Victory over Celtic would ease pain of Easter Road defeat, says Aberdeen defender Considine

Andy Considine in action for Aberdeen.

Defender Andy Considine reckons the Dons need to break their dismal run against Celtic to pay back their fans and deliver a message to Scottish football.

Aberdeen host the league leaders and defending champions on Sunday on the back of a 2-0 loss at Hibs where boss Derek McInnes admitted they were “murdered”.

Considine accepts the heat is on to end an eight-game losing steak against the Hoops – who they trail by nine points in the Premiership.

That pressure to deliver ramped up considerably after a dismal defeat to Hibs where the 30-year-old admits the Reds “didn’t look up for it”.

And Considine warned there will be no chance of the Hoops being off the pace after their Europa League last 32 clash with Zenit St Petersburg in Russia on Thursday night.

Considine said: “We want to show what Aberdeen can do when Celtic come calling regardless if we have won, drawn or lost going into it.

“To get a result against Celtic shows how well a team is doing – and we aim to do that.

“We have always bounced back from defeats and to do it on the big stage against Celtic would be ideal. The Celtic game will be a test of character.

“It will be a very tough game, but a result would put right what happened at Hibs.”

If the benchmark for a team is indeed how well they perform against Celtic, the Reds’ record makes depressing reading. They have lost eight straight games to the Hoops – although they pushed them close in the 2-1 Scottish Cup final defeat last season.

Celtic will have less than three days to regroup and prepare for the clash at Pittodrie following their Europa League trip to Russia.

They hold a slim 1-0 lead going into the second leg.

Considine is not expecting Zenit St Petersburg to do the Dons any favours – the onus will be solely on the Reds to end their eight-game losing streak against Brendan Rodgers’ defending champs.

He said: “There have been times when Celtic have played European games in Kazakhstan and other places like that and come home and done well, so I don’t think it (Russia) will affect them.

“They have a strong enough squad to cope with European games. Celtic play in Europe and do well all the time, so it will not affect them at all.”

Considine’s assessment of the defeat at Easter Road was brutally honest – the Dons were limp in attack, failed to match their energy levels and did not look up for it.

He admits they gave Hibs too much respect and too much time in possession.

That will have to change on Sunday in a game of huge significance.

A victory over Celtic for the first time since February 2016 would slash the gap to six points and re-ignite talk of a Premiership title tilt. Defeat would be the final death knell to their slim hopes.

Perhaps more significantly though, a loss could see the Reds lose vital ground to Rangers and Hibs in the scrap for second and a Europa League berth.

Considine said: “It was a huge week for us as we knew if we got a result at Hibs it would have opened that gap to 11 points.

“We looked tired and almost not up for it, which I can assure you was certainly not the case as it was a huge game.

“However, we did not match their energy levels. Hibs have caught up with us a bit now.

“As soon as Monday morning came we were back on the training field and talking about how we can improve from the Hibs game.

“Going forward we struggled to create anything and were pretty limp. We did not have as much energy as a normal Aberdeen team would have going forward.

“It was sad to see. That performance was not like Aberdeen.

“It was hugely disappointing, and tough to take.

“We decided to put more pressure on them to try to suffocate balls to their strikers.

“ Hibs produced a great save from Freddie (Woodman) but we didn’t react to the second ball and they are 1-0 up within a few minutes of the break. “When they got a second it sort of killed us. It was a performance there have been half a dozen of, if that, all season and hopefully we can move on.”

Fundamental to the 2-0 win was the dominance of Hibs’ midfield trio John McGinn, Dylan McGeouch and Scott Allan.

The leadership and aggressive tackling of suspended skipper Graeme Shinnie were missed.

Shinnie is suspended for the visit of Celtic and the Reds will be further weakened by the absence of on-loan Celt Ryan Christie.

The attacker is ineligible to face his parent club due to the terms of his loan deal. Considine believes the Dons should be strong enough to cope with absentees. He hopes they prove that on Sunday.

He said: “When you have Shinnie in the field he is the first one snapping into challenges and getting into people’s faces.

“When we played Hibs at home (4-1 win in December) Shinnie played and we got in their faces and didn’t let them play.

“At Easter Road we gave them too much respect and too much time on the ball.

“If Shinnie had played there is every chance that might have nullified that threat. He was a miss. “However, with the way the manager has recruited we have enough players to fill that space.

“The boys should be able to handle that.”

More than 2,300 Dons fans travelled to Easter Road as the club’s full ticket allocation was snapped up.

Considine accepts they have to repay the fans on Sunday for the Hibs howler.

He said: “We had thousands of travelling supporters who pay a lot of money to come down to see us.

“Every one of us appreciates the effort they go to week in week out.

“For them to see a performance like that is not good enough.

“Since the Rangers game we had been going well, so Hibs is tough to explain.

“A result against Celtic would help put right what happened at Easter Road.”