Aberdeen and Hibs have one foot in the next round following comfortable wins in the first leg. Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse previews Thursday's action...
"Aberdeen made full use of their home advantage when smashing BK Hacken 5-1 at Pittodrie."
Europa Conference League qualifiers return on Thursday with Aberdeen and Hibs back in action. The Scottish Premiership sides have one foot in the next round thanks to an aggregate cushion from the first legs played at Pittodrie and Easter Road last week.
With the hard work already done, it'll be interesting to see how both approach this match. They have the advantage and want to get minutes into their players' legs ahead of the weekend's Scottish Premiership kick-off but know they can't afford to take their opponents lightly.
Hacken went to Scotland knowing they were the underdogs but hoping to keep things tight and ensure the tie remained competitive for the second leg. Despite their season already being 13 rounds old and benefiting from the match sharpness and fitness that comes with that, they failed to match their opponents. Hacken were forced to concede they were beaten by the better team.
The locals were in competitive action against Elfsborg on Sunday, and that would have been another stressful match for the players. The league matches continue to come thick and fast for them in August, and the hosts may now see this competition as a distraction. Will, they beat Aberdeen by at least four clear goals? It's unlikely they'll even try to achieve such a monumental feat. The home win is 2.1011/10 on the Betfair Sportsbook.
Dons made full use of their advantage
Last week, Aberdeen made full use of their home advantage when smashing BK Hacken 5-1 at Pittodrie. The away goal rule has been scrapped from this season, making life even more difficult for the Swedes, who know they are all but out of the tournament. Dons made a mockery of what had been billed as a competitive contest, brushing past their opponents thanks to goals from Considine, Ramirez, McLennan, and a Ferguson double.
Manager Stephen Glass said his team wouldn't get carried away following their big win and performance, and he'll be eager to see them approach this fixture in the right manner. Even if the players believe they have already done the job, this is a match they'll want to win to help build confidence ahead of the weekend. Aberdeen don't need the victory, but they are 2.809/5 to get it with a draw priced at 3.6013/5. Back the Dons to finish the job in style.
The Andorrans visited Edinburgh last week, where they lost 3-0. They are not out of the tournament just yet and know that things will get interesting if they take the lead early in this match. But the players were taught a lesson at Easter Road and may still be feeling the effects of that.
Santa Coloma played their part in a crazy match that produced three red cards, two shown to the beaten team. They had an extra man between 29 and 66 minutes but couldn't make it pay. Coloma then had Bouharma, and Isus sent off deep into the second half, killing off any chances they had of staying in this tie. The home win is 7.5013/2.
Apart from dealing with a referee who looked like he enjoyed the attention, Hibs couldn't have asked for a better home match and introduction to the Europa Conference League. They kept a clean sheet, scored three goals, and appeared to have the measure of their opponents. They'll now aim to finish them off on their patch.
Hibs boss Jack Ross will ask his men to be more disciplined than they were seven days ago, but he'll also want his players to prove they can dig out important wins on the road. If the boss hasn't settled on his best team to start the Scottish Premiership, then this is the time for those in contention to impress. The Hibs win is 1.3030/100, and that's the bet for us.
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