Barry Robson hopes to add to his Aberdeen squad in the not-too-distant future so that his team are fully prepared for a tricky start to the upcoming campaign.

The Dons face a trip to the Tony Macaroni Arena to face Livingston on the opening day of the 2023/24 cinch Premiership season before hosting champions Celtic a week later.

Aberdeen enters the Europa League at the play-off round, with the two-legged tie taking place towards the end of August, and Robson’s men know that they are guaranteed European group-stage football no matter the result as the losing side will drop into the Conference League.

It will be a testing start to the new season and understandably, Robson is keen to get his first team finalised at the earliest possible opportunity. Deals have already been struck for Nicky Devlin, Leighton Clarkson, Graeme Shinnie, Ester Sokler, and Rhys Williams but the Dons’ summer shopping spree won’t stop there.

“It’s a difficult start,” Robson told Sky Sports. “It’s not ever easy to go away to Livingston and then you’ve got Celtic next as well. But we are desperate to get going.

“We are really looking forward to the new season. Everybody has got to play everybody and it is a game that we know will be difficult, but we are really looking forward to it.

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“It’s well-documented that there is a bigger turnaround this summer than what I would like but I think the business we have done so far has been excellent. The players that we have managed to bring in this far has been the type of player we want at this football club.

“We want to keep pushing with that. First and foremost you need to have energy and you need to want to win, and that’s the type of player and type of character we are looking at.

“We are down the road with some but you know what football is like – sometimes it is hard to push it and get it over the line but we will try and do that.”

The team will be whisked away to a week-long training camp in Portugal on Saturday and Robson is relishing the prospect of putting his players through their paces. Endurance, he says, will be pivotal to the team’s fortunes on the park over the course of the campaign.

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“We’ve been back for two days now,” he said. “We go away to Portugal [on Saturday] and we will be there for a week doing double sessions.

“We like going away so we can get lots of focus on the squad. We can get lots of meetings in, we can really define how we want to play and we can stress the players physically in the heat as well, which is important because we want to be a front-foot, energetic team. We can work on all these things.

“First and foremost you need to prepare and get your team ready. I think you need to be able to come into the first game without overcooking it.

“You can’t over-train them or over-play them because we have got a lot of European games where we have to come into the season just about right. That isn’t easy to get right but I am confident in the way we train and with the sports science model we work to that we can do that.

“Apart from that you have got to be able to stay in the fight [in the league]. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

“You have got to have that energy in the second half of the season but we have got a lot of experience of trying to do that so hopefully we can stay strong right throughout the season.”

The Dons haven’t played European group-stage football since Jimmy Calderwood led Aberdeen into the UEFA Cup in 2007/08 and the significance of embarking on a continental adventure is not lost on Robson.

The 44-year-old knows that his squad will have to bulk up a little in order to compete simultaneously in Europe and on the home front, but he is adamant that it is a challenging that everyone associated with the club is relishing.

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“It’s where you want to be,” Robson explained. “We are guaranteed to be in the group stages in Europe for the first time in 17 or 18 years. The fans are excited about it and everyone in the city is excited about it.

“The players worked hard to get it. We know it’s a challenge, we’re not naïve, but what we need to do is be consistent.

“We need to be able to use the squad and rotate it well. We also need to stay in the fight in the league and perform in Europe and then we will see where that takes us when we get to Christmas time.

“We have worked so hard to get here as a football club – players, staff, everyone. We need to enjoy it but we also need to make sure we are focused.

“We want to do well [in Europe] and we want to do well in the league. We need to make sure we have a decent-sized squad for it and we will try to bring that. It’s an exciting time for the football club.”