ABERDEEN have romped to the Third Qualifying Round of the Europa League after defeating Siroki Brijeg 2-0 away from home.

Despite a raft of chances, the Dons saw half-time come and go with the score still 0-0 as they pushed on. Siroki Brijeg forced Joe Lewis into action on numerous occasions but the hour mark saw the Dons pass up three good chances and the pendulum swung towards the Scots.

The Dons were held 1-1 at Pittodrie the week before and were looking to be going out on the away goal rule; however, with less than twenty minutes to go, on-loan Celtic star, Ryan Christie, played a neat reverse pass to Greg Stewart who finished to put the Dons 1-0 up on the night.

Christie proved to be the coolest man in the stadium, which was baking in 30 oC heat, as he proved to be the creator again as Gary Mackay-Steven was found with a clever through ball to make it 2-0 and send the travelling support into celebrations. The goal was Mackay-Steven’s first for Aberdeen since his move from Celtic last week.

Speaking of the victory, Derek McInnes was delighted that the Dons had managed to handle the heat and flourish in the Balkans.

“I did say last week we looked short on match sharpness in the last stages of the game but I felt having the game would give us the strength and competitive edge going into this one.

“We were always confident we could score and once we did I felt we took control of the game. We got stronger as the game wore on and my players’ fitness and sharpness told in the end.

“In hindsight I should have played an other pre-season game and I would have taken responsibility had we gone out tonight. This should have been game five for us, not four.

“The energy and competitiveness of our team tonight was excellent and the atmosphere got the juices going and we were very strong tonight.

“Both Greg Stewart and Gary Mackay-Steven are capable of quality and they showed that with their goals.

We defended really well. Our objective was to look after the ball and Kenny McLean did that while Graeme Shinnie was everywhere.”

A win to enjoy for the Aberdeen supporters, especially after a chorus of “Are you watching Ryan Jack?” was belted out by the 200 fans that made the trip, some of which would have been caught up in the unprovoked attack.

Aberdeen will now face Apollon Limassol in the next round at Pittodrie next Thursday (27th) with the return leg in Cyprus a week later (3rd).


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