Europa League: Aberdeen's Derek McInnes eyes extended run

Aberdeen players celebrating
Aberdeen beat Rijeka 5-2 on aggregate

Derek McInnes hopes the confidence gained from eliminating HNK Rijeka will help Aberdeen progress in the Europa League qualifiers.

The Dons completed a 5-2 aggregate win over the Croatian side, coming back from two goals down in the second leg at Pittodrie to draw 2-2 on the night.

And McInnes's side will face Kairat Almaty of Kazakhstan in the third qualifying round.

"It's exciting, the players will go out and enjoy this," he told BBC Scotland.

"It's probably the furthest flung place we could go," McInnes added.

"With the confidence of putting out a good side, hopefully we can go there and give a good account of ourselves and bring it back here to try to get through.

"We'll try to utilise the squad the right way."

After winning the first leg against Rijeka comfortably in Croatia, McInnes had played down suggestions that the tie was over.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes
McInnes was pleased with how his players responded against Rijeka

And the Dons fans were given cause for concern when Rijeka established a 2-0 lead in the second half.

However, Niall McGinn and Jonny Hayes netted for the hosts, with David Goodwillie setting up both goals.

"They are a good team," said McInnes of Rijeka.

"Nobody's tested our discipline like that and I include domestic football and even Real Sociedad last year [in the Europa League] when they knocked us out.

"We knew with one goal for us, they wouldn't score five against us.

"When one loops in with a deflection at the second goal, we had to make sure we bounced back and what a response from McGinn.

"I'm talking about their quality. We've scored five goals against a top quality side, five different scorers.

Vladimir Weiss
Experienced coach Vladimir Weiss, pictured here in 2011, is now in charge of Kairat

"McGinn's not got a lot of the goal to hit but he's in quick support. Goodwillie does brilliant for it and to find the bottom corner there, it was a brilliant moment for everybody.

"To go and get the second goal was even better. Brilliant lead-up play. Good calmness and peace of mind to stick Jonny through and he eventually sticks one in the net."

McInnes feels Goodwillie, who led the line in attack, "stood up to a lot of treatment" and added: "His intelligence, his work ethic, his hold-up play was outstanding.

"It was a real mature performance from him and the others. He was ably backed up by his team-mates."

Aberdeen will make the long trip to face Kairat next Thursday, with the return leg the following week.

"We're just over an hour to China, so I'm told," added McInnes. "We'll fly out late Tuesday night and the club will look after us.

"We'll charter a flight, we'll get a good aeroplane, make sure the boys can get their head down and get a kip and we'll be ready for it.

"Our scouts are well versed on them. We could probably pick their team now, that we think is going to play against us.

"They're at the top end of the league; they've got a league title to try to win.

"They've got an experienced manager [Vladimír Weiss], they've got good players. Their front four are very good. They don't concede a lot of goals.

"We've got a tough draw but you're not going to get an easy draw at this stage of the season."

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