Former Pittodrie boss Craig Brown believes sticking to the philosophy of the club’s greatest manager can help the Dons progress in Europe.
Sir Alex Ferguson famously led Aberdeen to two European trophies in 1983 – the Cup Winners’ Cup and Super Cup.
And during his time as manager of Manchester United, he added two Champions League titles, a Cup Winners’ Cup and Super Cup.
Brown insists Sir Alex’s philosophy in European football was fundamentally the reverse of what supporters demand – to defend at home and attack in the away leg.
Behind that rationale was the power of the away goal.
Keeping a clean sheet at home was fundamental to progress.
It will be key in tomorrow’s Europa League second qualifying round second leg against Chikhura Sachkhere following the 1-1 draw in Tbilisi.
If Aberdeen keep a clean sheet they progress to face HNK Rijeka in the next round, regardless if they score or not by virtue of Sam Cosgrove’s away goal.
Brown, now a non-executive director at Pittodrie, said: “Sir Alex Ferguson used to say to me the formula for European football is make sure you do not lose a goal at home.
“Sir Alex was brilliant at that, underlining that the main priority at home was not to lose a goal.
“He always said that in European games – defend at home and attack away. It was the reverse of what the supporters really want.
“A clean sheet is important so Aberdeen fans have to be patient in the return leg at Pittodrie.”
The failure to register a clean sheet at Pittodrie has been the Dons’ Achilles heel in recent seasons. They conceded to RoPS Rovaniemi with the last kick of the game in the previous round when winning 2-1.
Leaking that away goal made a trip to Finland, which should have been a formality, far trickier.
In eight of the last nine European ties at Pittodrie the Dons have conceded an away goal. A 3-0 win over Ventspils of Latvia was the exception.
Of the 13 European ties at Pittodrie under Derek McInnes’ management Aberdeen have kept clean sheets in just four.
Brown said: “Sir Alex tried to educate people to the idea that if we get away from the home tie with a clean sheet, I am sorry we don’t score, but come and see us score away from home.
“He had players like Peter Weir and Eric Black in the team so knew that they would score.
“Aberdeen have that away goal advantage from the first leg out in Georgia.”
Brown flew out to Georgia with the Dons team and took in the action at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena.
There was a crowd of around 1,000 scattered inside the 54,500-capacity home of Dynamo Tbilisi which also doubles as the Georgian national stadium.
Tomorrow night the Dons are anticipating in excess of 15,000 for the home tie which will come just three days before hosting Hearts in the Premiership opener.
Brown said: “When teams come to Pittodrie they can feel the atmosphere inside the ground.
“Aberdeen’s supporters can certainly do their bit in the bid to get through to the next round.”
Manager Derek McInnes has targeted the lucrative group stages which would bring a cash bonus of around £3 million.
In the five previous seasons in Europe under McInnes the Dons have not progressed beyond the third qualifying round.
Over four straight seasons they exited at that phase when losing to Real Sociedad (Spain, 2014), Kairat Almaty (Kazakhstan, 2015), Maribor (Slovenia 2016) and Apollon Limassol (Cyprus, 2017).
Last season they lost out to English Premier League outfit Burnley at the second qualifying round stage following a 3-1 loss at Turf Moor after extra-time.
Aberdeen led in the first leg at Pittodrie until conceding that killer away goal late on when Sam Vokes equalised with just 10 minutes remaining.
Brown said: “Ideally Aberdeen can progress into the group stages of the Europa League this season.
“That would be great.”