STUART Duff today warned the Dons that big-spending FC Kairat Almaty are a force to be reckoned with.
The former Aberdeen midfielder is a former captain of the Almaty-based club, spending two years in the oil-rich Kazakhstan capital between 2012-13.
Aberdeen are likely to face the Kazakh side in the third qualifying round of the Europa League after the draw took place in Nyon, Switzerland.
Both sides currently lead their second-round ties 3-0 from the first leg, with the Dons winning in Croatia against HNK Rijeka and Kairat beating Armenia’s Alashkert.
“It is a really tricky tie for Aberdeen,” said Duff, who played at Pittodrie between 2008-10.
“Kairat want to be a force to be dealt with in Europe.
“They want to win their league every year, win a cup and do well in Europe.
“I think with the backing that they have, which is mind-boggling, I don’t see why that can’t happen.
“They back the manager in everything he wants to do.
“They have also just built a new £15 million training facility, so the infrastructure is all there.”
The 33-year-old, who now plays for Highland League side Cove Rangers, admits he loved his time playing in the former Soviet state. The Aberdonian became the first Scot to play in Kazakhstan after making the 4,000-mile move from the North-east.