Strachan: Dons can cause problems
Celtic manager Gordon Strachan has warned of the dangers Aberdeen will pose when they visit Parkhead on Saturday. The Hoops get back to Scottish Premier League action after their 4-0 thrashing of Livingston in the League Cup.
They face an Aberdeen side who will be looking to bounce back from their midweek disappointment after they were knocked out of the same competition by Kilmarnock.
Jimmy Calderwood's team will be looking to gain some momentum in what has been a difficult start to the campaign, having picked up only one point at home so far. But Celtic gaffer Strachan knows their away record is far better, having won at St Mirren and Motherwell this season.
"Both of Aberdeen's wins this season have come away from home," said Strachan. "Jimmy Calderwood has had to change his team again this season. Like most managers of clubs without financial clout, someone comes in and gives their players a few bob somewhere else and it leaves Jimmy to pick up the pieces and find a team that can compete against Celtic and Rangers for no money whatsoever, and that's very hard.
"Kilmarnock are a good example. They missed two or three players last season and struggled because of it. Now Jim Jefferies wasn't a bad manager last year, because he a had a difficult year. It just depends on luck and how many people they have injured."
One Celtic player looking forward to the visit of Aberdeen is Shaun Maloney. The forward has been in fine form following his return to the club after a short spell at Aston Villa, and he says he can't wait to take on his hometown team again in their SPL clash. Maloney said: "Just because it's my hometown club I always feel like I have something to prove when we play against them.
"I still feel like that today, but it's a strange one, because I am still fond of the area and ideally I would want Aberdeen to finish as high as they can each season, because I think a lot of the city.
"When I was younger I always felt I had something to prove against them and that's not really changed. It just means a bit more because my family are up there and it's my hometown club. It's the one club outside Celtic that I want to see to do well in the league."
On Sunday, Rangers make the trip to the capital to take on Hibernian at Easter Road. The Ibrox side will be looking to continue their undefeated start to the campaign and consolidate their position at the top of the SPL.
Frenchman Steven Thicot is hopeful of returning to Mixu Paatelainen's top-team squad for the first time since injuring himself in the first game of the season.
In Saturday's other games, Dundee United host Hearts at Tannadice. United will want to build on their first league win of the season last week, while Hearts have been boosted by the news that Bruno Aguiar and Mike Tullberg have returned to training following injury.
Hamilton travel to bottom of the table Falkirk aiming to continue their impressive start to their debut SPL season.
Kilmarnock face the long journey north to Inverness, looking to get back to winning ways following back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Old Firm.
Motherwell will want a win at home to St Mirren to give the club a boost before they look to overturn a 1-0 deficit at home to Nancy in the UEFA Cup.