Fired-up Aberdeen midfielder Connor Barron insists he will not be fazed by the hostile atmosphere in Greece.
Instead, the 21-year-old is confident he will thrive in the red hot environment against Europa Conference League Group G leaders PAOK.
The Dons are set to face the Greek Super League club in Thessaloniki on Thursday.
PAOK’S 28,000 capacity Toumba Stadium has a formidable reputation as an intimidating venue – driven by the passionate ultras in Gate 4.
Fellow Scottish Premiership side Hearts were destroyed 4-0 in Thessaloniki by PAOK in the Europa Conference League play-off earlier this season.
PAOK also beat German giants Eintracht Frankfurt, the 2022 Europa League winners, 2-1 at home in the group last month.
Barron said: “That is the atmosphere you want to be playing in.
“In Scotland you have it at Ibrox, Celtic Park and also at Pittodrie.
“It is something I thrive off of.
“We really need to take it in our stride in Greece.”
Days to process Aberdeen’s painful loss to PAOK
Aberdeen need to overturn the odds at the Toumba Stadium to secure a win that would keep alive slim hopes of progressing from the groups.
PAOK top the table with a flawless return of nine points from their opening three matches.
Beating the Dons at the Toumba Stadium would secure PAOK’s qualification for the knock-out phase.
In contrast Aberdeen have taken just one point from the opening three Group G matches.
It could have been a far different scenario had Aberdeen not blown a two goal lead against PAOK at Pittodrie in the previous group game.
Barron admits the shock, and significance, of that loss took days to fully register.
However the midfielder is over that pain and insists the Dons can take confidence from the first 70 minutes against PAOK.
And learn valuable Euro lessons from the late collapse.
Barron said: “That loss to PAOK was hard.
“It was mental. And it didn’t really settle in until a few days after.
“When you play against top teams and top players every time you give the ball away you know you are going to get punished.
“Unfortunately we just switched off at crucial points in the game and it cost us in the end.
“As players we know we should have seen that game out.
“PAOK are top, top team and one of the best in Greece.
“We can take confidence from going two goals up against them.
“And from the way we played in the first 70 minutes.
“We use that confidence in Greece.”
Connor Barron learning from Euro matches
Barron has been rejuvenated this season after the 2022-23 campaign was derailed by injury setbacks.
The Aberdeen Youth Academy graduate suffered a knee injury in a pre-season friendly last summer that ruled him out for four months.
Then later in the campaign he was troubled by a pelvic problem that needed surgery, wiping out another three months.
Now back to full fitness Barron played a key role in the recent game against PAOK.
He believes his performances are reaching higher levels by facing top teams like the Greeks and Eintracht Frankfurt.
Barron said: “I 100% feel like my game is improving in Europe.
“When I go away with the Scotland U21s we play against players who perform in these leagues week in week out.
“So I can kind of relate in that sense because the players we are playing against are quite similar.
“The way these teams try to play football in Europe suits me as well.
“I like to test myself against the best players out there.
“We have dealt with the teams really well but have just been unlucky in the games that we did not get the results we should.
“If you look at the Hacken game, Helsinki, PAOK and Frankfurt- every game we played we should have got a result.
“We have just been unlucky.
“We can take confidence from the performances but now it is about taking the positives, and negatives, and getting results.”
Importance of travelling Red Army
The Red Army have travelled to the port city of Thessaloniki in their hundreds to cheer on their team.
Aberdeen fans partying in Frankfurt ahead of their Uefa Conference League clash. More than 2,000 strong Red Army out here in Germany @AberdeenFC @Eintracht #aberdeenfc #UEFA pic.twitter.com/hKAKPvk5NH
— Sean Wallace (@EESeanWallace) September 20, 2023
Barron said: “Our fans help as they follow us all over and into Europe.
“We can really use that and take it onto the pitch.”