Derek McInnes was thrilled with Aberdeen’s Norwegian work – and they’ve got themselves something special next week to look forward to as a reward.
The Dons coasted to victory in their second round Europa League qualifier against Viking in Norway. Ross McCrorie set them on their way before Ryan Hedges scored a sublime goal from a corner.
It handed them victory and progression to the third round of Europa League qualifying. It’s a glamour tie away to Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon, and whilst big underdogs on paper, Aberdeen have been given some advantages.
Sporting have been hit with COVID-19 problems, meaning several of their first-team players will be missing for the clash. It means McInnes could face a weakened, albeit still strong, outfit in Lisbon.
Win that and they are through to the play-off round as the seeded team against Lask or FC Dac 1904 Dunajska Streda on home soil. Regardless, their Nordic effort have given them something big according to McInnes.
“Away from home in any game, but especially this level, you have to expect the home team to have spells when they ask questions of you as well,” said McInnes (Red TV). “You need players who will stand up to that threat, you need experience of guys like Considine, McKenna, Hoban, Logan when he came on, Hayes as well.
“They took up good positions to see off the threat. Keeping a clean sheet here against Viking says a lot about the whole team’s efforts but particularly the defenders who had that full concentration through the majority of the game.
“In front of them, Ferguson and McGeouch had their hands full as well. They try to stretch you out and then when they get it out in the wider areas, their two like to attack the box as well, so they’re a handful. I thought our two boys did a lot of good work out of possession to minimise the threat.
“It’s a pity there weren’t supporters here. The stadium would have been nearly full tonight in normal circumstances, and it’s a fantastic ground which would have generated a really good atmosphere for what was an exciting game.
“There were chances for both sides. We were bemoaning a lack of conviction from ourselves at times when we had some chances and perhaps we should have taken more of them. But the win is the thing and its earned us a great opportunity to go out to Lisbon next week and play another big team in a great stadium.
“That was a big incentive, we spoke about it before the game, it’s something we wanted to experience and the only downside again is that the supporters can’t experience it with us because plenty would make that journey if they could.”