Although they will be Aberdeen team-mates next season Lewis Ferguson is ready for a battle with Scott Brown tonight.
Celtic captain Brown, 34, rejected the offer of a one-year contract extension at Parkhead to work with new Dons manager Stephen Glass.
Brown will join the Reds in the summer on a two-year contract in a player-coach role.
Before then, however, Brown is set to feature for Celtic at Pittodrie tonight in a Premiership showdown vital to the Dons’ hopes of finishing third.
Ferguson has had many tough battles in the heart of midfield with Brown before.
He predicts nothing will change tonight
Ferguson said: “We are not going to be the best of pals on the pitch because we will play with each other next season, that’s not the case.
“It won’t change anything.
“If it is myself and Scott playing, we will still have a battle.
“I have enjoyed a few battles with Scott over the last couple of years.
“It is just the way we play and it will be the same this time.”
Brown started the 2-0 Scottish Cup defeat at Rangers on Sunday and played the entire 90 minutes.
Should Brown start, or feature as a substitute, Ferguson accepts tonight will throw up the bizarre scenario of midfielders from opposing teams both trying to impress Glass.
He said: “It will probably be strange for all parties if that’s the case.
“If you are playing against someone you know you are going to play with next year in front of your new manager.
“It will be a strange situation, but you just have to go into it, be selfish, try and produce a good performance and catch the manager’s eye to impress him.”
Former Scotland skipper Brown led the Hoops to an historic quadruple treble and secured 21 trophies during his 14 years at Parkhead.
Ferguson, 21, is part of a young central midfield that also includes Ross McCrorie, 22, and Dean Campbell, 20.
He believes having such an experienced campaigner at Pittodrie will only help help his own game progress.
Ferguson said: “I am looking for it and working with him.
“He is a good experienced player who has won the lot.
“It will be good to get him in and hopefully he will help me with his experience, playing in the middle of the position in the middle of the park.”
Although excited at the prospect at working with Brown next season, Ferguson’s complete focus remains on the here and now.
His attention is on the bid to overtake Hibs in the Premiership table to secure a third-placed finish.
The Dons are also in the hunt for silverware and will face Dundee United in the Scottish Cup quarter-final at Pittodrie on Sunday.
Ferguson said: “Although I am looking forward to working with Scott, I don’t want to think too much about next season while we try and focus on the remainder of the games that are coming.
“Right now, the focus is purely on the remainder of the games to try and finish as high as possible.
“Obviously we also want to go and win the Scottish Cup.
“Hopefully we can go and finish the season on a high.
“After that, we can reflect and look forward to next season.”