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Derek McInnes dreaming of Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon

Rangers v Aberdeen – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes admits he is already looking past Europa League opponents FK Viking to a potential dream date with Sporting Lisbon.

The Dons manager usually preaches a one-game-at-a-time mantra but is ready to make an exception for the Portuguese giants.

Victory in Norway on Thursday night will book the Reds a third qualifying round trip to the Estsdio Jose Alvalade.

And McInnes wants to use the lure of a clash against the 18-time Portuguese champions to spur his team onto victory when they run out in Stavanger.

He said: “I think we’ve got to mention what’s waiting in the next round because it’s not every year you get to take on Sporting Lisbon.

“I think it’s a real prize for both teams to get through.

“I want to experience it as a manager, I want my players to play against a good side like them in that kind of environment.

“So absolutely it will be mentioned but clearly the job in hand is tomorrow night.

“We’ve always dealt with these games pretty well in terms of the focus from the team.

“It will be a tough game but that motivation is there for both teams to get through and take on a club like Sporting Lisbon.”

McInnes’ team have bounced back from losing their Premiership opener to Rangers, winning five games on the bounce.

They have shipped just two goals all season but face a Viking outfit who have steadied the ship after a slow start.

Bjarne Berntsen’s team have blasted 15 goals in their last five games but McInnes can see vulnerabilities in their ranks.

He said: “I’ve seen Viking play extremely well in certain games. They have not been as consistent as they’d like this season but their recent run of form has been a bit more healthy.

“They are sitting eighth in the league right now and have some good players.

“They certainly know how to score goals and have some good attacking threat, which are clear and obvious. We need to be aware of that.

“There can be a trade off with teams who are quite expansive and they can concede goals by leaving themselves a bit open.

“But Viking have scored more goals than they have conceded in their last 10 games so they a team who open up. Whether they’re that team tomorrow who knows?

“We feel we have an attacking threat too at the minute and it’s important we show that side tomorrow night.”