The goal is the group stages but new Aberdeen captain Joe Lewis is looking no further than trying to lead his side into the second qualifying round of the Europa League.
The Dons fly out to Finland today with a slender lead following their 2-1 win against RoPS Rovaniemi in the first leg.
The tie should have been a formality for the Dons due to the number of chances they created but their rustiness in front of goal was evident and to rub salt in the wounds a collective switching off from the team defensively in the dying seconds of the game resulted in the visitors scoring a crucial away goal to make tomorrow’s second leg less straightforward.
Lewis, however, is ready for the second leg as his team tries to secure a second round meeting with either Fola Esch of Luxembourg or Georgian side Chikhura Sachkhere by coming through tomorrow’s tie, which will be played on an artificial surface, unscathed.
He said: “The aim is to get into the group stages but we won’t get ahead of ourselves as we will only look beyond this round by giving it our full attention.
“We’ve played on plastic pitches in this country so it’s not exactly alien to us and our away form last season was fantastic.
“Hopefully that means it won’t be an issue for us and it’s not a massively long journey so we will go out there with confidence.”
The capacity of Keskuskentta, RoPS home ground, is reduced to 2,000 for European competition meaning Lewis and his team-mates will not face an intimidating atmosphere in the Arctic Circle.
He said: “I’ve played a few games in poorer stadiums with small crowds and little atmosphere and it’s a different challenge.
“For example the game against Ventspils in Latvia felt like a pre-season friendly and maybe not even that.
“We usually get quite a few people at our pre-season games but over there it wasn’t many there and there was a running track round the ground.
“When that happens you have to generate the energy and enthusiasm for the game yourself but thankfully we have plenty of those sort of characters in the dressing room.
“Hopefully that will work for us as we know there won’t be many in the ground for the game.”
Tomorrow’s game is unlikely to be an intimidating one but Lewis, who is in his fourth European campaign with the Dons, but had it been it is unlikely he would have been fazed regardless.
After all, a trip to Finland and Rovaniemi does not hold the same sense of drama which Lewis faces two years ago when flares were twice thrown at him during his side’s 2-0 defeat to Apollon Limassol in Cyprus.
He said: “That happens in Europe some times and the flares landed right beside me on the pitch.
“You just have to make sure that you are fully focussed on the game and not what’s going on behind you in the stands.
“I didn’t register at the time, it was maybe a fraction afterwards that you realise what’s happened.
“I have never felt unsafe out there and it is more satisfying when you can come off having won the tie.
“Unfortunately that wasn’t the case in that game as they knocked us out on aggregate but the experience overall was enjoyable.
“I would much rather play in that sort of atmosphere than the games when there’s a track around the pitch and hardly anyone there to watch.”