Former Aberdeen striker Billy Dodds knows the perils of complacency in European competition.
In 1996, the Dons met Welsh league side Barry Town over two legs in the first round of the Uefa Cup.
The clubs could meet again this season in Europa League qualifying, should the Dragons make it through a preliminary tie with NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands.
On September 10 1996, Aberdeen beat Barry 3-1 at a half-full Pittodrie via goals from Dean Windass, Stephen Glass and youngster Darren Young.
They travelled to soaking wet Jenner Park two weeks later for the second leg and Dodds admits, foolishly, Roy Aitken’s men viewed the game – played in front of just 6,500 people – as a foregone conclusion.
He says the Reds were a lot more “wobbly and nervous” when Dave O’Gorman netted for the home side after four minutes to take the tie to 3-2 on aggregate. Aberdeen keeper Nicky Walker had palmed the ball straight to him.
Dodds said: “I don’t remember much about the home leg, but for the away leg the rain was pouring down and there was a great Aberdeen support there.
“We were playing at a wee athletics arena thing.
“It was a good night for me, because I scored a couple, but we got ourselves into a bit of trouble early on and let the result tighten up a bit.
“Even though it’s all those years ago, we thought ‘job done’ and took our foot off the gas, thinking: ‘Barry Town – nice and easy’.
“And then it was: ‘Whoa, we’re in a bit of trouble here!’
“Don’t get yourself in that situation would be my message.”
The former Scotland international hitman added: “My advice to the Aberdeen players is to handle it properly – I’m sure they will.
“It’s a team Aberdeen should be beating, but you can get yourself into a spot of bother if you don’t treat it right.
“We thought the job was done when we got the 3-1 victory at home and took it too easy.
“When they scored it gave us the rocket up the backside we needed, but they went ahead a couple of times.”
Dodds’ two goals in 10 first-half minutes in Wales allowed Aitken’s Dons to stretch into a 5-2 aggregate lead, however, a second period spot-kick from Darren Ryan levelled things on the night before another Nicky Walker spillage allowed Tony Bird to add to Barry’s tally.
Thankfully for Aberdeen, David Rowson was able to level the game at 3-3 (6-4 agg) and spare the visitors, boasting Scots internationals, as well as Bulgarian World Cup semi-finalists Tsanko Tzvetanov and Ilyan Kiriakov in their line-up, what would’ve been an embarrassing 90-minute defeat.
Dodds feels recent meetings between Scottish teams and Cymru Premier outfits show Aberdeen can’t go into a tie with Barry thinking they’ll cruise regardless of how they play.
He said: “Connah’s Quay Nomads beat Kilmarnock last year (in Europa League qualifying).
“I don’t know a lot about the Welsh league, but it’s one of those you underestimate at your peril, because they’re not as bad as some might think.
“Connah’s Quay got to the Challenge Cup final with Ross County as well remember, so they are of a standard that can get you into trouble if you don’t handle it properly.
“You can’t think: ‘They’re from that league and, even if we don’t play well, we’ll cruise against them.’ That is the wrong attitude.
“They’re not too bad as Kilmarnock and Ross County will tell you.”
He said Aberdeen must “tread carefully”, but go after a fast start.
Dodds thinks the draw has been kind to the Reds in a season where qualifying ties are one-legged, because there would’ve been enormous pressure if the game was in Wales.
He said: “It would’ve added more pressure going to Wales for a one-off game. It’s a lot more to think about.
“But they’re at home against a Welsh premier league team, who have to travel up.
“If Aberdeen play anything like their standard, they’ll win the tie.
“But the one-off (nature of the tie) doesn’t give you another go if you have a bad night.
“Get the focus, get the attitude and they’ll go through.”