Greg Stewart heartened Dons didn’t dwell on Europa League setback

Greg Stewart in action

Aberdeen attacking midfielder Greg Stewart is pleased with the way the Dons have recovered from their Europa League heartache.

The Dons had a chance to see what they could have won yesterday when Cypriot-side Apollon Limassol, who knocked Derek McInnes’ team out of the competition before progressing against Danish side Midtjylland in the play-offs, were drawn in the same group as Everton, Lyon and Italian side Atalanta.

But there has been no time spent pondering what might have been from the Reds, who have made a flawless start to the domestic campaign.

Three wins out of three has taken them joint top of the Scottish Premiership, while a 1-0 win at Hamilton helped Derek McInnes’ side progress to the quarter-finals of the League Cup.

Stewart, who joined the Dons on loan from Birmingham in the summer, hopes the Dons can head into the international break on a positive note by defeating Partick Thistle at Firhill.

He said: “It’s been a hectic start to the season but it’s been great so far and hopefully we can just keep that going.

“The incentive is to go into the international break with a one hundred percent record in domestic football.

“It was disappointing to go out of the Europa League but we couldn’t have done any better than win all our league and cup games since.

“That was the target at the start of the season to go into the break with maximum points and a win at Firhill will do that.”

The former Dundee player, who has started on the bench in three of his last four games, admitted he is still working towards peak fitness following his move to Pittodrie at the end of June.

The 27-year-old said: “It was tough to start with because I hadn’t been playing much football last season down at Birmingham.

“Then I went into the summer break where I had seven and a half weeks off before going straight into games here.

“I wasn’t really quite ready for that but I just managed to get through them and I am starting to feel a lot better now to be honest.

“It wasn’t that hard a pre-season because I was only at Aberdeen for about ten days before we had our first competitive game.

“Now the aim is to just keep getting fitter and playing better from now on as I’ve been doing a bit extra with the fitness coach.

“I just try to keep on top of that now with some extra running and sharpness work once a week as training is tough here anyway.

“I still feel that I can be a wee bit sharper but that is because of the lack of game time in the last year.

“Under Gianfranco Zola at Birmingham last year the first team squad wasn’t allowed to play reserve games in case we got injured.

“That meant you were just basically training all week and not getting a chance to play at the end of it.

“You can train as much and as hard as you want but it’s not the same as match sharpness.”