The goal for Dundalk this week is simple. Keep their title ambitions on track and advance to the next stage of the Champions League.
A 53rd minute strike from John Mountney against St Patrick’s Athletic in Richmond Park on Saturday means the first part of that process is complete.
Now the Mayo man is hopeful his side can complete the second part when they take on Qarabag in the Dalga Arena on Wednesday night.
It was a rare left-footed strike for Mountney from Patrick McEleney’s cross that made it 20 games unbeaten for Dundalk and he admitted afterwards it was a relief to have got the three points in between the distraction of the meeting with the Azerbaijani champions.
“The games in between Europe are massive and you can’t afford to drop any points so our main focus was nothing but three points and it’s great now to get them because we can focus on the European game,” he said.
“We started the second half brightly. Fats (McEleney) was getting on the ball a lot. With the quality he has around the box he can pick out a pass and all I had to do was tap it in. It was just a relief to see the ball hit the net.”
While Mountney expects Gurban Gurbanov’s side to up their game on home soil, he is confident Dundalk have what it takes to pull off what would be a huge upset.
“Everyone seen the quality they had in Oriel Park but at the same time the way we finished the game and the energy we still had and the belief we had to go and score, we’ll have that same mindset out there.
“Of course it will be tougher away from home but at the same time we’ll be confident going out there that we can try and qualify.
“Everyone knows that they like to dominate the ball and they’re all very comfortable on the ball. In the final third their wingers are very tricky but at the same time we’ll get our game plan right to try and stop them but at the same time score ourselves,” he said.