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McINNES WOE AFTER LATE BLOW, EURO CASH BONANZA

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DEREK McINNES admitted he thought Aberdeen’s Europa League opening qualifier against Finland’s RoPS should already be OVER.

Instead, the Dons face a dodgy away trip after the Pittodrie visitors snatched a late goal to half the Scots’ advantage in their 2-1 triumph.

The lively Niall McGinn opened the scoring in the first-half and striker Sam Cosgrove made it 2-0 with the home side apparently coasting.

cInnes, speaking in the Daily Record, said: “You kind of dwell on that at the end of it, because I should be coming in here talking about how it was such an assured performance at this stage of the season against a side who are 15 or 16 games into theirs.

“Our energy levels, our fitness, our intensity were really good. Our supporters got a flavour of one or two of our new signings and the speed we want to play at.

“I thought we were the better team and should be scoring two or three more goals, but at this stage of the season that last wee bit of polish is what you can be missing.

“I think going forward, and even for having the game, we’ll be in a better position to take those – and then the goal we lose might not be deemed such a body-blow.

“I always felt we needed to bring good performances over two games, but if we’d taken our chances we might have got it wrapped up.

“We’ve got it all to do in Finland, but if we can bring the same level of performance, then I’m confident we can get ourselves through the tie.”

McInnes pledged his future to the Dons before the kick-off when he agreed a contract extension until 2022.

Everything was going according to plan until Tommi Jantil’s late intervention that will certainly make next week’s tie extremely interesting.

SCOTTISH clubs are in line for a European cash bonanza – if they can progress in the continental competitions.

Celtic can bank £13million by reaching the group stages of the Champions League and there would be a further £2.4 million on offer for each win and every draw being rewarded with £800,000.

UEFA have announced that clubs will be given £8.5 million for reaching the last 16 of the two European competitions, while reaching the quarter-finals will result in a further £9.5 million.

Even if the Hoops do not reach the group stages of the elite competition, they will pick up £4.5 million if they can reach the final play-off round before the group stages.

Rangers, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock – who are all competing in this season’s Europa League – will be rewarded with £2.6 million, should they reach the group stages.

Once there, clubs are given £512,000 for each win and £170,000 per draw.

Additionally, each group winner will be awarded £900,000, with the runners-up getting £450,000.

Teams competing in the last 32 of the Europa League will be given £450,000 and should a team reach the last 16, they can expect a further £989,000.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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