Football Expert & Columnist
Celtic v Aberdeen: Dons have chance of causing Scottish Cup upset, says Andy Walker
Andy Walker says Aberdeen could knock Celtic out of the Scottish Cup if Willo Flood and Barry Robson fire.
Last Updated: 08/02/14 12:26pm
Even allowing for the difference in resources that Celtic enjoy over every other club in Scotland, it's a hugely impressive run they are currently on as we approach the business end of the season.
Twenty four games unbeaten and 11 clean sheets in a row is exceptional form by anyone's standards.
Only Morton have beaten Neil Lennon's men this season on the domestic front and that was an astonishing 1-0 victory at Celtic Park way back in September, so what chance do Aberdeen have of pulling off a shock?
Derek McInnes has made excellent progress in his first full season as manager of a club that was used to success but hasn't even reached a final for 14 years.
That sorry statistic was put to bed last weekend when a strong and hungry Aberdeen side completely overran St Johnstone to clinch a place in next month's League Cup final.
My view a number of weeks ago was that Celtic would slip up somewhere along the line due to a lack of motivation and I still think they'll falter once or twice in the league before the season is out.
But with a place in the last eight beckoning, motivation certainly won't be a problem for Celtic this weekend.
Remarkably, they haven't even conceded a league goal since November when former player Niall McGinn scored at Celtic Park for Aberdeen.
The truth is Aberdeen have an appalling recent record against Celtic but this performance should give them a bit of hope that a victory is not out of the question as it took two goals in injury time for Celtic to secure all three points.
Since then, both sides have strengthened their squad with signings in the January transfer window.
Stefan Johansen made his full debut in place of Joe Ledley last weekend and despite insisting he wouldn't get into his side a few months ago, Neil Lennon surprisingly opted for Leigh Griffiths, who will bring real pace, to beef up his attacking options.
For some time Aberdeen have lacked a front player with mobility and an eye for goal and now that they have secured Adam Rooney, they should be more of a potent threat up front.
He is a player with the ability to score regularly and it's been a while since Aberdeen fans could rely on a front man to come up with the goods - but, in my view, whoever gains the upper hand in midfield will win the tie.
Scott Brown and Charlie Mulgrew have been consistently good performers for the Scottish champions this season but in Willo Flood and Barry Robson, Aberdeen have the players who can compete both physically and in a footballing sense in this area.
By the time the game kicks off, Rangers should be through to the quarter-finals; they host Dunfermline at Ibrox on Friday night and should have too much experience to fall against such a young side.
Elsewhere, I expect Dumbarton, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Stenhousemuir, St Johnstone and Dundee United to make up the last eight.
Jackie McNamara has put together an exciting young team who have undoubtedly gone off the boil in recent weeks but at Tannadice in Sky's live Sunday offering, they should have too much for St Mirren.