Midfielder Connor Barron insists Jack Milne’s first Aberdeen start in Finland proves patience pays off for Pittodrie’s rising stars.
Defender Milne was pitched in for his first ever start in the 2-2 Europa Conference League Group G draw with HJK Helsinki.
The 20-year-old Youth Academy graduate had made just four substitute appearances before his big break in Finland.
Dons boss Barry Robson haled Milne for an “outstanding” performance against the Finnish top flight champions.
Milne spent the second half of last season on loan in League One with Kelty Hearts.
Barron also spent time on loan at Kelty Hearts in 2021 before returning and becoming a key first team player.
And he has backed Milne to follow a similar path, saying he will “grow” from his first start in Finland.
Barron said: “Jack was really good (against HJK Helsinki) and it is great he made his first start.
“He has been great in training.
“Jack’s loans before have helped him and maybe he wanted to go back out on loan this season to get more minutes.
“But he’s been patient and he’s taken his chance now.
“It’s a decision a lot of the young boys have to make…do you go out on loan or do you be patient and wait for your chance to come.
“You never know which option will be best.
“But football always takes over and Jack has done well and taken his chance.
“He will grow from that.”
Comeback in Helsinki showed Dons’ character
The introduction of Milne was one of seven changes to the starting line-up by Robson from the 1-1 draw with Rangers.
HJK Helsinki’s Bolt Arena was battered by snow with temperature plummeting to -17C due to the wind chill factor.
Aberdeen initially struggled to cope with the harsh conditions and were 2-0 down after 33 minutes.
Barron reckons the Reds displayed their character by battling back to secure a draw.
He said: “It was very different to what I am used to.
“It was obviously very cold and then the pitch started to play its part too.
“We did all right at the end and the boys dug in and showed great character to come back and get the draw.
“We have got a lot of new boys who maybe haven’t had as many minutes as they would have liked.
“A couple of players (Milne and Pape Gueye) also made their first starts.
“It took us a bit of time to adapt to what we wanted to do but we were better when we did.”
MacDonald regularly scores stunning goals in training
Barron says MacDonald regularly bangs in stunning goals during training sessions.
He said: “There were words said at half-time because we all knew it wasn’t good enough in the first half.
“But Angus’ goal and Kelle Roos’ great saves kept us in the game and we bounced back.
“I’ve seen Angus do that in training a few times.”
Frustration at Euro group results
They will fight it out with HJK Helsinki in the battle to finish third in Group G.
The Dons have three points and conclude their Euro campaign with a home clash against Eintracht Frankfurt on December 14.
Barron is left with a sense of ‘what if’ from the Dons’ first European group stage campaign since the 2007/08 Uefa Cup.
The 21-year-old said: “All five games we should have got results in.
“But have got to take confidence from the performances we put in.”
No Euro hangover at Easter Road
Aberdeen now travel to Hibs in Premiership action on Sunday, less than 72 hours since facing HJK Helsinki in Finland.
The Dons have struggled to deliver league wins in the immediate game after Thursday Euro action.
With Aberdeen languishing tenth in the Premiership table Barron accepts there can be no Euro hangover at Easter Road.
He said: “We all know we have to bounce back from these European games and we haven’t done that previously.
“We need to be ready to go again.
“After Hibs we will have a lot of home games to look forward to.
“That will be nice as we haven’t had a lot of home games this season.”