Date: 11th October 2007 at 7:06pm
Written by:

We`ve been written off already.

Excellent!!

Being the bookies 250-1 rank outsiders with Swedish minnows Elfsborg to win the UEFA Cup suits us just fine.

Panathinaikos, Atletico Madrid with stars such as Reyes, Forlan, Rodriquez et al plus Lokomotiv Moscow and Copenhagen who have Ibrox misfits Libor Sionko and Jesper Christiansen in their ranks as well as former Man U “star” Jesper Gronkjaer, will all be relishing playing the Scottish minnows from some place nowhere near Glasgow which therefore means they aren`t Rangers or Celtic. Which therefore means they`ve never heard of us (and I include benchwarmers Christiansen and Sionko) and can be dismissed as banked points already.

It`s not going to be like that at all.

The Dons might not go through, they might not have the players who can conjure that little something special to win a match but they will give a good account of themselves and nobody from anywhere will be relishing playing Aberdeen FC again.

Against Rangers and Celtic, the Dons (under Jimmy Calderwood) battle to a man and to the final whistle and although it`s granted that the Old Firm have a bigger pool of international players, they`ve never had an easy three points and sometimes they`ve been lucky just to scrape one.

So this Dons team have proved they can compete against Champions League standard opposition in the form of the Scottish bullys and shown against Dnipro that they can go abroad and shut up shop whilst launching penetrating counter attacks.

And that`s exactly what it takes to progress in Europe.

Barry Nicholson agrees and told Reds Online, ‘The away matches would have been difficult whoever we drew but at home we will fancy ourselves. Putting out Dnipro in the first round has given us real confidence. It is definitely a case of bring it on.’

Magic, let`s hope you`re not left to rue saying Barry that but after putting in the hard work as he and his Ukraine frontline defenders did, that`s his prerogative.

Confidence seems to be so high in fact that he`s gutted not to be facing the tournament giants, the legendary Bayern Munich. His ambitious manager Jimmy Calderwood has a polar opposite opinion on that subject however.

Jimmy didn`t want the tournament favourites as he fancies a run in the competition and to take the team as far as he can, something the collective experiences of some Dons old boys can help with.

Craig Brewster who spent arguably the best years of his career in Greece has thrown is bobs worth in to give Aberdeen the lowdown on some of the Panathinaikos players and told Reds Online who to watch.

He said, ‘The only player left there is Ioannis Goumas, the central defender, who is a very good player.

‘I also know of former Burnley forward Dimitrios Papadopoulos, who is in their squad, and Takis Fyssas will be known to everyone in Scotland from his time at Hearts.’

And ex-Dons ‘keeper Peter Kjaer had this to say about our Danish opposition, ‘Copenhagen are top of the league because they have been very difficult to beat.

‘Between the league, the cup and European football they are playing a lot of fixtures and I would say the players are tiring.

‘Because of the number of games they face they are not playing what I would call fancy football, but defensively they have been very strong.

‘The best football has been in the European ties and Copenhagen will be hoping to make a big impression in the Uefa Cup, so I would expect them to raise their standards even higher in the group games.’

‘Last season Gronkjaer was superb and he has carried his form into this season. He has pace and the ability to hurt the opposition.

‘Allback has not been prolific in front of goal in the league, but he did score against Benfica in the Champions League and against Lens in the Uefa Cup first round tie, so he has a habit of scoring in European games.

‘They are two key players for Copenhagen, but the team as a unit is very strong and difficult to break down.’

A nice piece of information there Peter and no doubt Jimmy will be on the phone to the likes of Ebbe Skovdahl to see what else he can discover.

No stone will be left unturned and whenever Aberdeen turn out to play in this tournament, the team will be well briefed on the opposition. The Panathinaikos president has already called this the hardest group of all and one thing if for sure, the bookies will have greater respect for our team next time round but being the surprise package will do nicely for now.

Let the games begin.