JAMIE MCGRATH is hoping to lean on the European experience built from his time taking on the continent with St Patrick’s Athletic and Dundalk when Dundee United face AZ Alkmaar tomorrow night.

The Tangerines travel to the Netherlands with a one goal lead following last Thursday’s thrilling victory over the Dutch side at Tannadice.

McGrath, 25, got the assist for Glenn Middleton’s winner on what was his debut for the club, having arrived on loan from Wigan Athletic last Wednesday.

It was the Irishman’s 15th appearance in European competition stretching back to 2015.

The midfielder was not short of suitors before joining United, with Aberdeen also interested in him, but it was the Tayside club who did the most get a deal done.

The opportunity to again test himself against foreign opposition was a key factor in him deciding to move to United.

They now face AZ in the second leg at the AFAS stadium tomorrow night. While Sunday’s defeat to Livingston may have dampened the mood around the club but there will be over 2,000 United supporters in the Netherlands for what is the club’s biggest European match of the 21st century.

Should United get the job done in the Netherlands, then they would face either Portuguese side Gil Vicente or Riga, of Latvia, for a spot in the group stage of the Conference League.

McGrath said: “These big European nights are something I missed. I had a few of them with Dundalk and, when you look back at the memorable games, those are the ones you reflect on. Last week was one of the best, result-wise and in terms of the atmosphere. But we’re only halfway there and can’t get carried away.

“It’ll be a different challenge in the Netherlands — we know that — but we’ll take so much confidence from the game at Tannadice.

“I think back to Slovan Bratislava [a Europa League qualifying defeat in 2019] and beating Riga on penalties [in the first round of Champions League qualifying in 2019] — I’ll never forget the scenes out in Latvia — and I hope there’s another really big night to come.

“The gaffer [Jack Ross] told us pre-match: if we’re on it, we’d probably get a result. We had that belief, and proved that we can play and fight. We weren’t out of our depth at all.”

It was a quick turnaround for McGrath, with his arrival at United confirmed last Wednesday, just a day before he made his debut. He was brought on as a substitute before recording his first start on Sunday.

McGrath said: “I only trained for the first time last Wednesday, getting in with the boys, but the gaffer gave me the nod that I might be involved if everything went through on time.

“When I got word that I might be in the squad, I was buzzing but I just prepared like I normally would.

“It was some buzz. The atmosphere was absolutely unbelievable. This European tie was the main reason I wanted to get it done in good time. We didn’t know exactly how the registration and everything would go but thankfully everything went smoothly and I was able to get a night I’ll remember for the rest of my career; those are the games that are so special and stay with you.”

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack hinted on Twitter that the financial package proposed by Wigan was not good value and that the club pulled out of the deal. However, McGrath insisted that United that United were the only club that he wanted to sign for.

“I didn’t see those [comments by Cormack],” McGrath said. “I had a few options, not only in Scotland but down south and abroad as well. It was about weighing everything up and, after seeing everything that was going on at the club, and the feeling around the place, this is the only place I wanted to be.”

Although United were poor at the weekend, their performance in the first leg against AZ was excellent. Middleton got the goal but it was a brilliant pass from deep by Dylan Levitt that set the move in action for their goal.

McGrath said: “It was some finish by Glenn. The first touch came to me and it was just a little lay-off to let him do the rest - what a finish it was. And that was only his first start for the club, as well, so you can see that we are settling in well.

“The quality right through our team is evident, hopefully I can add to that. Some of the touches Dylan Levitt has — just incredible — then you have [Ian] Harkesy and Sibbs [Craig Sibbald].

“Big [Steven] Fletcher up front and whether it’s Tony [Watt], Glenn or Immi [Ilmari Niskanen] coming off the wings, it’s quality through the team. I’ll have a battle to get into the side. We’ve got a lot of options and quality, and we’re all champing at the bit to get in there.”