take them to third place and within four points of the table-topping Old Firm.
The hosts fought back from a goal down and overcame two red cards to earn a battling draw against Hibernian, before thrashing in-form Motherwell 3-0 at Fir Park last weekend.