Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has dismissed Siroki Brijeg’s attempts to turn up the heat on his side in baking Bosnia by insisting they will face “hell” tonight in the Europa League.
The Dons must score in Herzegovina after a disappointing 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Europa League second qualifying round tie.
Stipo Markovic, the Siroki Brijeg scorer at Pittodrie, predicted this week Aberdeen would face a hellish atmosphere at the Pecara Stadium as they attempt to rescue the tie and reach the third qualifying round for the fourth year in a row.
The game will be played in boiling temperatures with the thermometer reaching 39C during the day and only dipping slightly by the evening kick-off.
But McInnes dismissed suggestions his players would be intimidated by the occasion. He reminded the Bosnians the Dons have a strong European pedigree recently away from home, with impressive wins at Rijeka and Groningen under the manager, as well as wins at Parkhead and Ibrox.
He said: “I’m terrified...not! We expect a noisy crowd. They have a passionate support for their club, but we have won at bigger European venues, we’ve won at Parkhead and Ibrox. The bigger the venue the more we relish the challenge.
“Rijeka’s pedigree before and since that game illustrates how big a performance it was for us. We’re going to have to withstand pressure and the heat will be a factor in how we approach the game. We will have to defend well as we did that night but it’s a game that is finely balanced.
“Their supporters and team will feel they’ve done the hard part in getting the away goal and it will be a disaster if they don’t go through but we’re confident we can get a result.
“I believe we can win the game and we’ll feel the benefit of having played the first game last week. Siroki looked match sharp and I felt that gave the advantage we had when we beat Groningen and Rijeka in the past, but I hope the extra week will give us enough to win the game.
“We’ve shown the ability in previous years and we don’t have to go gung-ho but we are confident we can score.”
And McInnes was delighted to tie up an extension to his Pittodrie deal this week, along with assistant Tony Docherty.
He said: “Continuity is important which is why Tony and I were delighted to sign an extension but the work continues on and off the pitch and I feel there is enough energy to deliver everything we want in terms of training facilities and the stadium. We’re happy in our work and happy to continue.”
Captain Graeme Shinnie, pictured below, is desperate to make up for last season’s European disappointment when Aberdeen crashed out to Maribor on his 25th birthday. And he’s sure his team mates can dig the Dons out of a hole.
He said: “Our confidence is high, everyone is looking forward to it and it is a game we want to be involved in. We wanted to do so well in the league last year so we could experience occasions like this and the boys are looking forward to the game.
“I don’t think the stadium and their fans could get worse than Maribor and the fans there so we know what we have to do to come here and get a result.
“It’s one I’m desperate for, to get through, but it will be tough.”