Derek McInnes will celebrate his 300th competitive game as Aberdeen manager tomorrow but insists it is the club’s standing in Europe and domestically which really counts.
The Dons boss is delighted to celebrate reaching the milestone and it the crucial game is a defining one as McInnes bids to lead his team to the group stages of the Europa League for the first time in six successive attempts.
McInnes, who signed a two-year contract extension last week, said: “It is a milestone which most managers don’t get to and there are probably a few who say I shouldn’t have got to it, but I’m delighted to have racked up so many games.
“We’ve come a long way on and off the park. I’ve got a good thing going here with my staff and the chairman is very supportive of that. My staff is in place and everything is here to continue our good work.
“We’ve got a motivated group of staff and players and I can only see the club, and results on the pitch, improving.
“By and large there has been a lot more satisfying performances from different squads. The objective has always been to try to win and we all know who we represent. In the next 50 or so games this season we can show we can still be a successful team.
“The objective is to win this game on Thursday but also to try to get to the group stages of this competition both for the financial aspect but also the respectability of the club.
“We’ve been in the Europa League for the last six years and hopefully we can make that step but you need luck in terms of the draw and on the night at times.
“If we can get through this tie, and I’m reluctant to look too far away, hopefully we can do well this year.”
Aberdeen head to Finland today for their Europa League first qualifying round second leg against RoPS Rovaniemi with a 2-1 lead following last week’s first leg at Pittodrie.
New signings Craig Bryson, who is recovering from an ankle injury, and Funso Ojo, who is ineligible, will both miss out but McInnes hopes they can make their debut for the club in the second round next week should Aberdeen progress tomorrow.
He said: “We hope we’ll have Ojo and Bryson fit for the next round but we’ve got this job to do first in Finland.
“We showed on the night we were the better side but no two games are the same. They’ll be more comfortable on their pitch but we are used to artificial pitches and we’re focused on putting in a performance which is good enough to win the game.
“I take confidence from the fact the performance was good on Thursday and we created a lot of opportunities. If we do that again hopefully we can take a few more of them and the importance of scoring away from home is clear.
“Hopefully we can do that and try to settle the tie as we understand the importance of progressing in Europe.”