Aberdeen Results & Scores
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Aberdeen are guaranteed a top-four finish this season after beating Livingston to the tune of 2-1 last weekend and with three points separating them from third-placed Hibernian and the Dons having a far-inferior goal difference to the Leith side, this is the best they will achieve this season. As such, Stephen Glass’s men will lead his men into the second qualifying stages of the newly-established UEFA Conference League nest term after seven seasons in the Europa League. There they will find themselves up against the likes of Spartak Moscow, Basel, Standard Liege, Feyenoord, Sparta Prague, Apollon Limassol and Astana.
This competition was created by Europe’s football governing body in an attempt to offer clubs of smaller nations a chance to make it through to lucrative group stages of international competitions. In theory this should be good news, however is it really easier than the Europa league?
The smaller nations may well have more in the way of representation but this certainly won’t be a tournament for minnows. There will still be some pretty big hitters from some major European leagues, even in the earlier qualifying rounds and the Dons could find themselves up against clubs such as Feyenoord who have previously won the UEFA and European Cups.
If Glass’s men make it beyond the third qualifying round of the new competition, they could be in line for a meeting with some big hitters in the play-offs. The clubs who would qualify for the play-offs of the UEFA Conference League on account of their current league positions would include Liverpool, Lazio, Bayer Leverkusen and Real Betis. Certainly not a competition for minnows then!
Aberdeen will be guaranteed a place in the newly-formed UEFA Conference League qualifiers should they manage to avoid defeat in their weekend meeting with Livingston, however failure to do so would leave them hoping for slip-ups from the sides behind them. The Dons’ closing two games are against third-placed Hibernian and champions Rangers, therefore they can’t be confident of taking much from those two outings.
Nevertheless Stephen Glass is confident that his men can do what is asked of them at the weekend and rightly so given that the Dons have been enjoying some excellent form throughout the season. Indeed the Aberdeen manager reckons that continental action will assist his new-look squad in becoming stronger next term. Glass has plans to overhaul his squad in time for the 2021/22 campaign and his principal aim is to have his main targets available for pre-season training in July. This training will launch earlier for the Dons should they, as expected, qualify for the second qualifying round stages of Europe’s third-tier club competition which get underway on July 22nd.
This will be Aberdeen’s eighth successive season in European qualifiers, however this season only the winner of the Scottish Cup enters the competition at the advanced play-off round and the Dons exited this cup tournament at the hands of Dundee United.
The UEFA Conference League may be the poor relative of the Europa league and Champions League but Stephen Glass is very much of the opinion that it is hugely important for his men to be involved.
He said: “It has almost gone back to the days when it was the Cup Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Cup, there is a constant rebranding going on.
“It offers us the chance to play in Europe, and offers the chance for us to push what we do as a club which is great as well.
“European football is a great experience for players to play in as it can help help them become better footballers.”