IT was possibly the most successful season Aberdeen have enjoyed since the Sir Alex Ferguson era at Pittodrie back in in the 1980s; they finished runners-up in the Betfred Cup, were second in the Ladbrokes Premiership and were pipped to the William Hill Scottish Cup in the last minute.

Yet, their record against Celtic, the team who pipped them to silverware in every domestic competition, in the 2016/17 campaign still made for abysmal reading.

Played six, lost six, conceded 14, scored three – it was an embarrassing losing streak despite the fact they were comfortably the best of the rest in Scottish football for the third year running.

Read more: Dedryck Boyata backs weary Celtic stars to have enough left in tank to see off Aberdeen​

The clubs may be level on points at the head of the top flight table after nine games, but nobody in the game expects that to be the situation come next May.

However, this is a new season and a new Aberdeen team – Jonny Hayes, Ryan Jack, Niall McGinn and Ash Taylor have all departed and Kari Arnason, Gary Mackay-Steven, Stevie May and Greg Tansey have come in - and McInnes insists his charges will go into the encounter without any sense of trepidation.

“I don’t think there’s a psychological thing,” he said. “It’s been aimed at us a few times, but we’ve beaten a few good Celtic teams here in our time.

“We’ve not beaten this Celtic team. We had six attempts last year and thought we were competitive in most of them. In one in particular we weren’t, but in the last couple of games we were a bit closer.

“Celtic have more goal threats than any other team, a bigger squad and a better squad than any other team. So they present the biggest challenge for us. But in terms of a psychological barrier, you can’t say that.

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“The cup final was all about intent and aggression and us imposing ourselves on the game. There’s no psychological barrier going into the game. It would help if we won the game because then we wouldn’t be asked about it, but I actually feel the team that won each game were the better team for the 90 minutes."

So are new-look Aberdeen better placed to defeat or even just draw with a Celtic side who have gone unbeaten in their last 60 domestic games and are on the brink of equalling the British record for matches without a loss?

“I don’t know yet,” said McInnes. “I am hoping that is the case. Time will tell. I felt last year’s squad was the strongest I have put together. I think that played out. Apart from an outstanding Celtic season, what they had and the level they had, we might have been able to win something.

“But the intention is to try and put a stronger squad together. But I can’t say that, that it’s the strongest squad, with any confidence until April, May time next year. We have still got it all to do.”

Read more: Dedryck Boyata backs weary Celtic stars to have enough left in tank to see off Aberdeen​

The last time Aberdeen met Celtic at Pittodrie back in May they found themselves three goals down after just 11 minutes after Dedryck Boyata, Stuart Armstrong and Leigh Griffiths all netted in quick succession.

McInnes, who felt that Aberdeen actually came back well in that game and competed with their rivals, believes that shows the damage with Rodgers’s men can inflict and knows his charges will have to be at their very best to end their seven game losing run.

“We won’t be using that team talk tomorrow!” he quipped. “It was bizarre. Celtic can hit you like that. They have threats all over. Hayes got us back in the game with a fantastic goal. We were good value that night, but give Celtic that start then it’s difficult.

“You can’t depend on luck or Celtic not being on it. You’re only happy if you put in a performance that’s in you. It is up to us to make them work for it and every game is a challenge. Celtic provide every team, including ourselves, with the biggest challenge whenever you play them.”