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Match Preview | Aberdeen v BK Hacken
Competition: Europa Conference League second qualifying round
Match: Aberdeen v BK Hacken
Kick Off: 19:45
TV Coverage: RedTV PPV GB & Ireland – PPV Rest of the world (excluding Sweden) – RedTV International – For full details and to purchase a match pass, please click here.
The manager sat down with the media on Tuesday lunchtime to preview our first game of the season.
Watch the manager’s pre match press conference on RedTV.
Fans Back at Pittodrie
“Anytime you hear a game is sold out it is brilliant.
“The fans giving us that backing is brilliant. I think the players will really respond.
“It is testament to the work that the people at the club have put in. A lot of planning went into it, numbers were not just plucked out of the air. Paul Hendry (Stadium Manager) and his team at Pittodrie were putting plans together for different numbers and different scenarios.
“We know what has gone into being able to get people into the stadium. We are grateful for everybody that has allowed it and now we are looking forward to the excitement of playing in front of people again.
“It will be a big difference having the fans in the stadium. The players need the pressure of having people in the stadium, they need the pressure of the noise and what it creates and the extra drive that it gives you. It has been noted for a number of months that the fans have been sorely missed, especially for us and our fans. It is up to the players now to put on a show for them and to keep them wanting to come back.
“There is a definite hunger and desire for people to go and watch things and to go to events. It is important as a club and as a team that we produce something that people want to come and watch. I do believe that there is an opportunity to get people to come back if there is something that they want to see. It is important that we can capitalise on that situation that has arisen.
“I am really proud to be leading Aberdeen in front of fans and into this campaign. It feels different managing in front of fans as well. I had a similar experience in the States where there was no one and then they allowed fans in.
“It almost feels like a second start because there is people around and people are watching. It is a different drive and a different demand but there is also a different excitement when we win. That is what we want to focus on, to give the fans what they want to see and that is a winning team.
“There was an opportunity to change things in the summer. You get limited opportunities to change things at any time as a manger. It would have been amiss of me if I didn’t take the opportunity to make changes. It would have been very easy for me to keep everyone around, perhaps it would have been the easy option and then in September/ October time you are thinking we should have made changes and I should have trusted myself.
“As a staff we made decisions. Some of them were hard decisions because good servants for the club have left. We believe we have added to the group, and we believe we have got a stronger group for the changes that we have made.
“The changes that we made will also help the young players which is also very important. We brought good experience in but these are all players that want to be here, they want to be apart of Aberdeen and they want to help the system at the club which is bringing through the young players.
“At the moment we are there with the squad. Anytime you ask a manager if they want to add to their squad the stock answer is that they want to bring in players and they want better players. I don’t think that will ever change.
“We are happy with the squad at the moment, we would always like to add but despite always wanting to add we are very happy with what we have got.
“If you look at Scottish football over the last 10/15 years there is one player who has shined as the ‘ultimate leader’ and we are fortunate we have him at the club as part of the playing and as part of the coaching staff.
“I think it is a missed opportunity if Scott is not the captain and leading the team here. It is an easy decision; it is a decision that Joe is fully on board with. We are not stripping the captaincy off of someone, we are adding to the group. Joe and with his love for the club knows what this is and we are pleased with the decision. We are now looking forward to the action starting.
“We are expecting a difficult game. They have won three games in a row under their new manager. What that does is it highlights to the outside and to the players that this is not an easy game. It heightens everyone’s awareness that this is a dangerous game. As a staff we have presented things to the players that can win us the game and what can lose us a game. We are well prepared. We are not concerned that they are mid-season, we are more concerned with what we can do.
“The fact that we can do research on their previous games doesn’t mean that they are going to play the same way. The fact that they have been successful recently means that we think they will play the same. You can always be wrong when you are evaluating and analysing other teams.
“They cannot see what we have done. Everything has been in house and controlled by us. The training has been controlled, the matches have been controlled, the systems that we are going to play have been controlled. If that is a slight advantage, then we will be trying to make the most of it.
