Ian Woan knows all about success in Europe and he hopes he can now get another taste of it with Burnley.
The Clarets’ assistant boss spent most of a prolific playing career with double European Cup winners Nottingham Forest.
And while those two successes under legendary boss Brian Clough came 10 years before Woan started his own decade of outstanding service at the City Ground, the history wasn’t lost on the Wirral-born winger.
“It was a proud moment for me when you put on that Forest shirt and you’ve got two stars above the badge signifying Champions League winners,” said Woan.
Forest wouldn’t quite scale those heights again, but Woan helped them finish third in the Premier League in 1995 to earn a place in the Uefa Cup.
Ian Woan played 271 times for Nottingham Forest
Under Frank Clark, Forest reached the quarter-finals of the competition in 1995/96 in a season which saw Woan finish as the club’s top scorer.
Now his European experience will be brought to bear from the dug-out, with the 50-year-old set to be alongside Burnley boss and long-standing friend Sean Dyche when the Clarets launch their Europa League campaign at Aberdeen on Thursday night.
The first leg of their second qualifying round tie at Pittodrie will end a 51-year absence from European competition for Burnley.
And Woan is determined to try and make the most of it after playing a vital role as part of a backroom staff which has helped Dyche take the Clarets from the bottom half of the Championship when they were appointed in October, 2012 into the top seven of the Premier League last season.
“It’s so exciting,” Woan told Clarets Player HD. “It’s a fantastic football club, Burnley, the way it’s developed and the way the training ground has developed and the quality of staff and players, it’s been a brilliant run.
“If you had said to me six years ago we would be talking about being in Europe, I would have said ‘possibly a stretch’.
“We’ve got to do it all again but we’ll take it on, no doubt about that, and the excitement around the Europa League is something different.
“We are blessed now with a few more internationals, so they know international football, but as a club in general it’s going to be new for a lot of people and for the fans.
“It’s something we are embracing, and we are going to do all we can to progress.”
Aberdeen, meanwhile, will be taking part in their 31st European campaign and competing in the Europa League qualification phase for the fifth successive season after finishing as runners-up in the Scottish Premiership for four years in a row.
The Dons, who won the European Cup Winners’ Cup under Alex Ferguson in 1983, haven’t reached the group stage in that run but have reached the third qualifying round each time.
And boss Derek McInnes sees the clash against Burnley as similar to the tie they lost 5-2 on aggregate to Spanish top-flight side Real Sociedad four years ago as he looks to take his side through to a meeting with Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir in the next round.
McIness, who watched the Clarets beat Preston 3-2 in a friendly on Monday night, told a press conference before Thursday’s first leg: “We've beaten some good teams but when you look at the league Burnley are operating in, any team that can finish seventh in the English Premier League is a very good side that has to be doing so much right.
“Sean has done a brilliant job and is rinsing everything out of that team, so from that point or view, it would have to be right up there.
“A comparison is maybe Real Sociedad. They've been the best team to date we've played in the Europa League.
“We were very close to causing a huge shock there so we will draw on all the experiences we've had.
“Whether we've been the favourites or the underdogs we've always went into every tie believing we can win it and that'll be the case against Burnley.”
Aberdeen, meanwhile, have signed defender Tommie Hoban, 24, on a season-long loan from Watford – a player who was at Vicarage Road when Dyche was in charge.
And they have also recruited goalkeeper Tomas Cerny as a free agent after he left Partick Thistle at the end of last season.
The Czech, 33, will provide back-up to former Peterborough United keeper Joe Lewis and is available to join the squad to face the Clarets.
Hoban could also figure if international clearance is received in time, with clubs given dispensation by Uefa to make two changes to the original squad lists submitted.