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Adam Rooney: Dons will keep calm and keep winning

Aberdeen's Adam Rooney uses a neat backheel to score his second goal against Riga, his side's fifth on the night. Picture: SNS

Aberdeen's Adam Rooney uses a neat backheel to score his second goal against Riga, his side's fifth on the night. Picture: SNS

ADAM ROONEY insists Aberdeen will have to be as focused and disciplined in Riga this Thursday, as they were when FK Daugava literally tried to kick them out of the Europa League in the first leg at Pittodrie.

Realistically the tie is already over after an impressive 5-0 win for the Dons, during which Rooney scored twice, and Derek McInnes can start planning for the second qualifying round against Dutch side Groningen.

The only problem for the Aberdeen manager is how the Latvian side approach the return after the brutal way they conducted themselves during that humiliating defeat.

French referee Nicolas Rainville sent one of their backroom staff to the stand in the second half but it was the lack of self control by their players on the field that was most unnerving.

A total of two red cards and seven yellow ones was the least they deserved for some shocking challenges and it was fortunate that only Peter Pawlett suffered an injury on the night.

Aberdeen’s players can be proud of the way they kept their cool under extreme provocation, with only Rooney picking up a booking for going in a little late on their goalkeeper in the first half.

Now the main aim in Riga is to stay just as sanguine if FK Daugava resort to similarly aggressive tactics, as Rooney doesn’t want anything to jeopardise their chances of when it comes to the inevitably tougher challenges ahead.

He added: “Thankfully nobody got any serious injuries so we’ll just have to look after ourselves over there and make sure we don’t get any bookings.

“The discipline in our team is fairly strong and there is a lot of experience in the group with players like Russell Anderson, Willo Flood and Barry Robson there.

“Willo is usually the angry one but even he kept his head in the game so there is enough experience to make sure the young lads don’t get caught up in anything.

“Especially when you are winning the game as comfortably as we were, there is no need to get caught up in things.

“We had done a lot of homework on them before the first game, we knew all about their style of play and we took advantage of their weaknesses.

“Now we need to do that in Riga.We have to be professional, we have to make sure we work hard again and the manager will have us well drilled to get a good result.

“There’s no point approaching it as though we are through already as that’s how teams get done.”

Rooney’s double took his tally to three in the Europa League, as the striker scored for Birmingham City in their group stage win against Maribor two years ago.

It was a bitter-sweet experience for the Irishman, though, as the Midlands side missed out on progressing to the knockout stage on goal difference.

Now he is confident Aberdeen have the quality to negotiate the four rounds of qualifying to make it to the more meaningful stage of the competition and go some way towards redeeming their reputation in Europe.

He added: “Getting the win against Daugava was the main thing and it would be a massive thing for the club to get to the group stage given its history in Europe.

“We worked hard to qualify for this competition and now we want to make sure that we progress as far as possible.

“The good thing at Birmingham was that we only had one qualifying game to get through to the group stage instead of the four it will take us.

“I played in most of our group games and it was a great experience that I would love to get again with Aberdeen, especially for the fans, as we will take a few to Riga but the further we go the more will follow us on the adventure.”

 

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