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HIBEE DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN; Ifil's Old Firm vow.

Byline: Ian Orr

MOTHERWELL v ABERDEEN

Today, Fir Park, 3pm

JEREL IFIL insists Aberdeen are capable of joining Hibs in mounting a serious challenge to the Old Firm this season.

The defender, who signed for the Dons in the summer, admits he had never seen an SPL game before his move to Pittodrie.

But the former Swindon man is now convinced his side have what it takes to take on the big two - if they get on a roll.

Ifil said: Some people are saying Scottish football is in crisis but I don't see it that way. There is a big opportunity for other so-called lesser teams to do better.

"Everyone can beat everyone in this league so if we can take our chances we could really kick on.We need to find some consistency and get a few wins under our belt.

Progress

"I think the Old Firm are catchable. Hibs have shown that this season already. It's up to us to take advantage but the key point is consistency.

"We're doing all right individually and as a team but there is a lot more to come from Aberdeen. It's really up to us to be at the top of our game because if we do what we are supposed to then we will do well."

Dons boss Mark McGhee believes today's game against his former club Motherwell is a barometer for how far he has taken his new side since moving north in the summer.

He said: "When I got here I hoped we would have made quicker progress than we have done. But once I saw us against Sigma and the first half against Celtic I thought it was going to be slower.

"What I am quite sure about is that there has been positive progress as we are starting to see a change both physically and mentally.

"There's a much more healthy attitude towards what we are trying to do and that is showing in training and in games.

"The first half against St Johnstone was really good, which is why I'm excited about seeing if that continues.

"I hope now we are going to see us start games well and acquiring a bit of consistency which should bring good results.

"This would be a fantastic game to win as it would put us two points behind Dundee United and they play Celtic on Sunday. That's important if we are going to catch them and seeing the momentum continue would be a big lift for us all.

"If we were to go on and do well against Motherwell we will be champing at the bit for the upcoming games against Rangers and Celtic."

WELL OFF THE MARK

ABERDEEN boss Mark McGhee reckons his opposite number at Motherwell Jim Gannon is playing mind games ahead of today's SPL clash at Fir Park.

Gannon, left, said the Dons chief was out of order for stating an interest in signing winger Jim O'Brien from the Steelmen.

But McGhee said: "He has misread what I said or he hasn't read it and relied on people telling him second hand.

"All I said was that I like Jim as a player and he is out of contract in the summer as are other players.

"He is using this to create tension in his team and get them fired up for the game, a tactic used often by Sir Alex Ferguson."

CAPTION(S):

JEREL DON TOP: Ifil mucks about in training with his Aberdeen team-mate Derek Young
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 21, 2009
Words:585
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