“We have got a full squad, and everyone is fit and available for selection.
“Ross will play a number of positions for us this season. He is capable of playing right back, centre back or centre midfield. We will see when the team comes out on Thursday night where he is playing. He is a very good young player.
“You would always prefer to be away from home first because then you come home, and you know exactly what you have got to do. It is up to us to take advantage of being at home in the first game.
“We know what is coming on Thursday night and we look forward to it.”
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REPORT | Dons put on a show in front of the Red Army
ABERDEEN 5 BK HÄCKEN 1
UEFA Conference League Qualifying Round 2, First Leg
Thursday 22nd July 2021
Ref: José Luis Munuera Montero
An outstanding Aberdeen display on one of those special European nights, back in front of the fans in full voice, put Stephen Glass’ side firmly into the driving seat ahead of next week’s second leg.
A new era began in bright sunshine at Pittodrie this evening, the start of Stephen Glass’ first full campaign in charge with, at long last, the return of the advance guard of the Red Army to the old stadium. The manager gave Aberdeen debuts to new team captain Scott Brown, Christian Ramirez and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas from the off. New signings Teddy Jenks and Jack Gurr were on the bench, Declan Gallagher suspended for the game.
Brown set the tone from the off, chasing a lost cause the length of the field in the first minute, an early indication of the drive he is going to bring to the Dons. Häcken pressed in the fourth minute, Bengtsson intercepting a ball out from Brown and bearing down on goal, Jonny Hayes coming across to block the shot.
Considine collected the game’s first yellow card on six minutes, blocking off a run by a Youssef and conceding a free-kick 20 yards out. Walemark’s shot at goal was headed away by Emmanuel-Thomas in the wall. The Swedes had made a bright start, looking like a team a dozen games into their season with the sharpness that brings.
Aberdeen had their first look at the opposition goal on 15 minutes, Funso Ojo playing the ball across the top of the box to Ryan Hedges who laid the ball back to Lewis Ferguson, but his shot from 25 yards flashed over. Four minutes later, Calvin Ramsay’s corner found Emmanuel-Thomas at the back post but at full stretch, he put his header over the bar as the Dons began to get into their stride.
Ferguson certainly found his range in the 25th minute, spearing a right foot drive at goal from 25 yards out, the ball flying beyond Abrahamsson only to smash against the foot of the post and bounce to safety.
Ojo was next to come close on 27 minutes, a Considine clearance finding Emmanuel-Thomas. He held the ball up well, then slid it into the path of Ojo, galloping forward at inside-left. Advancing on goal, the goalkeeper stood up well and saved at the near post. From the corner Emmanuel-Thomas headed the ball back across the face, Hedges and a defender getting a touch on it as it went behind for another corner.
That second corner did the trick though on 28 minutes. Ramsay’s ball cross to the back post found Considine, who came driving on to the ball and deposited a powerful header into the back of the net, Considine celebrating goal 41 for the Dons every bit as passionately as any that had come before.
Aberdeen might have been two up on 31 minutes, Ojo first into the box, flicking the ball over the defender and into space but not quite able to get a convincing shot away. The ball found its way to Hayes on the left and his centre was met by a powerful Ramirez header, Abrahamsson juggling the ball before completing his save. Certainly the visitors were creaking now under an incessant Aberdeen assault.
Ferguson was on the chase forward on 38 minutes, bursting into space before chipping the ball forward for Hedges, but his header from 14 yards was well dealt with by the goalkeeper.
Ojo was again in with a chance on 40 minutes, Ferguson in behind and pulling the ball back across goal, Ojo not quite able to fetch the ball from just behind him as he darted in on goal.
