Saturday, 19 December 2015 at 15:00 GMT / 15:00 UK / 20:30 IST
Rugby Park, Kilmarnock
Aberdeen can keep up the pressure on Celtic at the top of the Ladbrokes Scottish Premier Division when they visit second-bottom Kilmarnock.
The Dons reduced the Celts lead at the top to just one point – albeit temporarily – as Adam Rooney’s late penalty gave them the victory over third-placed Hearts last weekend.
Claiming the title itself would require a huge slip up from the Parkhead outfit, but the promise of European football can spur the north-easterners on to maintain the heat as Scotland braces itself for the winter freeze.
The busy Christmas period is notorious for sorting out the men from the boys and Derek McInnes’ side look to have got over the wobble in form that they suffered and they’ve won the last three on the spin. They’re unbeaten in five and given that they’ve beaten Kilmarnock in their last six encounters, the Dons gaffer will also look at this one as a must-win game if they’re to pull off a surprise and knock the seemily irrepressible Celtic of their perch come May.
It’s not a Mission Impossible for the Pittodrie side although the Glasgow giants have got that knack of grinding out results even when they aren’t playing well, which is always considered the mark of Champions. The Reds can only keep going out and winning and hope that Celtic suffer a blip. Their goalless draw with Killie last month showed that they’re not invincible and while Gary Locke’s side should have been bolstered by that result, they’ve gone on to lose two and draw one since so it didn’t have the galvanising effect that he would have hoped.
Killie are now sucked into a relegation battle after a run that’s seen them win only twice in their last ten games. They’ve only netted ten times during that spell too, so desperately need to start finding the back of the net with more regularity.
Northern Irish hit-man Josh Magennis has proved their most potent striker this term with seven goals but he may find chances few and far between against a scrooge-like Aberdeen back line that have only conceded twice in their last five run outs.
McInnes knows that if his side aren’t letting in at the back then they’ve always got a chance of nicking on at the other end with Rooney now taking his total up to 12. He’d love to see more of the team pitching in, however, with second-top scorer Niall McGinn on only 4. The visit to Killie should give his side more opportunities to get their shooting boots on and chance letting fly from outside the box. As they old saying goes – if you don’t shoot, you don’t score – so while Killie can be expected to sit in deep and get bodies behind the ball, it will free up the chance to drill in some shots from distance.
Buy the ticket, take the chance – and get on the Dons to win this one.
Kilmarnock Stats W4 D5 L9
Recent Form LLDLDL
Aberdeen Stats W12 D2 L4
Recent Form LWDWWW
09/08/15 Aberdeen 2 Kilmarnock 0
12/04/2015 Kilmarnock 1 Aberdeen 2
20/12/2014 Aberdeen 1 Kilmarnock 0
13/08/2014 Kilmarnock 0 Aberdeen 2
22/03/2014 Aberdeen 2 Kilmarnock 1
Kilmarnock (4-2-3-1) –MacDonald, O’Hara, Connolly, Balatoni, McHattie, S Smith, Hamill, Magennis, Obadeyi, Slater, Boyd.
Aberdeen (4-4-1-1) –Ward, Logan, Taylor, Reynolds, Considine, Pawlett, Flood, G Shinnie, Hayes, McLean, Rooney.
Kilmarnock: Johnston (inj), Higginbotham (inj), McKenzie (inj).
Aberdeen: Robson (inj)
Kilmarnock vs Aberdeen Match Result Prediction
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