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Dons hoping to progress in Europe

| 13.07.2017

McInnes eager to build on a big year

Aberdeen are in action on Thursday evening in what looks to be the pick of the Europa League qualifying second round. With Rangers and St Johnstone knocked out at the first-round stage, it’s now up to The Dons to inject a bit of pride back into the Scottish Premiership.

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Granite City boys enjoyed a solid season

Aberdeen were impressive last season, finishing second in the Scottish Premiership and ending as runner-up in both the League Cup and Scottish Cup. Fans had a moan about losing to Celtic at Hampden in the League Cup, but looking back on the season they will agree that it couldn’t have gone too much better for their side, and manager Derek McInnes really is the miracle worker pundits said he was.

That was their second season finishing head of the chasing pack, and although they got nowhere near champions Celtic on either occasion, least of all last time, they did hold their ground despite the involvement of Rangers. Many expected the Granite City boys to simply roll over and play dead for The Gers, but it seemed to bring the best out of them. Another silver medal this year and, perhaps, a touch closer to The Bhoys, and they’ll be confirmed as Scotland’s second team, surely.

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Win to nil would do nicely

McInnes did just about everything he could last term, but what he really wants now is to push on and make progress in Europe. They have made some ambitious moves during the summer transfer window, although they lost influential playmaker Niall McGinn, who chose to join South Korean side Gwangju over a return to Pittodrie. That doesn’t reflect too well on the standard of football in Scotland, or the wages Aberdeen are able to pay their best players.

The Dons enjoy home advantage over their opponents in the first leg, and will be keen to make it count. No one at the club will want to travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina needing the win. That would be a nightmare situation. So, victory is a must and even better would be a win to nil. Better still would be a win to nil by at least a couple of goals. Is that asking too much? Aberdeen have been marked up as 4/9 favourites with Coral to get the victory, regardless of the score, while those with a touch more confidence can try the Aberdeen win to nil at 5/4.

We’ll bring you our preview of Celtic’s Champions League qualifier

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Frank Monkhouse