Gary Mackay-Steven thinks Aberdeen can take confidence from their first-half performance against Rangers into their Parkhead clash with Celtic.
Finishing second remains in the Dons’ hands going into the final round of Premiership fixtures.
However, they are just one point ahead and need to beat champions Celtic on their patch for the first time in 14 years to guarantee themselves the runners-up spot.
Derek McInnes’ men drew 1-1 with the Gers at Pittodrie on Tuesday, but could have been 3-0 up in the first half, with Kenny McLean coming close to following up a spot-kick goal with a 30-yard piledriver, which rattled Jak Alnwick’s bar, and a volley.
On the back of six unanswered losses to Glasgow’s big two this term, and no goals from open play, the first 45 minutes represented the Reds’ best half of football against the Old Firm this season.
Mackay-Steven said: “We have to have confidence, we can’t be too down.
“It’s still in our hands. We’re still second.
“There’s more football to be played.
“We’ve got to dust ourselves down and think we can go to Celtic Park and get something because we need it.
“That’s the focus now and we have to believe we can do it.”
The winger, who joined Aberdeen from the Hoops for an undisclosed fee last summer, thinks the Dons cannot afford to travel with trepidation.
In three matches with Aberdeen this season, Brendan Rodgers’ team have won 3-0 and 2-0 at Pittodrie, as well as 3-0 at Celtic Park.
Celtic’s three league losses have all come on their travels, and they haven’t lost at home in the Premiership since May 2016. The Scottish Cup could secure them their second domestic treble in a row, with this all reflecting the task facing McInnes’ side on Sunday.
Mackay-Steven said: “We need to go and not be afraid of Celtic.
“They’re champions for a reason, but we have to have confidence – if we play our best game we can give them a game – and just have belief.”
Establishing a foothold in midfield through the likes of skipper Graeme Shinnie will be crucial to the Dons’ chances.
Imposing themselves in this part of the pitch gave the Reds a strong foundation from which to bombard Rangers in the first half and the game turned in the Light Blues’ favour when they lost this part of the pitch.
Mackay-Steven knows doing the dirty work is how you give your creative players and ball-carriers the room to work.
He said: “You need to win the battle and it’s always quite frantic to start with in games, like Tuesday, and Sunday will be no different.
“Celtic are a good team and we’ll need to get in their faces, but we’ll certainly get chances, I’m sure.”