McInnes happy with Europa draw

  • Last Updated: June 23 2014, 18:09 BST

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is happy with their Latvian assignment in the Europa League.

Aberdeen start their European campaign on July 3
Aberdeen start their European campaign on July 3

The Dons will face Daugava Riga in the first qualifying round, with the first leg set to take place at Pittodrie on July 3 and Dutch side Groningen awaiting the winners.

William Hill Scottish Cup winners St Johnstone face Swiss seeds Lucerne in the second round, with McDiarmid Park set to host the second leg on July 24. Seeded Motherwell will play either Welsh side Bangor City or Icelandic league leaders Stjarnan, with the first leg confirmed at Fir Park on July 17.

Aberdeen played in the Latvian capital 20 years ago in the UEFA Cup, but were on the end of a shock exit at the hands of Skonto Riga in the second preliminary round, going out on away goals.

McInnes, though, is happy for the club to return.

"I think it is a decent draw," he told Red TV. "It's not too far or problematic in terms of travel and I'm sure the supporters will look at it that way as well. It is not the worst place for supporters to go as well.

"In terms of the actual game you are always up against a level of opposition that deserves respect.

"They are current seventh in the league and finished fourth last season. They are well into their season, they have played 17 league games so far.

"That will be the biggest difficulty, the fact we are up against a team who are well into their season, but that could have been the case for many of the teams.

"As I say though I think it is a decent draw and we just have to concentrate on our performance and make sure we are game-ready for it."

Aberdeen have already begin their pre-season friendly programme with a 2-2 draw against League of Ireland champions St Patrick's on Saturday and McInnes feels he can get enough information on Daugava, who recently announced the signing of two former Liverpool reserves - Senegalese left-back Emmanuel Mendy and Brazilian striker Vitor Flora.

"We can watch some of their recent games and familiarise ourselves with the players and their system of play. Once we are comfortable with that and have that knowledge we can then start to work out what the players need to know," he said.

"They have a game Wednesday and a game Sunday so someone from the club will go and watch them, possibly myself.

"We know the boys will have to put in a strong performance to get through to the second round. We're confident we can do that."

On the draw for the next round, McInnes said: "We don't want to comment too much on it because we have work to do. But that will be a tough tie if we manage to get through."

Motherwell have confirmed they will play the first leg of their tie on July 17, with the second leg away seven days later.

They have happy memories of going to both countries in recent years having knocked out Llanelli in 2009 and Breidablik a year later.

Elsewhere, Derry City and or Aberystwyth Town have been paired together in the first round with the winners due to take on Shakhtyor Soligorsk of Belarus.

Linfield will face AIK of Stockholm if they beat Faroese side B36 Torshavn, Dundalk have the incentive of a second-round clash with Hajduk Split if they beat Jeunesse Esch of Luxembourg and Sligo Rovers' potential second-round opponents include Rosenborg if they beat Ekranas of Lithuania.

Glenavon take on FH Hafnarfjordur of Iceland and Airbus UK Broughton take on Norwegian side FK Haugesund in the first round.

The draw for the UEFA Europa League First Qualifying rounds:

First Round -

NK Rudar v Laci

Differdange 03 v FK Atlantas

VPS v IF Brommapojkarna

B36 v Linfield

Fram v JK Nomme Kalju

Rosenborg v Jelgava

Derry City v Aberystwyth

Aberdeen v Daugava Riga

Tartu FC Santos v Tromso

Crusaders v FK Ekranas

Stjarnan v Bangor City

Jeunesse Esch v Dundalk

MyPa v IF Fuglafjordur

FH Hafnarfjordur v Glenavon

Sillamae Kalev v Honka Espoo

Banga v Sligo Rovers

Vikingur v Daugava Daugavpils

IFK Gothenburg v CS Fola Esch

Haugesund v Airbus UK

Sioni Bolnisi v KS Flamurtari

FC Tiraspol v Inter Baku

Hibernians v Spartak Trnava

UE Sant Julia v FK Cukaricki

SL Koper v Celik

Turnovo v Chikhura Sachkhere

FC Shirak v Shakhter Karaganda

Kabala v Siroki Brijeg

Diosgyor v Birkirkara

FC Vaduz v College Europa

Veris Chisinau v Litex Lovech

UE Santa Coloma v Metalurg Skopje

Kairat Almaty v FK Kukesi

SS Folgore v Buducnost Podgorica

RNK Split v FC Mika

Botev Plovdiv v Libertas

FK Lovcen v Zeljeznicar

FK Shkendija 79 v FC Zimbru

Sliema Wanderers v Ferencvaros

Pyunik v FC Astana

Ties to be played July 3 and 10