Aberdeen FC striker Adam Rooney scored the first hat-trick of the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League campaign in the 3-0 away victory over FK Daugava Rīga and is so doing became the only Dons player to score a treble in Europe for 30 years.
The 26-year-old's strikes on 22, 40 and 45 minutes in the Latvian capital gave the Dons a comfortable 8-0 aggregate win in their first round qualifying tie. The Republic of Ireland striker's feat also echoed that of Mark McGhee – the last player to score a hat-trick for Aberdeen, against Újpest FC in the quarter-final of the 1983/84 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
"I am sure Adam will know that statistic because he is always looking to test himself," said Dons manager Derek McInnes. " I thought the three goals were excellent and well worked. It was very clinical from Adam. They were real good finishes and two of them were top quality.
"He got two in the first leg, so he's off to a good start. Strikers thrive on that confidence. He likes to go between the penalty spot and the goal and if you put the ball in those areas that is where he is comfortable. Adam makes good runs across people and he anticipates well especially when defenders are flat-footed. He thrives off good service and he got that."
The Dons now face Dutch side FC Groningen in the second qualifying round with the first leg at Pittodrie next Thursday. McInnes knows they will face a much tougher task against the Eredivisie outfit.
"We have to get our heads on the Groningen game now," he added. "They have a bit of pace and presence, playing a similar system to ourselves. It will be a good test for us, but it will be a good test for them as well because we've got better as we've gone along.
"Hopefully, we will be good enough to get through and will be one to look forward to. Groningen are a bit behind us in terms of competitive matches, but we are up and running. The advantage Daugava had over us, we will have that slight advantage over Groningen. It is good to get competitve football now and we will certainly need to be competitive in the games against Groningen."
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