Aberdeen full-back Greg Leigh is looking to last season’s Liverpool-Barcelona Champions League semi-final as motivation to dump Rijeka.
The Croatians visit Pittodrie on Thursday with a 2-0 Europa League third qualifying round lead from last week’s first leg.
A miserable result on the Continent was compounded for NAC Breda loanee Leigh and his team-mates when they suffered a 1-0 Premiership reverse to St Mirren in soaking Paisley on Sunday.
Nevertheless, the 24-year-old is convinced the Dons know what they need to do to fight their way to the Euro play-off round and keep their hopes of the lucrative group stages alive.
He said: “Everybody who plays in these big competitions comes up against this at some point.
“We’ve obviously come up against it really early.
“We’re a strong group. Sunday was annoying, but we’ll get back stronger, kick on to Thursday and show what we can do.”
Englishman Leigh pointed to May’s Anfield stunner when Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool overturned Barca’s 3-0 first leg lead with a 4-0 victory to reach the pinnacle of the European game.
He said: “People wrote off Liverpool against Barca. But it’s a strong position to know what you have to do before you go into the game.
“For example, a 1-0, 2-0 scoreline is difficult for everybody, because you think, do we press? Do we sit off? Do we defend?
“But we know we need to score as many goals as possible – at least two – and not concede.
“That’s a game plan we can go with and say ‘this is how we’re going to play to do that’.
“It’s obviously a worry, but we just need to go out and do it.”
Away in Rijeka, and at the Simple Digital Arena, Derek McInnes’ Dons have struggled to put the intricate attacking puzzle together.
In Croatia, they kept the game goalless to half-time.
However, against Jim Goodwin’s well-organised Saints, they were suckered after 13 minutes by Ilkay Durmus’ goal on the counter.
One thing’s for sure, they need to come flying out of the traps at Pittodrie and find the flair they did in the 5-0 home victory over Georgians Chikhura Sachkhere.
Leigh said: “No, we can’t (afford another slow start on Thursday). It’s something the manager has addressed after the game and that the players are aware of.
“We know what we have to do as early as possible to give ourselves a chance.
“Going away to a place like Rijeka, we didn’t show what we were about.
“In the first game, we were obviously going in thinking not conceding was the ideal scenario.
“But we know we have to show them what we’re about at Pittodrie, we’ve done that so far (in Europe) and we’ve got to do it again.”
One problem on the horizon is the potential absence of Sam Cosgrove for the crunch meeting with Rijeka, as the hitman has a hamstring problem.
Curtis Main was unable to fill Cosgrove’s sizeable boots in Paisley, but Leigh thinks individual absences can’t be allowed to derail the team.
Squad players like Scott Wright, Connor McLennan and new signing Zak Vyner were also below their best against Saints.
Leigh said: “We need to be able to play without certain players. With injuries, suspensions, it happens.
“With players coming into the team who haven’t had games, it maybe showed that they were a little rusty, but they can improve.
“They’re good players, they’ve potential.
“He (Sam Cosgrove) is important, but we have to be able to work without him as well.”
The Eurpean qualifying campaign has meant a hectic early season for McInnes’ squad, but it’s one of the reasons Leigh opted to move to the Granite City, so he won’t complain about the privilege.
He added: “In a sense, it’s tough (playing Thursday and Sunday), but as players it’s exactly what you want to be doing.
“You want to be playing in as many competitions and playing as much as possible. You need the mental side of things as well, but as players it’s what we train for.
“We’re in every day to work hard and treat it like a game. It’s something we’re used to.”