After a tough start to 2021 for Aberdeen midfielder Dean Campbell is confident they are beginning to turn a corner under new boss Stephen Glass.
As the Dons ready to face Celtic at Pittodrie tonight, the 20-year-old insists confidence is rising within the squad under the guidance of Glass and assistant Allan Russell.
Former Atlanta United 2 boss Glass was in the Dons’ dugout for the first time for the penalty shoot-out defeat of Livingston.
Following a 2-2 draw after extra-time, the Reds netted all five spot kicks to triumph 5-3 in the shoot out.
From netting just three goals in the preceding 12 games, the Dons scored twice for the first time since January and were also lethal from the penalty spot.
Campbell reckons the return to form has arrived at the right time as Aberdeen bid to end the season on a high with the fight for third still alive and a Scottish Cup quarter-final slot secured.
He said: “I think we’re beginning to turn a corner.
“Confidence is starting to come back up again and we’ve been scoring goals again, which has been good.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the new staff, even though we’ve only had a few days on the training pitch.
“We had a good result at the weekend.
“We’re just hoping that we can continue a good bit of form to finish the season on a high.”
Aberdeen trail third-placed Hibs by four points with four Premiership matches remaining.
Hibs host Livingston in an earlier kick-off today (6pm).
Campbell believes the Easter Road can still be overtaken.
He said: “We haven’t given up on third place.
“We know obviously that we’re going to have to take as much points as possible to put pressure on Hibs, but we’re confident that we can still catch them.
“We’ve got the Scottish Cup to look forward to as well.”
Aberdeen face Hibs at Pittodrie on Wednesday May 12 in the penultimate game of the season.
Campbell wants to turn up the heat on the Edinburgh outfit ahead of that showdown.
He said: “We know we need to take as many points going into the Hibs game.
“We want to try and get as close to them as we can.”
Campbell was one of the five who confidently converted a penalty against Livingston in the shoot-out to secure a last-eight tie with Dundee United on Sunday.
He said: “We can definitely take confidence from the goals we scored against Livingston.
“They were two very good goals.
“That’s what we’re looking to do – we’re looking to play good, attacking football while also focusing on keeping the ball out of our net too.
“It’s just about getting that balance and that will serve us well in finishing the season.”
That balance between attack and defence will be needed tonight against Celtic.
Campbell is also set to be involved in the maelstrom of a midfield battle with Celtic skipper Scott Brown, a team-mate from next season.
Brown, 34, rejected the offer of a new deal at Celtic and will join the Dons in the summer on a two-year contract in a player-coach role.
Campbell said: “I have played against him a few times in the past.
“He’s a good professional and I’m sure he will treat it like a normal game.
“We just have to do everything we can to get the three points.
“It is Aberdeen against Celtic and we will both be desperate to beat each other.
“We just have to do everything we can to get the three points.”
The recent change in management at Pittodrie came following an alarming slump in form in 2021.
Aberdeen suffered criticism during that period, but Campbell admirably tried to block it out – and concentrate on continually improving his game.
He said: “I try to stay away from all of that.
“I stay off social media and I watch back my games with my coaches and improve from them.
“I know that I’ve still got improving to do to get to the level required, but I know if I continue working hard and working with my coaches, I can get there.
“I’ve just been continuing to work as hard I can behind the scenes to improve my game.”
On this week's Northern Goal podcast:
🔴 Can Niall McGinn play his way to a new @AberdeenFC deal?
🔴 Who will be boss Stephen Glass' skipper next season?
— EveningExpress Sport (@ee_sport) April 20, 2021