Bryson dreams of progress but wary of sleep problems in land of Finns

Aberdeen's Craig Bryson
Aberdeen's Craig Bryson

Craig Bryson has never been to Finland but says the 24-hour daylight could affect Dons players’ sleeping patterns.

But the summer signing is determined not to lose any sleep over the return tie in the Arctic Circle by making home advantage count tonight.

The 32-year-old hasn’t featured in pre-season due to an ankle ligament injury suffered with former club Derby County in April.

But Bryson is expected to feature at some point against the Finns having returned to full training.

He was set to feature in the 1-1 friendly draw with Inverness Caley at the weekend but boss Derek McInnes opted not to risk him due to the condition of the pitch at Borough Briggs.

Bryson said: “We have to do well in the first leg at Pittodrie before going out to Finland.

“People just expect you to turn up and beat teams like RoPS but they forget all the issues that come with European games.

“Things like the 24/7 light can affect your sleep, so we will have to look at things like that, how we can adapt.

“I have never been to Finland before and to be honest it is never a place that has even taken my fancy to go out for a holiday.

“RoPS are also halfway through their season whereas it will be our first competitive game.

“It will be a tough game but I am confident we still have more than enough in the squad to win and go on to progress.”

Having missed a scheduled 20-minute run-out against Inverness, the midfielder worked overtime during the weekend in his battle to make his delayed Dons debut.

Set to enter his 16th season as a professional Bryson has yet to experience European action.

After eight seasons with Derby County in the Championship he admits adding Europe to his CV was highly unlikely unless he moved to Scotland.

Scotland cap Bryson rejected the offer of a new contract at Derby and subsequently signed a two-year deal with Aberdeen.

He said: “I am looking forward to the experience of playing in Europe. I am all for new experiences and it is something else for the CV, to say I have played in Europe.

“Down in the Championship you basically have no chance of being involved in European competitions.”

The opportunity to finally experience continental action was a major draw for Bryson when signing on at Pittodrie, but so was the blueprint for the future of the Dons that McInnes laid out.

Bryson said: “I had offers in England and also had an offer from Derby as well.

“However, I spoke to the manager here a few times about the club, what he wanted to do with the team and what he wanted to do with me.

“I liked him and what he had to say and thought Aberdeen was the right place to go.

“Aberdeen are a team pulling in the right direction and it has been great for me here so far.

“Hopefully we can go on to do well in Europe this season.”

Should Aberdeen progress past RoPS, their reward would be a second qualifying round clash with Fola Esch of Luxembourg or Georgia’s Chikhura Sachkhere.

If, as Bryson hopes, Aberdeen see off RoPS he is confident they will be even stronger by the second qualifying round having had the benefit of two competitive European matches.

He said: “Hopefully by the time the second round comes, if we get there, then we will be a bit fitter and at it.

“And the players will have then integrated into the squad that bit better.”

Bryson will face former team-mate Mahamadou Sissoko tonight having played alongside the centre-back at Kilmarnock during the 2010-11 season.

Sissoko joined RoPS from Turkish side Kardemir Karabukspor in February.

Bryson said: “I didn’t know he was there as we never really kept in touch.

“When you are in a dressing room of 20 to 30 players it is hard to keep in touch.

“It will be good to see him again and catch up.”