TONIGHT’S Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Aberdeen has sparked a split in the camp at Inverness Caledonian Thistle – over whether their opponents have a genuine chance of beating Celtic to the title.

Manager John Hughes has never wavered in his belief that former club Celtic will prove too powerful – but midfielder Ross Draper thinks the Pittodrie side are in with a real shout – which should make for an interesting exchange of views in the dressing room before kick-off.

Aberdeen are three points adrift of Ronny Deila’s team after 25 games, while Inverness, who are in seventh place, would leapfrog St Johnstone in sixth if they win by at least two goals.

Asked about the title race, Hughes said: “I hope it goes all the way to the wire, I really do – it’s great for Scottish football. It’s an inspiration to everyone else. I still think Celtic are the best team and I still think they’ll see it out and win the league.

“There was a good quote this week from [former Celtic defender] Tom Boyd, who was saying let’s not panic too much. Celtic are still top of the league and still in the Scottish Cup.

“I agree with him. Celtic on their day are a wonderful football team and the best team. Like any team, they have ups and downs, but Celtic, I feel, have got too much in their locker.

“That’s taking nothing away from Aberdeen, who are capable of winning every game from now until the end of the season. The ball is in their court, it’s up to them.

“They’ve dug in there, and being out of the two cups gives them one focus. It’s going to be a really difficult game for us, but one that will hopefully bring out the best in us.”

Aberdeen travel along the A96 knowing they must earn a first victory of the season against their northerly foes if they are tokeep the pressure on Celtic. Draper believes his side will be up against genuine contenders for the Ladbrokes Premiership title.

He said: “I think they can go all the way – I don’t see why they can’t. Every club has a sticky period and Aberdeen had theirs a couple of months ago.

“But they have come through it and are now going toe-to-toe with Celtic. So they are high on confidence. The longer they stick in there the more chance they will have of doing it.”

For his part, Aberdeen defender Shay Logan is refusing to let himself even consider the possibility that his team could become the first club from outside Glasgow to claim the crown in 31 years.

Speaking to RedTV, Logan said: “We’ve got 13 games left and this is the next one we need to play and hopefully we can pick up the victory.

“It’s always a tough challenge when you play up there but we know the task that lies ahead. You will be sick of hearing this but we really don’t think about the title race. You can’t think about what will happen two or three games down the road or where you will be after a certain date if they drop points or we drop points.

“We have a tough task of three away games in a row. We won the first but we can’t think about Friday’s match with Partick because what happens if we slip against Inverness on Monday? So we will go full blooded against Caley Thistle and give 100 per cent. Only then will we move on to the next game.”