Aberdeen throw down gauntlet to the champions

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Aberdeen FC have unexpectedly made life in the Scottish Premiership extremely interesting thanks to a winning run of seven games, while hot favourites Celtic have been shedding points like confetti, making for a possible tight finish at the conclusion of a long season in May.

Whether the Dons can pull off a first league win since 1985 remains to be seen but, for what it is worth, here are 10 good reasons why they can shock the Scottish game.

Alternatively, there are the same number of questions against the ability of Derek McInnes’s men to survive the pressure in the face of the challenge they can expect from the Glasgow side.

1) Aberdeen have proved they are a more consistent, confident team than a year ago.

2) They are a settled squad, more at ease with themselves than in recent years.

3) They have a young assured manager who has them working as a unit, relying on teamwork rather than in individual input.

4) The defence has tightened up since last season.

5) In Adam Rooney they have a proven striker.

6) Celtic look vulnerable under their new unproven manager.

7) The generally Glasgow-based media actually believe and fear that the Dons could pull it off.

8) Opponents also think the Dons are potential winners.

9) Players are happy to graft for the cause.

10) The normally fickle fans even think a long overdue league title is a possibility.

On the other hand, there are 10 possible reasons to suggest the dream will end in tears.

1)The burden of leading so early in the race may prove to be too much for players and fans alike.

2) Celtic are unlikely to lose many games in the run-in.

3) Aberdeen’s failure to build on early leads will come home to haunt them.

4) Failure to win the “big” games will be expensive.

5) Lack of cover in the face of injuries to key players will be equally expensive.

6) Passion and belief among the fans will evaporate when the going gets tough.

7) Lack of experience in dealing with leading the pack will be a key factor.

8) Opponents will sense any weaknesses and ruthlessly expose them.

9) The cause will be weakened if they allow themselves to be distracted by the League Cup.

10 Sir Alex Ferguson will sign the team’s death warrant when he predicts the “Dons will walk it.”

Either way, the SPL has been livened up by the emergence of a genuine challenger who could yet pose a threat to the legendary status of the Gothenburg greats.