No one at Aberdeen is burdened by our history in Europe – boss Stephen Glass

Aberdeen v BK Hacken – UEFA Europa Conference League – Second Qualifying Round – First Leg – Pittodrie Stadium
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass says no one at the club is burdened by the Dons’ history in Europe after they took another step towards the Europa Conference League group stage on Thursday.

A 2-0 loss away to BK Hacken in Gothenburg – the scene of the club’s European Cup Winners’ Cup success in 1983 – was enough to secure progress into the third qualifying round after a 5-3 victory on aggregate over the Swedish outfit.

The Dons face a two-legged tie with Iceland minnows Breidablik next month before a final play-off round to determine whether they can make the group stage of a European competition for the first time in 14 years.

Before Thursday’s clash with BK Hacken, plans were unveiled for a statue of former manager Sir Alex Ferguson to be built outside Pittodrie Stadium to honour his trophy-laden spell at the club between 1978 and 1986.

While this week brought Aberdeen’s past glory back into focus, current boss Glass insisted: “The club did great things in years gone past and the challenge is to continually reach those heights or get close to them again.

“Staff, players and people who work around the club, the challenge is to be the best we can be.

“I don’t think there is anyone here who has been burdened by what has happened in the past. It is to be celebrated and that is the reason for Sir Alex’s statue coming as well. I know him and his family are delighted about it.

“It was fortunate we were able to announce it in the manner we were back when there was a huge achievement for Scottish football, not just for Aberdeen.

“It is not a burden for anyone. It is an attraction for some players if anything. The ones we want at this club, the history of this club is an attraction and it is for myself as well.”

Aberdeen begin their cinch Premiership campaign on Sunday at home to Dundee United but will need to balance the opening weeks of the domestic season with at least two more Europa Conference League qualifiers.

While Glass is determined to help the club make forward strides in Europe, his immediate focus is the visit of the Tangerines.

“It would mean progress and it is something we want to do, but firstly we have this game on Sunday and that is the big focus,” the 45-year-old admitted when asked about making the Europa Conference League group stage.

“Obviously every club – St Johnstone, Celtic, Rangers, Hibs – we all want to progress in Europe and that is the challenge every year and to stay in it as long as we can for the good of the country next year.

“That is the aim for us next Thursday and we want to stay in the competition as long as we can.”

Glass replaced long-serving Dons boss Derek McInnes in March and has overseen a change in personnel this summer with Scott Brown, Christian Ramirez and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas moving to Pittodrie, while the likes of Tommie Hoban and Ash Taylor have departed.

The former Newcastle and Watford midfielder has not ruled out further signings, but is pleased with the group of players at his disposal after a positive pre-season.

He added: “We were able to do bits and pieces last season before the end of the season but you go into a group where you have not had any influence at all.

“You try to put your stamp on it with the rest of the staff and some of the players are receptive, but some have one foot out of the door already and some of them know it – so that is a challenge in itself.

“What I do feel we have got now is a group that is driven, motivated and wants to be here. I think you can see that in the performance level and the dedication they have given.”

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