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Aberdeen, not Rangers, are main threat for title – Celtic's Brown

Scott Brown celebrates scoring against Aberdeen last season

Celtic captain Scott Brown thinks Aberdeen, and not Rangers, will be the main challengers to their title defence.

The Hoops, under new manager Brendan Rodgers, are aiming for a sixth consecutive league title.

Aberdeen finished second in the Scottish Premiership last season, with Rangers promoted from the Championship.

"I think Aberdeen after the last couple of seasons," Brown told Sky Sports when asked to pick the biggest threat.

"They have been exciting to watch, they have come to Celtic Park and got points and we have struggled up there. So hopefully we can do a little bit better this season."

Aberdeen have been runners-up in the past two campaigns; finishing 15 points behind Celtic in May, two points closer than the previous term.

Glasgow rivals Rangers beat Celtic on their way to the Scottish Cup final last season and the Old Firm pair meet on league duty on 10 September.

When asked how he thought Rangers would fare, midfielder Brown said: "We'll see that when it comes. That's the fifth game of the season so we have got a few before that. Aberdeen have been great the last couple of years and so have Hearts after coming back up last season."

On the derby fixture, Brown added: "It will be good. It's always good, a Rangers-Celtic game, especially with the atmosphere. But there's lots of huge games coming up for us and that's way down the line."

Focus on Astana

Celtic meet Astana on Wednesday in the second leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie.

A second-half strike from Leigh Griffiths saw Rodgers' side return from Kazakhstan last week with a 1-1 draw.

"We went over there and got the away goal," Brown said. "That's always going to help us. We played well on the day and maybe could have sneaked another one.

"But it's going to be a great atmosphere back at Celtic Park and we're looking forward to the game."

With a visit to Hearts following on Sunday, Brown believes the European qualifiers will help Celtic get off to a strong start when they kick off their Premiership defence.

"Last season was a little bit disappointing overall but we still got the job done," he said.

"This season we have started off well in the Champions League qualifiers and hopefully we will push that into the league.

"This is always the priority. It's huge for us to try to get six in a row. We fought well last season and deserved it after a long hard season."

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