Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass hailed first team coach Allan Russell’s set-piece preparation which led to two of the Dons’ three goals in their thrilling 3-2 win in the Conference League third qualifying round at Breidablik last night.
Christian Ramirez and Lewis Ferguson scored in the opening 11 minutes in Reykjavik from corners before the home side hit back to make it 2-2 at the break but another goal from American Ramirez at the start of the second half ensured the Dons will take a one-goal lead back to Pittodrie for the second leg next week.
Glass was delighted his assistant’s preparation paid off when it mattered.
He said: “We felt we could get joy there. The first one wasn’t down to aerial height. We had talked about it during the day. We didn’t have the chance to work it on the grass but the players showed a great understanding of what we wanted to do.
“Allan felt they would be aware of our aerial prowess so let’s try something different as they would be guarded against it and it worked.
“The second one was great movement and a great finish as well so we’re really happy. We’re especially pleased for Allan as he puts a huge amount of work into that side of the game so to get the rewards in a big game is great.”
Triple change was tactical
The early goals was just reward for the Dons’ impressive start but Glass felt he had to adjust his side for the second half after seeing the home team restore parity before the break.
Declan Gallagher was one of three changes as the manager switched to a back three and the Dons boss was pleased at the response of his players after the break.
He said: “Any time you go away in Europe and win you are happy. I still can’t find the word but we let them back in the game at 2-0 up when it should have been a little easier.
“They are a good team but our play let them get back into the game. I’m pleased with the response in the second half to the change in shape and the substitutes so we’re happy.
“We’re taking it back to Pittodrie with a big crowd hopefully and a lead which I don’t see us giving away.
“Anybody watching it could see the players looked a little leggy. The pitch was soft and with the travelling too you could see it. It’s an excuse but not one we want or need.
“Their tails were up at half-time but the response was great in the second half. We took the sting out of it, scored a goal really early and controlled the game from there.
“We had to change something and the changes were tactical. Our two young full backs were given a little bit of help by putting Declan in the centre of defence and it allowed us to have possession further up the pitch.”
Ramirez’s double means he has scored four goals in four games since his move from Houston Dynamo and Glass is happy to see his new signing make an instant impression on his arrival in Scottish football.
The Dons manager said: “I’m delighted for Christian on a personal level and delighted with him in terms of his workrate and how he is fitting in.
“You can tell he loves it. He loves it here, loves the city and the fans love him. It’s great for him and I’m really happy with how quickly he has settled.”