ABERDEEN look to book their place in the next round of the Europa League on Thursday against Shkendija. Chris Graham (@chrishgraham79) previews the game.
Aberdeen v Shkendija | Thursday 19:45
The first leg of this match in Macedonia last week ended 1-1. I didn't see the game but from what I read Aberdeen dominated the first half with the home side stronger in the second period. Niall McGinn's goal for Aberdeen was against the run of play but Shkendija equalised five minutes later to end the game level.
Dons boss Derek McInnes and striker Adam Rooney were fulsome in their praise for the Macedonians. McInnes said, “I've no doubts they are a team that could more than hold their own in the Scottish Premiership” while Rooney was quick to point out how difficult the match was in Macedonia.
Whether you read these quotes as gospel is up to you, of course they should be treated with caution, but with those things in mind and the result of the first leg, should Aberdeen really be as short as 1/5 on Thursday? It's a horribly short price!
This is Shkendija's fourth season in Europe, with the first three all ending in first round defeat. Despite this they were hardly disgraced. A 5-0 aggregate loss to Partizan Belgrade in 2011 was their nadir but odd goal losses to Portadown and Zimbru Chisinau are hardly filed under Deep Shame.
Similar to St Johnstone, Aberdeen should win but they're a ludicrous price. Motherwell, who finished second in Scotland's top flight in 2013/14, were knocked out by Icelandic side Stjarnan last season and the year before Hibs were knocked out 9-0 on aggregate by Malmo. Yes, these are extreme cases, but backing Scottish sides at 1/5 in Europe is the route to the poorhouse.
I'll be cheering on Aberdeen on Thursday night but I'll also be throwing some small stakes on the grossly underrated Shkendija. I'll back them to win and +1 at 16/1 and 97/29 (over 3/1) respectively.