Aberdeen know a goalless stalemate in the Cypriot heat will be enough to see them through to the play-off round of the Europa League, but Ryan Christie insists there’s no chance the Dons will play for a draw tomorrow
The Pittodrie side face Apollon Limassol in the second leg of the third qualifying round with a narrow advantage having won the first leg 2-1 against ten men.
Aberdeen can boast an impressive recent away European record under manager Derek McInnes, having won five games on the road since he took charge.
The most recent of them came last month when Aberdeen had to go to Bosnia and win after a disappointing goalless first leg against Siroki Brijeg.
The subsequent 2-0 win came courtesy of two glorious Christie assists to Greg Stewart and Gary Mackay-Steven and he also opened the scoring in both the Pittodrie first legs this season against Siroki and Apollon.
Christie is convinced there will be no need for Aberdeen to play for a draw in Cyprus because of the firepower they now boast at the club.
He said: “It’s different from Bosnia. When we went out there, we knew we had to score and it gives us more confidence this time knowing we are going over to Cyprus with a lead. It’s up to them to take the game to us because they need to get on the scoresheet.
“Don’t get me wrong, we are not going to sit back and let them attack, attack, attack. We have more than enough quality going forward to go and punish them on the counter-attack and we will go and try to dominate the game.
“It would mean everything to get through.There was an incredible atmosphere at Pittodrie, but when you are playing in it, you don’t really take it in. It’s only when you look back and think I want that atmosphere again.
“So to get it again we have to get through in Cyprus and then we go to try and win in the play-offs, which would get us to the group stages. It would be great to do that.”
Christie admits he is still learning about European football and has twice been a marked man this season – last week, Apollon’s Argentinian midfielder Esteban Sachetti was sent off for bodychecking Christie to the ground.
And he accepts there are plenty of differences between domestic and European football.
He said: “There are a few things. There’s more of an occasion to it in terms of the fans. The atmosphere (at Pittodrie) was incredible and it was a very special occasion. Football wise, it depends who you are playing against really.
“The last tie against the Bosnians was very tactical. We had to wait until 70-odd minutes until we got the breakthrough and that was credit to us. In terms of the Scottish game, there’s a bit more tackles flying in and it’s not like that so much in European football. I thought we handled it well and hopefully we can do the business this week and make our mark in European football.
“It was pretty physical and that’s a credit to us that we stood up to it. We managed to play around that.
“But we have to get the consistency to play for 90 minutes. There were definitely periods in that game where some of our fluency on the ball and our positivity was brilliant.
“Apollon were trying their best to make sure they were controlling the tempo of the game.
“So it was a credit to us that we managed to lift ourselves again and of course it was an incredible strike by Graeme Shinnie. So we did well to get back on top.”