Kairat Almaty head coach Vladimir Weiss says a mammoth journey from Kazakhstan will not derail his side’s hopes of knocking Aberdeen out of the Europa League.
The Kazakh side hoped to arrive in Aberdeen around 1am on Wednesday but, following stops in Russia and Belgium, they did not check into their hotel until after 5am.
Tonight’s match against the Dons kicks off at 7.45pm – which is the middle of the night in Kazakhstan.
But Weiss, whose side have a 2-1 lead from the first leg, says his players are fully prepared for the encounter, despite stopping in Moscow and Ostend on their journey.
He said: “It’s a long way to come from Kazakhstan so we expected a long journey. It took us a little bit longer than we expected.
“The players were a bit tired but they relaxed during the day. I do not think there will be a problem, the players will be ready to play.
“The game will be at 1am Kazakh time but it won’t affect the players.”
Weiss is expecting a noisy Pittodrie with the game set to be a sell-out and has pinpointed Kenny McLean, scorer of the Dons’ crucial away goal in Almaty, as the danger man.
Weiss said: “We know all about Scottish football and the amazing atmosphere inside the stadiums. We have to be ready for it.
“We saw last week what they can do. They always seem to score. We have to be prepared for them.
“They have some good players but we have to look out for McLean. He is in good form with goals in his last three games.
Aberdeen will need to score if they are to progress to the play-off round but Weiss says his side have not come to Pittodrie to play out a goalless draw.
He said: “The supporters will see an amazing match. We are not going to just sit and defend. We will go out to play attacking football. The plan is to win.
Kairat’s Spanish forward Sito Riera will miss out but Ivory Coast forward Gerard Gohou could be poised to make a return from injury against the Dons.
The 26-year-old has scored 18 goals in 20 league appearances for Almaty this season but missed the first leg because of a knee injury.
Weiss added: “Riera has not travelled but Gohou is here. He looks well but we will see if he can play.”
Kairat Almaty vice-captain Mark Gurman says midfielder Bauyrzhan Islamkhan is more than capable of scoring another wonder goal at Pittodrie this evening.
Gurman said: “He tries to score from that range often – he doesn’t always score like last week, but he is capable of producing those moments.”