Football: Advocaat puts pressure on Dons

Scottish Football
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The Independent Online
THE RANGERS manager, Dick Advocaat, yesterday questioned the attitude of the Aberdeen players on the eve of today's Premier League game between the two sides at Pittodrie.

The Dons were knocked out of the Scottish Cup last week on their own pitch by the Scottish League Second Division leaders, Livingston. They have also struggled to put a run of decent results together, with their highly-paid players being branded under-achievers.

Games between the two teams have been fiercely competitive over the years and today promises to be no different, with Rangers leading the table and Aberdeen at the wrong end. Advocaat did little to take the heat out of the atmosphere yesterday.

"I've been reading that Aberdeen are desperate to do well against us. Maybe they should have been desperate against Livingston, because then they would have been only three or four games from winning something," he said.

"It is my view that you have to be desperate in every match if you want to win things. But we know this will be a very difficult game for us. It always has been - and they have some quality players."

Rangers will be boosted by the return of the midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst after suspension, although Barry Ferguson will miss out again as he is still banned. Colin Hendry is also out with a groin injury, but the problem does not require surgery, just two weeks' rest, according to Advocaat.

Rangers gained a midweek 4-0 victory at Dundee and their new German goalkeeper, Stefan Klos, is hoping not only for another clean sheet today - but a championship medal in his first season.

Klos believes that is the only way he can establish his international credentials, having been dropped from the German squad that is setting up a training camp in Florida next month. "I knew it would be difficult to play for Germany when I moved to Rangers but hopefully things will change in the future," he said. "It would help my case if Rangers were to win the title and qualify for the Champions' League."

The Dons' manager, Paul Hegarty, may opt for the experience of the former Scotland goalkeeper, Jim Leighton, ahead of Derek Stillie. "Rangers are playing well at the moment, with a lot of confidence, and the goals are flowing," Hegarty said. "We will have to be on our mettle."

Celtic do not play until tomorrow evening, when they entertain St Johnstone in a televised fixture.