Pitch perfect: Whole different ball game for Glass' Aberdeen at Pittodrie Europa Conference crunch
Stephen Glass is preparing for a whole different ball game in Aberdeen’s return leg with FK Qarabag – and not simply because the away goals rule change casts the Dons two-legged play-off tie in a new light.
Indeed, he believes the surface at Pittodrie will make the second leg look like a different sport compared to the football attempted in Azerbaijan last week which saw Andy Considine injured as the Dons went down 1-0.
However, Glass has warned his side may not be the only beneficiaries from the improved conditions at Pittodrie.
"It will suit both teams,” said Glass of the surface. “It might look like a different sport! Their manager is very good and has his team playing very attractive football, but they couldn’t do it on their pitch either.
“Sometimes you go away in Europe and you hear they’re doing things to the pitch because it suits them. I don’t think there’s any part of that from them."
“I think it will benefit them, and it’ll benefit us and you’ll see a much more attractive game of football. There is going to be a great crowd there as well and we’re looking forward to it.
The Dons simply have to win. Any margin guarantees them, at least, extra-time and penalties with the away goals rule no longer effective.
"There are going to be winners and losers and if we win 2-1 we wouldn’t be knocked out. So it feels beneficial to us, that the away goals rule has gone but it could probably happen to us at some point in the coming years too,” added Glass.
“We are in a position that is do-able against a good team. We are not going into it thinking if the other team plays well we’re done. We believe even if Qarabag play well we still have an opportunity to win. We are not going in fearing anything, we are respecting them, but we’re very hopeful we can do the club justice and the public coming to watch, justice.”
Glass has stood by his opinions that the pitch last week contributed to Andy Considine’s injury. The Scotland defender had cruciate ligament surgery earlier this week which will rule him out for a large portion of the season. That opens the door for Ross McCrorie and Declan Gallacher and club captain Joe Lewis says there is added incentive in light of Considine’s plight for the team to secure group stage football for the first time since Considine and his then team-mates did it in 2007/08.
“He’ll be cheering us on as much as anyone. While he won’t make the game, I’m sure he’ll be watching it on his computer, supporting us 100 per cent.
“I’ve spoken to him about the team which got through to the last 32 [in 2007/08]. Anyone who spends time with Andy loves to pick his brains and he’s one who can pass that experience on.
“There is disappointment for him personally and for the team. It’s clearly a blow but Ross and Declan are more than capable of filling that void.
"They’re a good team, we know that. But we’ve played against good teams over the last two rounds and we like to think we have a few things that can worry them.”
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