Aberdeen acing Europa League with Edinburgh pair in contention

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Ladbrokes Championship Winners: Hibernian

With Aberdeen and Heart of Midlothian having passed their Europa League first qualifying round ties with flying colours, they made up a trio – alongside Hibernian – this time out. But it was the Hibees who had the marquee tie this time out, facing 10-time Danish champions Brondby.

The Scandinavian giants managed a 1-0 victory at Easter Road, thanks to a neat finish from Kamil Wilczek in the opening minute – but Neil Lennon’s men quickly upped the pace, dominating much of the game and seeing a well-worked goal controversially ruled out.

But despite the disappointment, there were plenty of reasons for Hibs fans to be positive and summer signing Grant Holt showed he was feeling confident ahead of the return leg.

 

At Pittodrie, Jayden Stockley opened the scoring – for himself and Aberdeen – as the new signing from Bournemouth powered home a header just beyond the 70-minute mark.
He was quickly joined on the scoresheet by Adam Rooney, whose neat left-footed shot left the Dons firmly in the driving seat.

But it was another new arrival, Bristol City loanee Wes Burns, who made the most remarkable impact, scoring with his first touch on his Aberdeen debut, with a cheeky header which secured a 3-0 victory, and left Derek McInnes’ men with one foot in the next round.

Meanwhile, Hearts fans will surely be feeling confident of another progression after their side’s dominant display against Birkirkara in Malta.

The game ended 0-0, but Alim Ozturk rattled the bar, while the Stripes’ keeper Miroslav Kopri had ‘one of those nights’, denying a string of excellent efforts – including a stunning save from Callum Paterson’s first-half header.

However, it’s unlikely the Maltese outfit will be able to hang on to another clean sheet at Tynecastle, with Hearts having scored in 15 of their last 16 outings in Gorgie, while Birkirkara have conceded in four of their last five games on the road.

So don’t bet against plenty of cheer next week for those loyal Jam Tarts fans who travelled to Malta.

Keep your eyes peeled for next week’s Europa League preview feature, with all the best bets ahead of the second legs for all three sides!

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.