"It doesn't get much more difficult"; Opposition manager discusses Celtic

By Dave Flanigan

July 28, 2022

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin has deemed Sunday’s Premiership curtain raiser at Celtic Park as difficult a start as his side could have asked for.

The Dons have enjoyed an imperious start to their season with four wins in the Premier Sports Cup group stage but the former St Mirren midfielder and manager sees Sunday’s bout with the Scottish Champions as a far more daunting prospect for his side than what they’ve faced thus far.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Goodwin said: “It doesn’t get much more difficult, that’s fair to say, but look you’ve got to play everybody at some point.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

“We’re going into this game in really good form ourselves, we’ve had a very successful League Cup group stage, won all four games quite convincingly, kept four clean sheets, so we’ve got a little bit of momentum, a little bit of confidence in the group and we’ll just approach this game the same way we have the previous four.”

The former Celtic youth graduate has watched plenty of his boyhood side in pre-season, the Hoops having won four of their six friendly fixtures over the summer.

Goodwin said: “We know it’s a step-up in quality, Celtic are a team full of real class, international players. I’ve watched the game against Norwich at the weekend, a bit of the Blackburn game as well, the Legia Warsaw game last week as well.

“They haven’t changed their style of play, Ange Postecoglou has added a little bit of quality as well in terms of the recruitment that they’ve done but you know what you’re going to get with Celtic, it’s high-tempo, its very intense free-flowing football.

“We’re going to have to be good with the ball but we’re going to have to be very, very good without it and make sure that defensive shape is as solid as what it needs to be.”

Aberdeen endured a highly disappointing season last time out, sacking ex-manager Stephen Glass in February before appointing the former St Mirren manager, the club finishing in 10th, just six points clear of the relegation play-off spot.

The Dons have recruited heavily in this close season, including signing Celtic defender Liam Scales on loan for the season, but will have to make do without the Irishman on Sunday who is ineligible to play against his parent club.

Celtic have injury concerns of their own with Carl Starfelt having missed all of pre-season, and Yosuke Ideguchi having received a knock in training, but will look to kick off their Premiership title defence in style against the Pittodrie side.

In other news: Celtic set to land extra Champions League bonus