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Europa League qualifiers

Dons eager to face Burnley challenge

Derek McInnes

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes can’t wait to take on Burnley at Pittodrie (pic: SNS Group)


 

It’s a big night for Aberdeen, Rangers and Hibs with the three clubs looking to progress in the Europa League qualifiers.

The Dons take on Burnley in the first leg of their second qualifying round tie, and face a stern test against the team which finished seventh in the English Premiership.

To make matters even more difficult for boss Derek McInnes, it is the home side’s first competitive game of the season.

“Nobody really enjoys pre-season games as there’s nothing in it. This is the first proper game and the fact it’s against Burnley has grabbed the attention,” he said.

“I can’t wait for the game to be honest. It’s the first competitive game, which is always eagerly anticipated.

“I just want my players to be able to produce a performance at this early stage of the season and one we’re capable of. Hopefully we can because we’ll be in the game and that’s important to me.

“There’s not a huge gulf between the clubs, but there’s a huge gulf between the leagues. Because there’s that gulf the way Burnley operate is a completely different level with the finances and the rest of it.

“In terms of the leagues of course there’s huge differences but I’m not actually that bothered about what people think of the Scottish league or what the perception is because I just want to win the game.”

Steven Gerrard will be looking for more improvement from his Rangers team when they take on Osijek in Croatia.

The Ibrox boss was disappointed with the lack of cutting edge as the Light Blues defeated Shkupi in the previous round. He has since brought in Liverpool winger Ryan Kent on loan to boost his options in the final third and the 21-year-old could feature this evening.

“He is an attacking player who can play on either side, and also at number 10,” said Gerrard. “He is an exciting player to watch and we hope he can help us in terms of creativity.”

Greeks Asteras Tripolis provide the opposition for Hibs at Easter Road, with John McGinn set to start for the hosts despite further interest from Celtic.

The midfielder, who is into the final year of contract, has been the subject of three failed bids from the champions.

“There are going to be other suitors wanting him – not only Celtic – but we have a valuation of John,” said Lennon.

“No club has reached that and we’re very comfortable with that.”



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