ABERDEEN boss Derek McInnes last night backed his team to finish the job at Pittodrie after Kenny McLean’s precious away goal in their Europa League third-round qualifying tie first leg against Kairat Almaty in Kazakhstan.
The Dons had a torrid night in Asia and went two goals down early on with a couple of quality strikes as Kairat threatened to end the tie early. But the Dons showed plenty of battling qualities and were rewarded for an improved second-half display when sub McLean netted late on.
McInnes said: “We said before the game how important the away goal could be. It can prove pivotal. Every time we have managed to score an away goal, we have always progressed. I said to them at half-time, go and win the second half and I believe we will win the tie.”
The second leg is in Aberdeen next week and McInnes added: “If we play in the manner that we did in the second half for 90 minutes then I feel we have an excellent opportunity to get through.
“I think Kairat are still favourites because we have to score, but we know one goal could be enough. We will have 20,000 fans at Pittodrie and a squad of players who will do everything they can to qualify.”
McLean called on the Dons fans to roar their team into the play-off round.
He said: “Next Thursday’s going to be a big night for us. The crowd have got behind us in the European games so far and with our fans behind us again it can make a difference.
“Last week [in the previous round against Croats Rijeka] we got 17,000 and it was a massive factor.
“We’ve lost the game but we’ve given ourselves a great chance of moving forward.”
Kairat boss Vladimir Weiss said: “We managed to win the match but the only unfortunate thing for us is we should have won 3-0 or 4-0.”