Runavik boss Glenn Ståhl on ‘Mr NSI’ aiming to down Aberdeen

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He scored past Kepa Arrizabalaga on international duty, boasts a hat-trick against Hibernian and is a five-time Golden Boot winner in the Faroe Islands top-flight.

Klæmint Olsen, ‘MR NSÍ’, is Runavik’s captain, one-club man and undoubtedly the biggest threat to Aberdeen’s Europa League hopes.

“I believe he would die for NSÍ,” says manager Glenn Ståhl, summing up Olsen’s dedication to the club. Talisman doesn’t do it justice.

Olsen, #10, in action for Runavik (Pic: Instagram, @klaemint_andrasson)

The 30-year-old has found the net just shy of 200 times during 13 years in the Runavik first-team, including an ultimately fruitless treble in the 12-5 aggregate defeat against the Hibees two years ago.

Olsen repeated that feat last Thursday, walking away with the match-ball after Runavik battered Barry Town 5-1, teeing up their trip to Pittodrie.

He has been capped 28 times for the Faroe Islands, with his only goal in that time coming in a 4-1 defeat against Spain last July, beating Chelsea’s £71m stopper Kepa.

Despite that more modest return on the biggest stage, Ståhl believes the Dons would be foolish to underestimate Olsen – or the level of talent on the tiny Atlantic island.

“Klaemint is simply Mr NSÍ,” lauds Ståhl, whose only outing on Scottish soil was for Sweden’s under-18 side in 1989. They hammered their Scottish counterparts 4-0 at Somerset Park.

“He was born in Runavik and has stayed at this club for his whole career, despite serious offers from abroad. I have no doubt he would have been good enough to play elsewhere.

“He is an amazing player and even better person – and would probably be ready to die for his club.

“There is no doubt Klæmint will be an important player for us against Aberdeen but it needs to be a team performance.

“He is a good example of how some players are underestimated because they play in the Faroe Islands. Some people will be surprised by the quality.

“When I coached in Sweden and Norway I always saw this attitude of ‘this small country in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean’ can’t have any good players. And it is not true at all.”

Teammate Jann Benjaminsen, who racked up three assists during the demolition of Barry Town, is similarly effusive in his praise.

“Klæmint is a machine in the box,” says the Faroe Islands under-21 internationalist. “If we can provide him the opportunities then he will do the rest.

“We are very lucky to have him and if anyone watches highlights of his play, or comes to his matches, they will see why.”

 

STÅHL: THE GAME OF OUR LIVES

 

Ståhl, however, is not naive enough to think one player – however clinical and committed to the cause – will be enough to manufacture one of the biggest ever giant-killings on Scottish soil.

The Runavik squad seeking to stun the Dons (Pic: Instagram, @nsirunavikfc)

Runavik’s win over Barry Town represented their maiden triumph in a European tie, with previous exits coming against the likes of Ballymena, Differdange and Shakhtyor Soligorsk. They are acutely aware of their overwhelming status as underdogs.

“As a coach, it would be crazy for me to say ‘we can’t win’,” said Ståhl. “We know that Aberdeen are huge favourites but the beauty of football is that it is illogical.

“If all of our players are at their maximum and we play the game of our lives, then the game is full of possibilities.”

 

KNUDSEN: HIBS DEMOLITION A DISTANT MEMORY

 

Meanwhile, winger Petur Knudsen has warned Aberdeen that they will be facing a very different side from the one decimated on their last visit to Scotland.

Knudsen was part of that Runavik side which lost 6-1 at Easter Road on Europa League duty in 2018. Indeed, he was the man who notched the deflected consolation goal.

They fell behind to a Flo Kamberi penalty after three minutes, a red card was shown to Einar Hansen after half-an-hour; everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the minnows.

The second leg was more a foggy fever dream than a football match.

Hibs trip to Runavik was shrouded in mist for much of the contest

Runavik raced into a two-goal lead at the Svangaskard Stadium – the site of Scotland’s chastening 2-2 draw with the Faroe Islands in 2002 – sending Hibs boss Neil Lennon into fits of fury.

The visitors got their act together and pulled the scoreline back to 2-2. Then 3-2, 3-3, 3-4, 4-4, 4-5 and, ultimately, 4-6.

At one point the stadium was enveloped by a thick mist, forcing the game to be temporarily paused and putting its completion in doubt.

Knudsen said: “The result at Easter Road isn’t anything we like to talk about! But I think we learned a lot as a team.

“Personally, it was great to score but the result and team performance was the main focus – and that wasn’t good enough.

“We are a stronger team today. We have a great squad now and are more suited for these games, with really experienced players and also some new hungry guys from our academy.

“We are excited to show ourselves and everyone else what we are capable of.

“We know that we have a chance of going through to the next round.”

 

 

 
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