Miller: Hearts can pump new life into Aberdeen quest to catch Celtic
WILLIE MILLER, the former Aberdeen captain and manager, insists Derek McInnes’ side’s Premiership title challenge won’t be dead in the water if they lose to league leaders Celtic on Saturday. After a superb start to the season that saw the Pittodrie club win their first eight top flight fixtures, they now head to Parkhead this weekend in desperate need of a result to kick-start their campaign.
Celtic have opened up a four point advantage at the top of the table and will hope to see off their perceived title rivals and pull further away as they chase a fifth consecutive league triumph. Defeat this weekend would leave Aberdeen on the back foot, but Miller hopes his former club can spark some excitement in our game and keep the race going for longer.
“The disappointing aspect has been the last four games for Aberdeen after that fabulous start,” he said. “We thought we were going to get a real close title challenge. If they lose on Saturday it’s still only seven points, which is recoverable. You have to remember we’ve got Hearts putting in a challenge whereas last season it was Aberdeen on their own. Hearts have already taken points off Celtic and I think jointly they can keep it closer.
“Within Scotland everyone expects Celtic to run away with the title. I don’t think that happened last season. Aberdeen put in a credible title challenge right up until April, which we haven’t seen for a number of years.”
Aberdeen emerged as Celtic’s closest challengers for the top flight crown last season but eventually finished 17 points adrift of Ronny Deila’s side in the standings. A 2-1 win over the Hoops last month gave fans hope that they could launch a more serious title bid this season and Miller reckons avoiding defeat would be a step in the right direction after taking one point from the last five matches.
“They’ve already beaten them at Pittodrie and if they get a draw at Celtic Park it’s a decent result, absolutely,” Miller, speaking at an event to promote SPFL sponsors Ladbrokes, said. “So I don’t think [a draw] is a disaster by any means and I’m sure Aberdeen would take it. But the full three points would be a magnificent result for them and it would put them right back up there very close to the champions.”
JOINT EFFORT: Miller believes Aberdeen and Hearts can combine to keep Celtic within reach