Evening Express

Wright relishing Europa League glamour tie with Burnley at Pittodrie

Scott Wright in action for Aberdeen

Winger Scott Wright had just stepped off a 4,500-mile flight when he discovered Aberdeen had landed a 340-mile drive to Burnley in the Europa League.

Now the 20-year-old is determined to edge out the Clarets in the Battle of Britain to ensure the Reds book a flight to Turkey to face Istanbul Basaksehir in the third qualifying round.

Wright missed the draw for the second qualifying round as he was flying back from a holiday in the Middle East.

When the Aberdonian touched down after an eight-hour journey he switched on his phone and the text pinged – the Reds had drawn Burnley.

It may not be overseas but Wright accepts the tie against the English Premier League side is still high profile.

And he is determined to land a blow for the reputation of Scottish football.

He said: “Landing Burnley in Europe is a huge game and we aim to show Burnley and everyone what we can do.

“We have competed in Europe over the last couple of years and are certainly not going to be slouches.

“We will be right up for the game.

“When the draw was made I was on a flight at the time back from a holiday in Dubai with my girlfriend.

“When we landed I got a text saying we had drawn Burnley.

“Obviously it is not overseas but it is an exciting tie – Europe always is.”

Burnley were today set to arrive in the Granite City ahead of their first match in Europe for 51 years.

The Clarets secured their Europa League spot courtesy of a seventh-placed finish in the English top flight that also brought £198 million in Premier League payments.

Wright admits he is more used to seeing Burnley in action on Match of the Day on a Saturday night.

However, the Clarets’ position in the richest league in the world, beamed to billions worldwide, will not faze Wright or his team-mates.

He said: “You watch Burnley on Match of the Day every weekend but you have to put that to the side.

“Ultimately it is just another game and Burnley are just another bunch of boys.

“We are all going to be confident going into the tie and hopefully we can get a good result over both legs.”

Although Dyche’s Clarets have the superior spending power the Dons have the edge in European experience.

Aberdeen are set to embark on a fifth successive Europa League campaign under Derek McInnes while Burnley last played competitive continental football in the 1966-67 season.

The Clarets have opted not to train at Pittodrie tonight ahead of the tie and did their work at Turf Moor this morning.

“Burnley have to come to Pittodrie for the first game but I don’t think they will take us lightly,” said Wright.

The Dons have exited the Europa League at the third qualifying round in each of the previous four seasons – to Apollon Limassol last year, Maribor (2016), Kairat Almaty (2015) and Real Sociedad (2014).

The group stages and a basic payment in excess of £3m is the reward but the Reds will have to knock out Burnley to even replicate the level of previous seasons.

Wright is relishing the challenge.

He said: “It is a great time to be at Aberdeen.

“These are exciting times as we have a couple of huge games against Burnley coming up.

“There is also the game against Rangers to start the league so there is plenty to look forward to.

“However, we just have to take it game by game and see where it takes us. That is all we can do.”

Wright has played his way into contention to face Burnley tomorrow after an impressive pre-season. The winger was taken off in the 1-1 draw with West Brom after being kicked.

Boss Derek McInnes confirmed Wright is fully fit and only took him off as a precautionary measure.

Wright missed pre-season last year having sustained a hamstring injury during the Toulon Tournament in France while on international duty with the Scotland Under-20s.

This summer he was again at the Toulon Tournament but returned fully fit after Scotland reached the semi-finals.

He said: “All I can do is keep my head down in training, work hard and hopefully I will get the opportunity to show what I can do.”