One of the heroes of Aberdeen’s last trip to Rijeka has backed the Dons to emulate one of the greatest results of his career.
The Reds tackle the Croatian side in tomorrow’s first leg of the Europa League third qualifying round tie and Paul Quinn believes they can record another famous win.
This week’s clash is four years after Derek McInnes led his side to a 3-0 victory in the Stadion Kantrida in the second qualifying round.
Andy Considine, Peter Pawlett and Kenny McLean scored the goals on July 16 2015 to secure a famous triumph, with a 2-2 draw the following week at Pittodrie meaning Aberdeen progressed 5-2 on aggregate.
With McInnes still in charge and Considine, Ash Taylor, Shay Logan and Niall McGinn still with the Reds having played their part four years ago, Quinn reckons the Dons can get another good result tomorrow as they look to set up a play-off tie with AEK Larnaca of Cyprus or Belgian outfit Gent.
The 34-year-old, who spent the first half of the 2015/16 campaign at Pittodrie, said: “It is important those people are still at the club.
“A lot of people don’t appreciate how much of an achievement that was because Rijeka aren’t that well known.
“But the guys who were there last time know how good they are and also know what it takes to beat them.
“The Aberdeen fans know Rijeka are a good outfit.
“This time I don’t think there will be any fear about Rijeka because we had a nervousness in the opening period.
“Aberdeen have been there and done it so they will feel capable of doing it again and won’t fear Rijeka.
“Rijeka’s players, officials and fans will remember it and feel they are due to turn Aberdeen over.
“But that can often have a negative psychological effect because if you’re too pent up on getting one over somebody that’s beaten you, you lose focus on what you need to do to win.
“It will be a tasty tie but I fully believe Aberdeen can do a job on Rijeka and get through to the play-off round.
“Aberdeen are a cracking club and they seem to be on a bit of a run so hopefully they can get through and push towards the group stages.
“They’ve started the season well with Sam Cosgrove scoring goals and the new signings seem to have gelled well.”
In 2015 Rijeka were unbeaten in 12 home European games. The Croats dominated the opening quarter, forcing keeper Danny Ward into action and also hitting the woodwork.
However, a water break midway through the first period allowed McInnes to make tweaks to his side, which Quinn believes resulted in them going on to triumph.
The former Motherwell, Cardiff, Ross County and Dundee United defender added: “Their home record spoke for itself and they were unbelievable in the early part of the game and blew us away.
“We could have been a couple of goals down, but then there was a water break and the gaffer changed a couple of things.
“It completely paid off because after that we went on to be brilliant and win 3-0.
“It was one of the best results I was involved in during my career because of how good Rijeka were early on to the eventual result.
“We were laughing because after the game their fans applauded our bus away from the ground, which was testament to what we’d done.
“We got some luck and then we made it difficult for them as guys like Peter Pawlett and David Goodwillie were phenomenal that night.
“All the pieces of the jigsaw within the team came together and it was remarkable in the end because they were fortunate to only lose 3-0.
“I give the gaffer so much credit.
“If he hadn’t changed a couple of wee things at that water break, such as how to deal with their movement within our shape, it’s unlikely we would have won.”