Aberdeen: Derek McInnes pleased by side's mental strength in Lapland

Aberdeen trailed after just 70 seconds in Lapland
Aberdeen trailed after just 70 seconds in Lapland

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes praised his side's mental strength after they recovered from a calamitous start to beat RoPS and reach the second round of Europa League qualifying.

Tarik Kada's 70-second opener nudged Finns ahead on away goals.

But a Sam Cosgrove penalty and late Lewis Ferguson goal set up a tie with Chikhura Sachkhere of Georgia.

"There's a natural feeling of 'This is a disaster, we've gone behind', McInnes told BBC Scotland.

"The players have to win those mental battles and from then on we took control of the game. When we needed to stay calm and make good decisions, we did.

"I've learned a lot about my team - and it's a new team and new squad - over the last couple of games.

"We lose a goal with 30 seconds to go at Pittodrie and we lose a goal 30 seconds into the game tonight. But there was so much to enjoy about my team tonight."

The Scottish Premiership side missed a host of missed chances and were almost punished in the closing stages, with Joe Lewis making a key save to deny Youness Rahimi.

Ferguson's breakaway goal put the tie beyond the Finns in injury time and McInnes lauded the match-winner and fellow teenage midfielder Dean Campbell.

"We had an 18-year-old and 19-year-old in the midfield of the park and both were magnificent," he said.

"Joe still has a save to make at the death. But when you look at the two games, the amount chances and action we had in the opposition box, there's loads to be pleased with at this stage of the season."

A 2,000-mile trip awaits Aberdeen for next Thursday's first leg in Sachkhere but McInnes is upbeat about his side's chances against the Georgian outfit, who dispatched Fola Esch of Luxembourg 4-2.

"My chief scout watched both games and the feedback is they are a decent team, but it's a tie we can win," he said. "Hopefully Craig Bryson and Greg Leigh will be back to play some part and Funso Ojo will be available too."

Graphic
As the crow flies, New Dehli is closer to Georgian opponents Sachkhere than Pittodrie is

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