Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin has challenged his rebuilt squad to get the club back into Europe.
The Dons failed to deliver Euro qualification last season having finished a lowly 10th in the Premiership.
This season will be the first time since 2014 the Reds have not competed in Europe.
Goodwin is in the process of an extensive squad overhaul to ensure it is a one season Euro blip.
The Reds’ gaffer has already secured six new signings and shelled out almost £1 million in transfer fees this summer.
Up to four more signings have still to be secured in the transfer window.
Goodwin says Aberdeen must challenge for third spot and Euro qualification in the upcoming season – at a minimum.
Goodwin said: “Europe is where this club belongs.
“It is the expectation of everyone involved.
“We have a budget now on a par with Hearts and Hibs and should be competing with them for third place – at a minimum.
“No doubt Robbie Neilson (Hearts manager) and Lee Johnson (Hibs manager) will be saying the same thing.
“Aberdeen want to be competing for Europe as the club is used to it.
“The club had a real blip last season but in previous seasons they have been in Europe.
“And that’s where I need to get them back to.”
Europe first, then impact Old Firm
Steering the Dons back into Europe is Goodwin’s initial target – although the ambitious manager’s next step is making an impact on Celtic and Rangers.
However he accepts after a disastrous season and major squad rebuild it is one step at a time.
He said: “How do we force our way in to impact upon the Old Firm?
“That has to be the next step.
“But look, we finished 10th in the league last year.
“So me talking about chasing down Celtic and Rangers right now is a little bit naïve I would suggest.”
Costly failure to deliver Euro action
Aberdeen delivered European qualification for seven successive seasons until the dismal 2021-22 campaign.
Stephen Glass paid for the crash in form and was axed in February with Goodwin appointed as his replacement.
During that extended Euro run from 2014 to 21 the Reds failed to reach the lucrative group stages.
They came within one round of reaching the UEFA Conference League groups.
However the Reds lost 4-1 on aggregate to Azerbiajan side Qarabag in the play-offs.
Missing out on European qualification last season was particularly costly.
Hearts are guaranteed continental action until Christmas and will pocket more than £3 million from Euro qualification.
The Edinburgh club, who finished third, qualified for the Europa League play-offs by reaching the Scottish Cup final.
They are just one two legged tie away from the lucrative Europa League group stages.
Should they lose that tie they will parachute down into the UEFA Europa Conference League group stages.
Signing players with Euro pedigree
Goodwin insists he has signed players with the pedigree to compete on the European stage… when it is secured again.
Miovski, 23, has been capped 10 times by North Macedonia and played in the shock 1-0 World Cup play-off semi-final defeat of Euro champions Italy in March.
Ramadani has been capped 15 times by Albania.
Goodwin said: “Bojan Miovski and Ylber Ramadani are both playing for senior international teams.
“Liam Scales has done it (Europe) with Shamrock Rovers and Celtic.
“We have brought in players who have that pedigree and have done it already.
“There are also players in the group who have that experience and are used to playing at the highest level.
“The rest of us would certainly like a taste of it (Europe), there’s no doubt about it.”
Ambition to manage in Europe
As part of a summer transfer window overhaul Goodwin has taken in six players and 14 have left Pittodrie.
It is all in a bid to get the club back on track, and back into Europe.
Asked if it is a personal ambition to manage in Europe, the former St Mirren and Alloa boss said: “Without a doubt, yes.
“Apart from on the international front when I was younger playing with Ireland I have never had that (European) experience at club level.
“Unfortunately all the clubs I played for were relegation contenders so the wrong end of the table for that kind of thing.
“I would love to be there.”
No squad overhaul next summer
Aberdeen will kick off the season with a Premier Sports Cup group tie away to Peterhead on Sunday.
It is the first time the Dons have been involved in the group stages following the tournament’s revamp.
Clubs involved in Europe do not play in the Premier Sports Cup group stages.
With an extensive rebuild of the squad still ongoing Goodwin insists being thrust straight into Europe this month could have been problematic.
However he is confident the Reds will be ready for Europe in summer 2023.
He said: “It would have been tough this season being involved in Europe because of the turnaround of players we have had.
“Hopefully next season when we do get there we will be far better prepared for it.
“And we won’t have this having to replace a dozen players- it will be four or five.”