Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes believes reaching the Europa League group stages can ease the financial hit of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Dons faced a crippling £10 million black hole as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
That predicted shortfall was slashed to £3.8m due to measures including wage cuts, fresh investment and season ticket sales.
Qualifying for the promised land of the Europa League groups would secure the Dons £2.5m in prize money.
Each group stage victory then secures £515,000 in prize money with £115,000 for a draw.
As well as the financial boost of virtually wiping out the £3.8m Covid-19 loss, McInnes has also challenged the Dons to secure some European respect.
The first step on the road to that group stage target begins tonight with a first qualifying round clash with NSI Runavik at home.
McInnes said: “Getting to the group stages would be like winning a trophy.
‘It gets tougher to get there and more and more obstacles are put in front of teams like ourselves to do it.
“But once you get there, the rewards financially are brilliant.
‘That would be a huge benefit for the club in this current climate.
“There is also the respect the club could get from being in the group stages.
‘There is obviously a trade-off with that if it starts to impact domestically.
“You have seen bigger clubs than us struggle to get the balance between dealing with domestic fixtures and group stages.
“But for us, getting to the groups would be a brilliant achievement and it’s what we are after as we set off. I’ve spoken to the players about that.
‘We know we are not going to win the competition but we can get to the group stages.
“For me, it would feel like a financial win and a win all round.
“Hopefully we can be that team.”
Runavik made club history last week by progressing in a European round for the first time.
In defeating Barry Town United 5-1 in the Faroe Islands, it was the first time in 14 attempts they had progressed to the next round.
In 27 European matches at preliminary or first qualifying round level, NSI Runavik have won just three, lost 22 and drawn two. In 2018, they lost 12-5 on aggregate to Hibs.
McInnes said: “‘I think there is an automatic feeling that if you have not heard of a team you should be beating them.
‘Different nations are stronger than others, but if you start to look a bit deeper into any opponent you can see there is a calibre of player and performance within each and every team. Runavik are no different.
‘It’s a one-off game. I’ve always felt that ordinarily you need to bring two decent level performances to get through a tie.
‘The nature of the competition now means we just need a strong 90 minutes and hopefully get the job done.”
Aberdeen could not send anyone to the Faroe Islands to watch NSI Runavik’s preliminary round due to Covid-19 travel guidance.
McInnes has studied footage of the game, albeit the match was shrouded in heavy fog.
Faroe Islands international striker Klaemint Olsen scored a hat-trick. Olsen has scored more than 200 goals for Runavik..
McInnes said: “They’re a very good possession-based team who have good experience and a talismanic striker in Olsen.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re good at our own game and bring a level of performance.”
Aberdeen have suffered a troubled start to the season with three postponements following coronavirus protocol breaches.
The postponements have restricted the Dons to just three Premiership games this season, while, in contrast, Runavik are 17 games into their league.
McInnes said: “We expect a tough match. Their biggest advantage over us is that this is their 18th game of their season which started in May.
“We’ve faced that in the past but we’re still trying to find some rhythm and have some injuries.
“The benefit of them playing games is that we’ve got to see plenty of them in action. We feel we have a good handle of them.”
Aberdeen will today hand a late fitness test to Niall McGinn on an ankle injury. Scott McKenna is fit having been substituted at half-time against Livingston due to sickness.
Funso Ojo is suspended following his red card last season in the 2-0 home loss to HNK Rijeka. Craig Bryson (calf), Sam Cosgrove (knee), Mikey Devlin (hamstring) and Ryan Edmondson (ankle) are out.
McInnes said: “Niall has got a chance. He got a scan on Monday and thankfully it’s nothing sinister. It’s just the nature of the kick that he got.
“It’s just a little tender.”