Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes cannot wait to lock horns with Sean Dyche – even though he was dreading a Europa League showdown with his Burnley big guns.
The Dons were paired alongside the Premier League side in Thursday’s draw for the second qualifying round and will now welcome the Clarets to Pittodrie for the first leg on July 26.
McInnes’ men could have landed tricky opponents such as Italians Atalanta or Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar when the draw was made in Nyon but McInnes admits Burnley were the side he was hoping to avoid.
Dyche’s team were the surprise package of last year’s English top-flight and banked a £120million windfall after finishing seventh.
And McInnes knows his side will now be at long odds to reach the third-qualifying round for the fourth season in a row.
However, that has done nothing to dampen his excitement ahead of the tie.
He told RedTV: “You can’t help but be excited by the prospect of the game. It is the type of fixture you’d expect if we got through to the group stages such is the opposition.
“Burnley are a team who have done fantastically well in recent seasons. For them to finish just outside the big six in England is a fantastic effort.
“I think we were in the toughest pot. All those teams would have been difficult. It is a tough game, as tough a game as you could get at this stage. It is not the draw we would have wanted but we are excited and there is a lot to look forward to.
“Burnley have waited over 50 years to get back into Europe and I am sure they will feel an obligation and excitement about doing as well as they can.
“We will prepare for a tough game. You see the level of player they have got. We are going to be huge underdogs but that does not bother me.
“It is not a tie we are scared of. We will relish it. The supporters will relish it.”
McInnes has so far added Lewis Ferguson, Chris Forrester and Stephen Gleeson to his squad this summer and expects to strengthen again before welcoming the Clarets to the Granite City.
“Hopefully we will try to bring in at least a couple of signings before the Burnley game but if we have to wait a bit longer for the right one then that is something we will weigh up,” he added.