Two minutes before the break, Hedges dashed into the box to latch onto a loose ball and as he won it, Bengtsson came across and chopped him down to concede a penalty. Despite Häcken delaying the kick, Ferguson was calmness itself, stepping up, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and making it 2-0, fully deserved on the evidence of the first 45 minutes.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 2 BK HÄCKEN 0
Häcken brought on Heintz at the break in place of Bengtsson as they looked to get back into the game. A couple of minutes into the half, Youssef took a knock in a challenge with Hayes and after extensive treatment, he was replaced by Maarouf.
By then, Ferguson had made it 3-0 with an absolute screamer in the 53rd minute, the Dons pressing high up the pitch, McCrorie winning the ball in the Häcken half and feeding Ferguson who advanced ten yards and simply bludgeoned a 25 yarder past Abrahamsson who barely moved.
The Swedes were dropping like flies now and almost immediately after the goal, Friberg was limping away, to be replaced by Faltsetas in the 55th minute. Häcken tried to rally and won a 58th minute corner but Hedges and Ojo combined to clear the ball to safety.
A minute later, the visitors were back in the game, Jeremejeff collecting the ball neatly, getting a slightly fortunate run of the ball before coming inside and curling a neat shot around Joe Lewis and just inside the far post. It was a reminder that this game – and certainly this tie – was far from over.
Aberdeen almost restored the three goal cushion on 63 minutes, hitting on the break. Emmanuel-Thomas held the ball up and then slotted Hedges in on the left, his fierce drive tipped over the bar by Abrahamsson. The Dons used their first substitute on 66 minutes, Jack MacKenzie replacing Ojo who had put in a real shift on his return to Pittodrie.
Ramirez almost opened his Aberdeen account on 69 minutes, chasing onto a through ball in the inside-left position, trying to lift the ball over the keeper with the outside of his right boot but putting it over the bar too.
Connor McLennan and Jack Gurr came on in the 77th minute for the Dons, replacing Hayes and Ramsay as Aberdeen brought some fresh legs onto the pitch. Häcken tried to seize the moment to put Aberdeen under pressure, winning another couple of corners in quick succession, the second causing chaos as it flashed across goal and, thankfully, to safety. The Swedes were sensing a second goal might be there for them as Walemark was replaced by Milovanovic in the 83rd minute, their fourth change.
His first act was to see Aberdeen make it 4-1. Great work from McLennan on the left gave him chance to pull the ball back for MacKenzie. He powered a shot in at goal, an effort that was blocked but fell perfectly for Ramirez to poke the ball into the net from a couple of yards out for a debut goal. Milovanovic showed his disappointment with a lunge on Ferguson a couple of minutes later, going into the book as a result.
Three minutes into added time, McLennan put some icing on the cake, scoring a superb fifth, collecting the ball on the edge of the box, turning inside and looping a vicious shot over the top of Abrahamsson and in.
On 96 minutes, Teddy Jenks got his Aberdeen debut, replacing Ramirez, the American striker getting a standing ovation as the game edged towards its close. On the final whistle, Brown led his ide around the ground to give the same kind of ovation to the fans as a euphoric Red Army prepared to make their way home – with plenty of optimism for the season ahead.
ABERDEEN: Lewis, Ramsay (Gurr 77), McCrorie, Considine, Hayes (McLennan 77), Ferguson, Brown, Ojo (MacKenzie 66), Emmanuel-Thomas, Ramirez (Jenks 90+6), Hedges.
Subs not used: Woods, McGinn, McGeouch, Campbell, Kennedy, Hancock.
GOALS: Considine (28), Ferguson (44 (pen), 54), Ramirez (84), McLennan (90+3)
BK HÄCKEN: Abrahamsson, Ekpolo, Toivio, Hammar, Sverisson, Berggren, Friberg (Faltsetas 55), Bengtsson (Heintz 46), Walemark (Milovanovic 83), Jeremejeff, Youssef (Maarouf 54).
Subs not used: Brattberg, Rasheed, Fridriksson, Adjoumani, Olsson, Irandust, Carlsson, Milovanovic.
GOAL: Jeremejeff (59)