Aberdeen handed Europa League bye

Aberdeen have been handed a European boost thanks to the domestic failings of Ajax and Manchester United.

Derek McInnes will have an extra two weeks' preparation. Pic: SNS/Craig Williamson

Derek McInnes’ side won’t enter Europa League qualification until the second round rather than the first round as was expected, providing the Dons don’t give up six points and 20 goals in the remaining two games of the season. It will mean Aberdeen will have a further two weeks’ preparation.

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Following Feyenoord’s title win in Holland and Jose Mourinho’s side’s defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday neither Ajax or Manchester United, who face each other in the Europa League final next week, can qualify for the Champions League group stages through their league position. However, the winner of final will gain direct entry to the lucrative group stages, opening up a spot in the Europa League qualifiers.

Due to the complexities of Uefa’s qualifying system and coefficients it has worked in Aberdeen’s favour. Scotland are 25th in the Uefa rankings but the intricacy of the system means they move up one place, giving Aberdeen passage into the second round.

While Rangers and St Johnstone begin their European campaign on Thursday 29 June, Aberdeen won’t take to the field until Thursday 13 July. All three sides will learn their fate on Monday 19 June in Nyon, Switzerland, when the draw for the first two rounds takes place.