ABERDEEN manager Derek McInnes is confident his side can progress to the next round of the Europa League despite being held to a goalless draw by Groningen in the first leg of their second qualifying round tie at Pittodrie last night.
McInnes believes the Dons’ impressive away form last season will stand them in good stead for the trip to the Netherlands next Thursday.
The draw for the third qualifying round takes place today and the Aberdeen manager is hopeful his side will still be involved by that stage.
“It’s not the worst result although we had hoped to win,” McInnes said. “I feel we don’t have to go over there and chase the game. We were very good away from home last year and they will know that. There is no fear about going over there.”
On a night when all three Scottish clubs were held to draws, St Johnstone will be the happiest of the trio. The Perth club impressed in a 1-1 tie in Switzerland with Luzern. Steven MacLean opened the scoring in the second half but Marco Schneuwly drew the Swiss level.
Tommy Wright, St Johnstone’s manager, declared himself happy with the result, particularly as he rated Luzern as better than Rosenborg, the Norwegian team Saints beat in last season’s Europa League.
“It was a tougher game than Rosenborg, particularly in the conditions,” said Wright as the temperature touched 32C. “We’re delighted to get a 1-1 draw but know how tough it will be next week.”
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall was left to rue his side blowing a two-goal lead against Stjarnan of Iceland in a 2-2 draw at Fir Park. New signing Josh Law scored twice in the first half for Well but a penalty in each half from Olafur Karl Finsen saw the match finish level, the equaliser coming in injury time.
“It’s all to play for now,” admitted McCall. “There’s still plenty of hope and I imagine it will be a similar game over there.”