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Ash Taylor: Aberdeen have to be on top form against Celtic
Ash Taylor admits Aberdeen cannot afford another off-day after their midweek slip-up when they take on Celtic on Saturday.
The Dons saw a six-game winning streak brought to an unexpected halt when they lost 1-0 at Hamilton on Tuesday.
That surprise setback cost the Pittodrie outfit the chance to temporarily close the gap on Brendan Rodgers' Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Hoops to a single point.
And to make matters worse, the Hoops thumped Ross County 4-0 to move seven clear with a game in hand.
Defender Taylor now hopes his side can make up lost ground when they welcome Celtic to the Granite City this weekend - but warned they will have no chance if they switch off like they did against Accies.
The Englishman said: "There was a little blip in midweek, it was not like us especially the run of form we were on. This is a great game for us to try and bounce back.
"Tuesday was a reminder of what can happen if you have an off day. You need to be at it every week. You also saw it with some of the results on Wednesday night. Any team can beat anyone on their day.
"You need to stay fully focused. You can't have too many off days. It is a bit of plus some of the teams round about us never won but it makes it more frustrating we did not take something from the Hamilton game and Celtic also increased their advantage.
"We just need to focus on ourselves and try and get on a winning run again."
The Dons came out victorious on both of Celtic's visits to Pittodrie last season but the champions are quicker, slicker outfit this term under new boss Brendan Rodgers.
The new-look Hoops even dished out a 4-1 hammering when Aberdeen travelled to Glasgow at the end of August.
But Taylor says he and his team-mates can still take confidence after from the damage they inflicted on former Hoops boss Ronny Deila's team last term.
"We have been on a good run despite the result in midweek," he said. "We can also take confidence from the fact we beat them twice last season.
"We will try our best on Saturday to replicate that.
"I also feel we played well in spells down there earlier in the season. We were pushing hard for an equaliser and had chances before we conceded late on."
Celtic captain Scott Brown believes Brendan Rodgers' tactical influence will become more and more apparent over the coming months.
Brown has credited the Celtic boss with maturing the team as well as improving their tactical knowledge, fitness and football.
The 31-year-old himself has looked a transformed player this season, although an extended summer break also helped after hamstring problems dogged him earlier in the year.
The midfielder is feeling so good about his game that he is set to perform a U-turn and return to the Scotland fold less than three months after announcing his international retirement.
Brown also admits that he could not have foreseen Celtic's season going so well that they could go 10 points clear by beating Aberdeen at Pittodrie in their 10th Ladbrokes Premiership match.
"Probably not, and that's pretty much down to the manager and the way he has laid down his philosophy," said the midfielder, before it emerged he was on his way back to the Scotland fold.
"It was always going to be hard at the start of the season with so many games in the Champions League, but as soon as we got that out the way and got into the Champions League, we worked on how to play out from the back and his game plan more than anything.
"It is starting to work, it is starting to show on the park. The movement and ball control we have got and the possession has been really good and it's been what he has been wanting."
The former Hibernian player added: "I think the team is maturing, we are learning when someone is out of position you fill in for your mate, where to go to receive the ball, where the gaffer doesn't want you to be as well, how to press high up the park where we all should be.
"We are still learning that, we are getting here, but as you have seen with his other teams, Liverpool and Swansea, they pressed high up the park and the football has been fantastic, and that is the level we want to get to.
"We have improved. Our fitness improved, football-wise we have improved, game knowledge has improved as well.
"But there is still a lot to come from us and we need to continue improving all the way through this season."