Aberdeen can turn up the heat on Celtic at the top of the table when they travel to St. Johnstone on Saturday.
The Dons meet the mighty Celts at Pittodrie in mid-week and could reduce the gap at the top to three points – and with Celtic in Scottish Cup action at minnows East Kilbride on Sunday, they could further close in on the defending Champions.
Aberdeen added to their firepower on transfer deadline day and have brought in Wales striker Simon Church on loan from MK Dons until the end of the season.
Derek McInnes’ team are unbeaten in their last ten games but have only beaten Saints once in the last five meetings between the sides and slumped to a surprise 5-1 home defeat by the Perth side at home back in October in their last encounter.
They will certainly look to turn the tables in this one and will look to 16-goal top scorer Adam Rooney to make an instant link-up with the new Welsh striker Church, who could be in line to make his debut at McDiarmid Park, if he doesn’t start against Celtic on Wednesday night.
The Hoops were rocked by a 3-1 defeat by Ross County in the League Cup semi finals at Hampden Park last weekend and the Dons can pile the pressure on Ronny Deila’s team not only in mid-week, but if they can grab the three points at Saints.
It’s getting interesting at the top and although Celtic have strengthened in the transfer window by bringing in Colin Kazim-Richards from Feyenoord, Manchester City’s Patrick Roberts and defender Erik Sviatchenko, while Cifti has gone out on loan to Turkish side Eskisehirspor and youngster Aiden Nesbitt has been farmed out to Partick Thistle.
Tommy Wright’s Saints didn’t make any moves during the transfer window and are reliant on the squad that has got them up into fifth spot in a decent season – however, they have only taken six points from their last seven games. Two of the defeats during that spell have been at the hands of Celtic, though, while they’ve had goalless draws with Hearts and Hamilton Accies and lost to Motherwell.
So the form book may not prove infallible ahead of the meeting with in-form Aberdeen who haven’t been beaten in over three months.
With all the other SPL clubs engaged in Cup action, this is the only top-flight League fixture to go ahead on Saturday and Saints are injury and suspension free while the Don’s Ryan Jack is out with a ruptured thigh muscle. Boss McInnes will hope to avoid picking up any knocks in the meeting with Celtic, though he’ll have his strongest side out as they look to turn the screw.
He’ll certainly have to field has strongest eleven at Saints too if the Reds are to maintain their interest in knocking the Glasgow giants off their perch. With three months of the season still to play, there could be some interesting twists and turns ahead.
St. Johnstone Recent Form LDLDLL
Aberdeen Recent Form WWDDWW
03/10/2015 Aberdeen 1 St Johnstone 5
24/05/2015 Aberdeen 0 St Johnstone 1
23/01/2015 St Johnstone 1 Aberdeen 1
01/01/2015 Aberdeen 2 St Johnstone 0
23/08/2014 St Johnstone 1 Aberdeen 0
St. Johnstone (4-1-3-2) –Mannus, Fisher, Mackay, Anderson, Easton, Millar, Davidson, Kane, Thomson, O'Halloran, MacLean.
Aberdeen (4-4-1-1) –Ward, Logan, Taylor, Reynolds, Considine, Pawlett, Flood, G Shinnie, Hayes, McLean, Rooney.
St. Johnstone: none.
Aberdeen: Jack (inj).