Ryan Hedges wants to make his European debut a night to remember tomorrow by ensuring Aberdeen get their Europa League campaign off to a winning start against RoPS Rovaniemi.
The Finnish club visit Pittodrie hoping to frustrate the Dons and keep the tie alive for next week’s second leg but Aberdeen winger Hedges is aiming to take control of the first qualifying round this week.
He said: “We are looking for a good first-leg performance to get the fans behind and to get a good result to take out to Finland.
“We are in the competition to get as far as we can. We will take it one game at a time and see how we fair. Hopefully, we can get a good result against RoPS at Pittodrie and when the second leg comes then hopefully we will know we are in the second round and then we can start looking to go again.”
Tomorrow’s match will be former Barnsley winger Hedges’s first in Europa and while wary of the Finnish club having the edge in terms of match fitness the 24 year-old is confident of a home win.
He said: “It will be a new experience for me and it was one which helped to sell Aberdeen to me. It was a major factor in my decision. You want to play in European competition and at the highest level and it is something that will boost my CV.
“It is a huge game and it will be the first game for all the new players at Pittodrie. It should be a great occasion for the club and hopefully we won’t take them too lightly, although I am sure we won’t.
“The manager will be doing his background work on them to get us best prepared for that game. I don’t know much about the Finnish team but I know they are mid-season and so they will be in better shape than us, with us being in pre-season.”
European football was a big attraction for Hedges but he was also urged to take the chance of a move to Pittodrie by Leicester City goalkeeper Danny Ward, who enjoyed a loan spell at Aberdeen while he was a Liverpool player in 2015.
Hedges said: “Before I came up I spoke to Danny, I am quite close to him and he said Aberdeen excelled his career.
“I know he did really well up here and it is probably one of the gaffer’s regrets that Danny was recalled to Liverpool in the January because they had a really good season and that was probably the year they got closest to Celtic and the title.
“Danny has said he will come back and visit and can’t wait to come up to Pittodrie to take in another game.”