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Celtic must be on top form to beat Aberdeen: Brendan Rodgers

By Robert Jones

Brendan Rodgers has paid tribute to Derek McInnes ahead of Aberdeen's visit to Celtic Park tonight.

The Dons have provided the biggest threat to the Hoops' Ladbrokes Premiership title dominance in recent seasons albeit their battle this season is with Rangers for second place, with the Ibrox men back in the top flight after a four-year absence.

Runaways leaders Celtic are 22 points clear of their Old Firm rivals and a further two ahead of Aberdeen but Ulsterman Rodgers is impressed with the work manager McInnes has done at Pittodrie.

The Hoops boss said: "Derek has done a brilliant job there. I don't think they have a training ground to train at.

"So it is remarkable the job he has done, to get players there, to commit to what he is doing.

"My focus has primarily been on ourselves but even though we have played them three times and won three times, they have all been tough games in different ways so we expect no different."

Celtic are looking to extend their unbeaten domestic record since the start of the season to 28 games against the Dons.

The 4-0 win over Hearts at the weekend meant Rodgers' side went one better than Jock Stein's team of 1966/67 which won the European Cup and every other competition they entered.

Former Liverpool boss Rodgers said: "You think of the great players and great team so for us to stand alone as a team, the players have opened up a new page in the history of Glasgow Celtic and now it is up to us to continue writing the next part of this club's great history.

"And for that, it is pretty straightforward. We just continue to do what we have been doing, which is train very hard and be super-professional in our approach.

"People in the game - coaches, managers, players - will tell you it is not an easy feat to achieve but this group has shown a remarkable application.

"It is a really special achievement but we have to keep going as long as we can."

Rodgers could be without three of his top players tonight.

Striker Moussa Dembele and midfielder Stuart Armstrong are to have scans on their respective knee and hamstring injuries while striker Leigh Griffiths is battling to recover from a calf complaint.

New signing Eboue Kouassi is not ready for his debut while midfielder Tom Rogic (ankle) remains out.

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