Midfielder Dylan McGeouch warns Aberdeen aim to ‘attack’ the season to deliver European football.
McGeouch insists the assault must begin tonight at Pittodrie against league leaders Rangers.
After being denied a win at Ibrox by a controversial penalty decision in October, the midfielder is determined to go one better by delivering a win.
Aberdeen have qualified for European action for eight successive seasons.
McGeouch accepts securing continental action for a ninth straight year is the minimum requirement.
Currently sitting sixth in the standings, the 29-year-old insists the Reds are ready to rocket up the Premiership table.
McGeouch said: “We are ready to attack the second half of the season.
“If we can get a few wins together, we can build momentum and show we are a top side.
“The club has been in Europe for the last eight seasons in a row so that is the benchmark for us.
“At the start of the season you look at that (Europe) as the minimum because of where we have been.
“That’s where the club should be.
“There are always obstacles during the season, but our main objective is to go up that table and get into Europe.
“It won’t be easy because there are a lot of strong teams going for it.
“But hopefully, starting against Rangers, we can get a good run together and get up challenging for European spots.”
Midfielder looking up the table
Aberdeen have suffered a roller-coaster season, but McGeouch is convinced they are now on an upwards trajectory.
A return from four wins from the five Premiership fixtures in December elevated the Dons back into the top six.
Now, McGeouch is only looking up.
The Reds are just nine points behind third-placed Hearts.
He said: “We have ambitions and had a tough time earlier in the season, but we look like we are bringing it back again.
“We got ourselves back in the top six right before the break came, so we want to keep climbing the league now. Hopefully looking upwards instead of down the way.”
The frustration at drawing at Ibrox
Aberdeen came close to shocking the lead leaders in October when racing into a two-goal lead in the opening 15 minutes at Ibrox.
McGeouch delivered the pinpoint corner for captain Scott Brown to net the second goal with a diving header.
Ultimately, a contentious penalty in the 81st minute salvaged a draw for Rangers.
McGeouch insists the Dons were gutted not to leave Ibrox with three points.
He says the Reds will look to that game in Govan for proof of the levels they can achieve.
At Pittodrie tonight he is determined to go one better – by winning.
He said: “We can take confidence from the way we played at Ibrox.
“Going into that game, we probably weren’t at our best form and went there as massive underdogs.
👌🏼 The diving header.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) October 28, 2021
“We put on a great performance and were really unlucky not to come away with the three points.
“After the game, in the changing room, we were disappointed to take a point, which is credit to how well we did.
“The penalty was a bit soft, so we felt a bit hard done by.
“Now we want to go a step forward this time and take the three points.”
Back to fitness after injury problem
Due to a calf injury problem, McGeouch has not featured for the Dons since a 2-1 loss to Celtic on November 28.
Scotland international McGeouch suffered the injury in that narrow loss to the Hoops.
However, he is now back to full fitness and relishing the chance to face Rangers.
Ready for van Bronckhorst’s Rangers
The defending league champions have changed management since the Dons drew at Ibrox three months ago.
Steven Gerrard exited for English Premier League Aston Villa to be replaced by Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
Former Netherlands international van Bronckhorst, capped 106 times, played for Rangers between 1998 and 2001.
An ex-Barcelona and Arsenal midfielder, van Bronckhorst managed Feyenoord from 2015 to 2019, winning the Dutch Cup twice and the club’s first Eredivisie title in 18 years.
McGeouch is confident there will be no surprises tonight as the Dons have done their homework on Rangers under van Bronckhorst.
He said: “A new manager coming in will try to stamp his philosophy and how he wants to play.
“We have done our homework on them and hopefully have the game plan to use to our advantage.
“They are a different side to the way Gerrard had them in their play.
“It is all the same challenges as they are the same players really.
“We know they are a good team with depth, so if you are going to take three points from them you have to be at your very best.”