Midfielder Jamie McGrath insists freezing Finland will be no problem for Aberdeen as Pittodrie can be just as cold.
Helsinki has been hit by heavy snowfall and bone-chilling temperatures ahead of the Dons’ Euro clash in the Finnish capital.
Aberdeen face HJK Helsinki in a Europa Conference League Group G clash at the Bolt Arena tonight.
More snow is forecast for game time with the temperature forecast to drop to -6C although that will feel like -14C due to the wind chill factor.
HJK Helsinki boss Toni Korkeakunnas sent Aberdeen defender Richard Jensen, his friend, videos of snowbound Helsinki as a warning of what to expect before the Reds jetted out to Finland.
Jensen showed those videos to his Dons team-mates.
However McGrath is confident Aberdeen will not freeze in Helsinki as they chase a first victory in the group stages.
The 27-year-old also reckons tonight’s game will not come close to how cold he felt in a match where the snow was so extreme he couldn’t see the ball – and his face and body went numb.
McGrath said: “Richard was showing us videos of what it’s like in Helsinki.
“It is pretty crazy but no different to training on Wednesday (at Cormack Park) when it was snowing.
“We are used to it.
“I played against Cork City with Dundalk at the start of the 2017 season during a storm.
“It was an astroturf pitch but it was covered in snow in the first half.
“I have never played in conditions like that as you couldn’t see the ball.
“In the second half it somehow cleared up but that first half was one of the hardest games I have have ever played.
“My face went numb, everything went numb.
“Even with St Mirren coming up to Pittodrie one winter it was crazy with the wind and the rain.”
Preparing for the big freeze
The Bolt Arena has an artificial pitch which allows the Finnish league champions the capacity to cope with extreme weather conditions.
McGrath said: “You just have to get yourself going in the warm-up, sprint around and get the heart rate up.
“Wrap up as best as you can. I won’t want to be wearing tights in the game but I’m sure a few boys will be doing that and gloves.
“Once the game kicks off I’m sure it will be alright.”
McGrath out to end Euro win drought
PAOK and Eintracht Frankfurt have secured the two qualification berths and will battle it out to finish top of the group.
The Dons have two points from four Group G games and are still searching for a first win in Europe this season.
McGrath aims to end that win drought in Helsinki tonight.
He said: “We want to hopefully finish the group with two wins if possible.
“It is going to be a very tricky game as we saw what Helsinki could bring at our place.
“They are a very tricky side with a lot of good players and internationals.
“We are going to have to be at our best to get three points but I’m hopeful we can do that.”
Midfielder hails ‘phenomenal’ fans
Republic of Ireland international McGrath was signed in the summer following his exit from League One Wigan Athletic.
He is relishing the European campaign and has hailed the “phenomenal” support of Aberdeen fans.
McGrath said: “Europe has been class.
“The first game was Hacken away and it was brilliant. We were disappointed not to go through (to the Europa League groups).
“The atmosphere at Pittodrie for that first home game was unbelievable.
“Then there were the big nights in the group stages against PAOK home and away and Frankfurt away which was unbelievable.
“The support we brought to PAOK and Frankfurt was phenomenal.
“That will live in my memory when I retire, playing in front of big crowds in big European games.
“That is where you want to be as a player. I feel privileged to be able to do that.
“We went to Frankfurt and went toe-to-toe with them which gives us great belief.
“The younger lads have learned so much as well in the last few games.
“Ruby (Slobodan Rubezic) is getting better and better each week and will continue to get better.
“Clarky (Leighton Clarkson) as well. They are still only starting their careers and Europe can only do them well.
“We have shown some really good performances and are disappointed not to be in with a chance of qualifying.”