Derek McInnes has warned his players not to expect FK Ventspils to provide the sort of feeble opposition Aberdeen encountered the last time they faced Latvian opposition.
In the Dons manager’s first European tie in charge of the club two years ago, they comfortably disposed of Daugava Riga by an aggregate score of 8-0 that was in no way flattering.
The team currently third in Latvia’s top league provide the opposition at Pittodrie tomorrow for their latest Europa League qualifying tie with McInnes anticipating a much sterner test.
He insists there is no comparison between those teams in terms of quality as Ventspils have bags of experience to draw on as they are competing in continental competition for an 18th successive season.
Of course Aberdeen supporters of a certain vintage will remember their team losing to Skonto Riga despite having the likes of Theo Snelders, Duncan Shearer and Billy Dodds in the team back in 1994.
More pertinently for McInnes, losing the second leg of the previous round against Luxembourg minnows SC Fola Esch just last week means he is determined there will be no slip-ups now.
He said:“Ventspils deserve loads of respect. They are way ahead of what Daugava Riga were.
“They have several Latvian internationals in their team, they have Girts Karlsons up front who has over 50 caps and has scored ten goals in the last 12 matches.
“They have really capable players, are sitting third in their league and score a lot of goals.
“They are a team used to winning so I think there’s no comparison to the last Latvian opposition we had.
“They have a very good home record and although they lost that last weekend, that’s the sign of a confident team.
“The tie won’t be decided on this first leg, it will be decided across there, so the aim is for two positive performances.
“You have to bring two strong performances in Europe against anyone. The Fola Esch game showed that.
“We were lucky to get through and it’s a reminder that if you have one bad performance in Europe then there’s a good chance you’ll go out.”
Niall McGinn returns for the tie after being rested in last week’s 1-0 defeat in Luxembourg and Miles Storey is set to make his competitive debut at some stage.
The former Inverness Caledonian Thistle striker played in the 4-2 win away to East Fife on Sunday and his addition, along with Jayden Stockley, gives McInnes plenty of attacking options.
He added:“Miles is a bit short of fitness because he’s only had 60 minutes against East Fife but it’s good to have another option.
“We have been too reliant on Adam Rooney in the past and it hit home when he got injured last season.
“A club like Aberdeen should have more options. Other clubs have it, so we are delighted to have brought in Miles and Jayden Stockley.
“Jayden has really impressed me so far. He brings a physical presence to the team.
“In the past we have been dominated physically a bit at the top end of the pitch but he will get things going our way.
“He’s dangerous in the box, good in the air, has great movement and feeds off crosses.
“He adds something different to the team and, along with Miles, we have a good mix there now.”
Meanwhile, Willo Flood is due to complete his return to Dundee United this week and will be joined at Tannadice by Aberdeen midfielder Cammy Smith who is moving on loan.