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Aberdeen set to bypass Europa League first qualifying round

The Dons will benefit from the Europa League finalists' domestic league positions.

Aberdeen's Andy Considine (right) celebrates with Jonny Hayes against Dundee in March.
Aberdeen's Andy Considine (right) celebrates with Jonny Hayes against Dundee in March. SNS

Aberdeen are set to secure a bye into the second qualifying round of the Europa League after Feyenoord beat Ajax to the Dutch Eredivisie title.

All three of Scotland's entrants, Aberdeen, Rangers and St Johnstone, were set to play their first fixture on June 29.

Derek McInnes' side will now have an extra fortnight to prepare because neither of the Europa League finalists, Ajax or Manchester United, can qualify directly for the Champions League group stage through their respective league positions.

Feyenoord won their first title in 18 years with a 3-1 win over Heracles on the final day of the season, leaving them a point ahead of Ajax in the table. 

And Manchester United's 2-1 defeat to Spurs at the weekend means they can no longer finish in the top four of the English Premier League.

The situation means that an extra Europa League group stage place opens up and existing qualifiers move up in the pecking order. 

Scotland are currently 25th in the UEFA rankings and that place now sees their cup winners moved to the second qualifying round. Aberdeen look set to benefit because they are in the Scottish Cup final as well as pole position to seal second spot in the Premiership.

The winners of the Scottish Cup get the first preferential spot but if Celtic lift the trophy on May 27 it will be awarded to the team second in the league instead.

Aberdeen currently sit six points ahead of Rangers with two games remaining and a much superior goal difference.

The first leg of the second qualifying round is on July 13 with the return leg the following week. All three Scottish sides will learn who they will face when the draw takes place on June 19.

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