Aberdeen defender Ash Taylor believes continuity will be key to the Dons’ hopes of qualifying for the group stage of the Europa League for the first time.
Derek McInnes’s side will embark on their seventh straight Europa League campaign with the aim of reaching the group phase of the campaign for the first time in the manager’s Dons tenure.
With only one player departing the club – defender Greg Leigh – and Jonny Hayes returning to Pittodrie, there is a feeling of familiarity about the squad and Taylor, pictured, believes that should give the players confidence.
He said: “We’re not rebuilding like the past few seasons.
“That will be important. It will be a massive benefit in terms of the club and the squad. In the circumstances we’re in at the minute it will be a big benefit.
“I felt we were hitting our stride before the season was called so it will benefit us as a squad to have the same players here now.”
The Dons qualified for the Europa League as a result of their fourth-place finish in the Scottish Premiership.
Taylor believes third would have been secured had the season not been brought to a premature end but he insists the Dons have room for improvement this term.
He said: “It was frustrating the Motherwell game was called off then the season was called off later on. I thought we were hitting our stride, picking up form at the time and it would have been nice to finish third.
“We were hitting patches during the season and not hitting our full potential. We have to push as hard as we can and try to finish as high as we can in the league.
“Hopefully we can get the Scottish Cup semi-final played and try to win a trophy.”
A new campaign will bring a former team-mate back to Pittodrie
with Mark Reynolds, Taylor’s former central defensive partner, set to grace the Premiership again as captain of Championship winners Dundee United.
Taylor is relishing the return of Reynolds and the New Firm derby fixture to the Scottish football calendar.
He said: “He’s a good lad Reynolds and I’m glad he is settled and playing regular football.
“He’s captain there which doesn’t surprise me with the type of character he is.
“It will be good to see him back in the Premiership. It
has always been a good
fixture and I enjoyed playing there so it will be good to have it back.”