McInnes: Aberdeen must be ready for Europa League qualifier

Derek McInnes insists Aberdeen must take their early start to the season in their stride as they prepare for a Europa League qualifier on 3 July.

The Dons headed to Dublin for a pre-season camp on Monday, just 36 days after the end of the season.

"The whole club has been busy throughout the close season to make sure we're ready for it (Europa League qualifier)," said manager McInnes.

"The players are looking forward to it and we've got to be ready."

A home defeat to Motherwell on the last day of the season ensured Aberdeen finished third in the Scottish Premiership, and sealed their early start in Europe.

"We want to try to get off to a good start as we did last season with a win in the league, and obviously we're going to be judged early on in the European side of it," added McInnes.

Pre-season starts early for Aberdeen

"We said we'd love to bring European football back to the club and we're all going to savour that when it comes round."

The Dons have bolstered their squad with the summer signings of goalkeeper Scott Brown, defender Ash Taylor, and full-back Shaleum Logan on a permanent deal.

McInnes has confirmed he has held talks with out-of-contract Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd, and revealed he would like to add one or two more to his squad before the upcoming campaign.

The Dons ended a 19-year wait for silverware when McInnes led them to glory in the League Cup last term, and the manager is hoping for even better next season.

"Regardless of where you finish you're always looking to try to improve and we're no different," said McInnes, who revealed the club have sold almost 8,500 season tickets so far this summer.

"We want to make a fist of it again in the cups, which should be par for the course for us as a club, we want to do well in Europe and represent the club well, and we want to be consistent enough in the league to get us up at the top end of the table again.

"I wouldn't see Celtic being anything other than overwhelming favourites to win the league. The challenge for every team in the league is to try to get as close to them as possible."

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Brown revealed he snubbed a "fantastic deal" from former club Cheltenham to join the Pittodrie outfit.

"Once a club like Aberdeen comes in for you it's very difficult to turn them down," said the 29-year-old

"To be involved in a squad that's going to be involved in Europe is a fantastic opportunity and it's not one that comes along every day. It definitely seems like a club on the up."