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Slobodan Rubezic speaks of Montenegro pride and special Euro nights with Aberdeen

The defender pinpoints the Dons' 3-1 victory at Ibrox as the biggest career victory so far.

Slobodan Rubezic is revelling for Aberdeen. Image: Shutterstock.
Slobodan Rubezic is revelling for Aberdeen. Image: Shutterstock.

Defender Slobodan Rubezic says playing for Aberdeen commands respect far and wide as he aims to build upon his international debut with Montenegro.

The 23-year-old defender was called up recently for Montenegro, thanks to his mother being born there, and he made his debut in a 3-2 friendly win against Lebanon.

The summer signing from Serbian side FC Novi Pazar spoke to RedTV about making that proud career breakthrough.

He said: “The most important thing in your career is when you make your debut for national team.

“You wear that badge on your chest and there is a big weight on your back when you play for the national team.

“You represent a country. You play strong countries and try to qualify for World Cups or European Championships. It’s special.

“My mum is from a city (called Niksic) in Montenegro. When I was growing up as a youngster, we’d have four months off during the summer, and we’d always go to visit her brothers and sister. Me and my sister grew up there and we like to spend time there.

“I chose Montenegro because I like and wanted to play more for Montenegro than Serbia – that’s my choice. It was an easy decision.”

And when asked whether playing for the Dons boosts his international chances, he added: “Aberdeen is a big club with a big history. You get respect when you play for Aberdeen.

“Everybody knows the club because of Sir Alex Ferguson.”

‘We will be 100% ready for PAOK’

Rubezic and his Dons team-mates are gearing up for Thursday’s must-win home Conference League Group G tie against PAOK from Greece, who have two wins from two.

Aberdeen lost 2-1 to Eintract Frankfurt in Germany before being held to a 1-1 home draw against HJK Helsinki in their first two group matches..

Locking horns on the biggest stages puts a smile on Rubezic’s face.

He said: “These are games you dream for. When you are little, you dream about the Champions League, but this is the same – where you are playing against top teams.

“PAOK are a top team in Greek football. They have a big budget for players and top-level players, including a few players who have played in the (English) Premier League or Championship.

“It’s good to clash with them and to see where you are. I think we can win.

“We have looked at how they play, at their strengths and weaknesses. We will be 100% prepared for that game, to try and win at home and get three points.

“European games are much different to league games.

“In European games, you want to show you are a good team and you can win against anybody.

“Every game is open, you can win or lose.”

Strong support bowls Rubezic over

Sampling a packed Pittodrie ahead of hosting Helsinki recently will also live long in the memory of the stopper.

He added: “You will remember that for the rest of your life.

“When I have kids, I can show them the people and fans here are amazing.

“Before the game, the supporters had the display in the Richard Donald Stand. It was perfect.

“When I talk with my family and my agent, I tell them it’s not possible for so many people from Aberdeen would go to Ibrox to watch the game.

“It was the same away to Eintracht Frankfurt – it’s a long way to go to Germany.

“These are the reason why this club is big, because we have strong support to go all around the world, even if we play somewhere far away. It’s perfect – you feel better.

“When you win, you can celebrate with them. It’s perfect.”

Aberdeen’s Slobodan Rubezic. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson.

Rubezic sees early signs of progress

And Rubezic is also feeling more and more settled with his defensive team-mates, who with most of the first-choice backline also joining the club this summer.

He said: “Everybody can see I enjoy it. I appreciate and respect Richard (Jensen) and Stefan (Gartenmann), who play next to me ,and it’s the same with Nicky (Devlin) and (goalkeeper) Kelle (Roos).

“They have experience and every time they talk with you, they say: ‘You do this, maybe it’s better to do this’. I always listen to them and have their advice in my head.

“We started playing and understanding each other pretty fast.

“Stefan and I have the same friend from Serbia, a goalkeeper who played with him in Denmark, so from the first day we started talking about that guy.

“I didn’t know Stefan or Richard, but if everything goes well on the pitch then outside the pitch, it’s perfect.

“The most important thing is I have respect for both of them and they have respect for me. They were really happy for my national team call-up.”

Aberdeen’s Slobodan Rubezic and Helsinki’s Lucas Lingman in action during a Europa Conference League group match at Pittodrie. Image: SNS.

Ibrox triumph tops the lot so far

Last month’s stunning 3-1 Premiership win at Rangers has been the high point so far for Rubezic, who feels it can act as a launchpad for the side.

He added: “Against Rangers was the biggest win of my career. I was so happy.

“I will remember that all my life.

“It was a hard game, but we knew we needed to win to change our season because we didn’t start (the season) well.

“It changed once we beat Rangers and we’ve played well after that. We didn’t have luck against Helsinki or St Johnstone.”