Lewis Ferguson was one step away from a hat-trick as Aberdeen gave his fans another night of European glory upon their return to Pittodria.
The midfielder enjoyed his first game alongside former Celtic skipper Scott Brown, hitting the post from 25 yards before scoring a penalty and succeeding with another long-range strike in a 5-1 win on BK Hacken.
Andy Considine led the Dons in a period of intense pressure in the first half in the first leg of the Europa Conference second qualifying round in front of a small crowd of 5,665.
Alexander Jeremejeff gave the Swedes a lifeline with the visitors’ first effort on target.
But Christian Ramirez and substitute Connor McLennan have given the Dons some breathing space ahead of next week’s trip to Gothenburg, the scene of their 1983 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final triumph over Real Madrid.
Brown and Ramirez were joined by Jay Emmanuel-Thomas to make their debut, but Declan Gallagher was denied his introduction by a European suspension after being sent off for Motherwell last season.
Brown had an eventful opening for a few minutes. The 36-year-old rushed to put a tackle on Hacken’s line, was questioned by the referee for some minor scrambling during a throw-in, then offered possession to Leo Bengtsson in his
own half. Considine came to his rescue with a block before being booked shortly after for a foul just on the edge of his box.
Hacken’s free kick hit the wall and Aberdeen gradually settled around the 20-minute mark, with Brown proving a calming influence after his slightly chaotic start.
Emmanuel-Thomas went from the corner of impressive right-back Calvin Ramsay, 17, before Ferguson hit the post.
Funso Ojo, returning from a loan at Wigan and deployed to the left midfielder, forced a decent save after being released by Emmanuel-Thomas, who saw a header clear of the line from the resulting corner.
Ramsay also swung the next corner towards the back post and Considine timed his run perfectly to get home in the 28th minute with goalkeeper Peter Abrahamsson stranded.
The opportunities are linked. Abrahamsson made a double save against Ojo and Ramirez before holding back a header from Ryan Hedges. And Ferguson doubled the lead a minute before the break after Bengtsson fouled Hedges.
The midfielder showed his confidence eight minutes after the break when he unleashed a powerful strike from nearly 30 yards that beat the goalkeeper inside his near post.
The visitors, who are 11 games into their league season, pulled one out of nowhere in the 59th minute when Jeremejeff scooped a ball forward and worked to fall back to the top 16-yard corner.
Aberdeen didn’t put on the same pressure as in the first half, but they still created the occasional chance with Hedges and Ramirez coming closer.
The United States striker scored from close range in the 83rd minute as he slipped to convert a ball coached by Jack MacKenzie, who was in place of the injured Ojo, and McLennan completed the fifth in downtime.