Former Scotland and Aberdeen manager Craig Brown has warned the Dons to expect an ‘intimidating’ atmosphere at Turf Moor tomorrow as they bid for Europa League glory on Burnley’s home patch.
Brown had two years in charge at Burnley’s Lancashire rivals Preston and experienced the atmosphere of a full Turf Moor on derby day.
Home supporters are expected to turn out in their droves tomorrow night for the Clarets’ first home European tie in 51 years. The contest is finely-poised after a 1-1 draw in Aberdeen, with Sam Vokes cancelling out Gary Mackay-Steven’s first-half penalty.
Preston beat Burnley twice under Brown, including a 5-3 win at Deepdale inspired by a Ricardo Fuller hat-trick. He knows the level of love for football in Lancashire and believes Turf Moor is a similar stadium to Pittodrie.
Brown said: “I have friends in Lancashire – a lot of them Preston fans. Burnley was the main rival when I was at Preston; Blackpool were in the league below, Bolton and Blackburn were in the Premier League. I joked with one of their directors last week that we were going to sign Ricardo Fuller for a half just to terrorise them.
“They were our rivals and it was a friendly but bitter rivalry. Turf Moor is a stadium like Pittodrie – it’s old-fashioned and the atmosphere will be very similar to last week. It will be quite intimidating. There’s not another ground in Scotland like Pittodrie or Turf Moor and it’s a great place to go for football.
“There’s so many clubs round about there – it’s a hotbed for football. It will be quite an experience but I loved European matches through the years I worked with Scotland.”
The atmosphere at Pittodrie last week was widely praised, with the sell-out crowd raising the noise levels for the second qualifying round fixture. Brown, a Dons director, was another who was thoroughly impressed, reserving particular praise for the home support.
He said: “I have had international matches at Pittodrie with similar size crowds and not heard an atmosphere like last week. We did have two full crowds for two under-21 games and it was at that point I learned how supportive the crowds can be at Aberdeen.
“The support is terrific and there’s good will from the town to the team. I don’t know if their (Burnley) fans are capable of making as much noise as ours did and the display for Neale Cooper was exceptional.
“I thoroughly enjoy the privilege of being able to watch Aberdeen just now. Derek and Tony Docherty have the team playing exceptionally well and I look forward to every game, as I know we’re going to play good football. I agree with Derek that I think we’ll score down there – we’ve got players who can do it.”