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Celtic must boss Aberdeen in title race, says skipper Brown

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic captain Scott Brown admits he has mixed feelings about the pressure Aberdeen are putting on Celtic's Scottish Premiership title.

The Hoops have cruised to their last two championship wins in the absence of traditional rivals Rangers.

And even in season 2011/12, the Ibrox club's challenge collapsed as off-field problems led to them re-emerging in the bottom tier following their descent into administration then liquidation.

Ronny Deila's side, however, are currently battling hard with the Dons at the top of the table.

After impressive wins over Kilmarnock and Hamilton in their last two outings, following the loss of five points against Dundee United and Ross County, Celtic have two games in hand over Derek McInnes's side, whose 3-3 home draw against Dundee at the weekend ended their eight-game league winning run.

Consequently, the champions will leapfrog Aberdeen into top place with a win over Motherwell at Parkhead tonight.

Asked about the first semblance of a challenge to their title in several years, the Scotland captain said: "It is always good, especially when Rangers were in the league, looking over your shoulder and looking at their result.

"But it has also been great winning the league by 15 or 20 points as well. So it's catch-22.

"When we were top of the league (this season) we thought we would keep going and going and that would be us to the end of the season but we had a slight slip-up against Dundee United

"The last couple of games we have showed how good we are.

"It's been a great contest (with Aberdeen) but we have a couple of games in hand to catch back up and go top of the league - where we should be.

"If we can win the two games in hand we would go four points clear - it would be good for us."

Motherwell's struggle this season led to the departure of Stuart McCall with Ian Baraclough taking over last month.

The Steelmen fought out a 1-1 draw at Parkhead in September with Celtic winning 1-0 at Fir Park last month.

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