Former Clarets loan man anticipates close encounter at Pittodrie
Russell Anderson admits Aberdeen could scarcely have had a tougher Europa League draw than Burnley.
But he hopes the Dons can add to their collection of European scalps and create another night to remember.
Anderson was only five when Sir Alex Ferguson’s side beat Bayern Munich and Real Madrid to win the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983, so can’t remember the most famous nights in the club’s history.
He accepts those days could well be long gone, albeit the Dons held Bayern 2-2 at Pittodrie 10 years ago in the Europa League, before losing the second leg 5-1 at the Allianz Arena.
Dons legend Anderson – who played five games for Burnley in a loan spell cut short by a cruciate knee ligament injury 10 years ago – expects a tightly-contested first leg when the Clarets travel north on Thursday.
While the Dons’ European glory days are a distant memory, Anderson hopes they can draw on their pedigree: “After being out of European football for quite a while, Aberdeen are becoming regulars again.
“This is their fourth year in a row.
“For a club that was used to being in Europe, they had a barren spell, but they’re back.
“We look forward to the games, it’s a change of opposition, there’s a freshness to it, and there’s a real excitement and a buzz about these games.
“This year was the 35th anniversary of the Cup Winners’ Cup win - a successful time that probably won’t be repeated.
“I’ve no real recollection of it, as I was only five, but we’re very proud of that.
“Football has changed so much though.
“I can’t remember how many games they played to win in 1983, but there are so many games now to win the Europa League.
“It’s heavily stacked for the favoured clubs, which is probably what UEFA wants – it’s a more attractive sell.”
Anderson, who played with Jeff Hendrick at Derby, added: “When you look at the draw, Burnley is one of the more difficult ties they could have had.
“The last few seasons Aberdeen have gone in at the first qualifying round, so you play weaker opposition and you can get up to speed by the time you play in this round.
“By the second round, they had played competitive football, but they don’t have that this year.
“I’m sure the players will be up to speed, but pre-season is different nowadays, the players just need sharpness really, they all stay pretty fit over the summer.
“I think it will be a difficult tie for Burnley also, but I don’t think Sean Dyche underestimates anyone.
“It’s probably a style of football they will be used to, a very British game.
“But Aberdeen do try and play a bit of football, despite Scottish football sometimes getting a bit of a bad rap.
“It’s a difficult ask for Aberdeen, when you look at the resources and the budgets, the gulf in finances, so it won’t be easy.
“I don’t think the game will be particularly open, Aberdeen will want to stay in the game in terms of away goals.
“That can have a big influence in the way the game pans out. If Burnley get an away goal, that could be important.”
Anderson, now an ambassador for Aberdeen, is likely to be sat in the company of at least one Clarets fan at Pittodrie: “My brother in law’s partner is from Burnley, and they live up here. They’re going to the game, I think they’ll be sitting on their hands in the home end!
“We’re all excited and interested to see how it pans out.”