Gotenburg was the end point in Aberdeen’s most famous continental adventure of all as Real Madrid were beaten by Alex Ferguson’s side to lift the 1983 European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Thirteen years on from the Dons last gracing a European group stage under Jimmy Calderwood, the Red Army are hoping the Swedish city, home to BK Hacken, is the start point of a fresh and exciting odyssey.
Their beloved Dons take a thumping lead over to the Hisingen Arena after a five-star performance in the first leg of this second round qualifier in the inaugural Europa Conference League.
Hibernian take a thumping lead over to the Hisingen Arena after a five-star performance against BK Hacken
On the night when fans were finally allowed back into Pittodrie after 16 months of being locked out during the pandemic, how the 5,665 supporters roared Stephen Glass’ side to victory.
Each goal briefly threatened to rip the roof off Pittodrie, from Andy Considine’s close-range header to Lewis Ferguson’s penalty kick and late efforts from new signing Christian Ramirez and substitute Connor McLennan.
But the noise that greeted Ferguson’s second – a 30-yard-screamer – was the loudest of all before a goal from Hacken dangerman Alexander Jeremejeff briefly silenced Pittodrie.
It was not all sweetness and light from the Red Army on a fine night in the Granite City.
Andy Considine (front) grabbed the opener at Pittodrie with a close-range header
Before kick off, a smattering of boos greeted the announcement of Aberdeen’s new captain, Scott Brown, which were soon drowned out by cheers.
The former Celtic talisman has vowed to win over his detractors by showing the same winning qualities that saw him lift 22 pieces of silverware in 14 years at Celtic Park.
This was a very decent debut from the 36-year-old after an admittedly slow start. Brown’s first involvement saw him give the ball away with a risky pass out of defence.
It took an important block by Considine to stop Leo Bengtssen striking a shot on target.
Considine was then booked for bringing down Ali Youssef at the edge of the box as Aberdeen’s early jitters continued but the Dons soon grew into the match.
Lewis Ferguson then netted a penalty to double the lead in the Europa Conference League second round first leg
They had their first shot when Ryan Hedges set up Ferguson at the edge of the box but his attempt flew high over the Hacken bar.
Ferguson then came close to opening the scoring with another effort from range but this time his 22 yard strike rattled the outside of the left post with Peter Abrahamsson beaten. Ferguson’s time would come and how.
By now, Aberdeen were fully in control and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas – known as JET – ended some nifty footwork by slipping a great ball into the path of Funso Ojo.
The Belgian midfielder’s cross was deflected wide for a corner, which was taken by Ramsay, who placed the ball onto the head of the rising Emmanuel-Thomas.
The former Livingston forward’s effort was cleared off the line by Jeremejeff but Ramsay’s second corner found Considine at the back post. The defender duly buried a header into the net and celebrated wildly.
All eyes had been on debutants like Brown, Emmanuel-Thomas and US international striker Ramirez but it was the veteran, who missed the cut for Scotland’s Euro 2020 squad, who had made the all-important breakthrough.
The noise that greeted Ferguson’s second – a 30-yard-screamer – was the loudest of all
Aberdeen by now were running over the top of Hacken. Ojo nearly made it 2-0 when he found himself clear in the box after the ball had bounced off various shins in a game of human pinball before landing in his path.
Abrahamsson pulled off an important save; a feat he repeated within 60 seconds when he blocked a close-range header by Ramirez.
Aberdeen were attacking relentlessly and they had a penalty when Bengtsson brought down the lively Hedges in the box.
Ferguson ignored Abrahamsson’s attempts at gamesmanship by coming off his line before the kick.
He kept his cool, sending the Hacken keeper diving to his left as he rolled the ball into the opposite corner.
A goal from Hacken dangerman Alexander Jeremejeff (centre) briefly silenced Pittodrie
Ferguson made a spectacular start to life at Aberdeen when he scored a wonderful overhead kick goal away to Burnley in the Europa League in 2018 in only his second match for the club.
And he had another marvellous goal to add to his collection after the break.
Ross McCrorie intercepted a pass out of defence by Gustav Berggren and fed Ferguson 30 yards from goal.
The midfielder cracked an astonishing piledriver that whistled past Abrhamsson and into the back of the Hacken net.
Last month, Ferguson handed in a transfer request after English Premier League side Watford had bids of up to £2million knocked back for the midfielder. If the 21-year-old still wants away from Pittodrie it certainly did not show.
But then, out of nowhere, Hacken grabbed a goal back when Jeremejeff looked up and curled a fine finish beyond Joe Lewis.
USA star Christian Ramirez then popped up at the back post to add the comfort of a fourth
Away goals have been scrapped by UEFA but it was still a setback for Aberdeen.
However, Ramirez popped up at the back post to add the comfort of a fourth before Pittodrie erupted again to an injury time fifth by McLennan.
There was one final deafening din from the Red Army when referee Munuera blew time up on a fine performance from the Dons.
In 2007, Glass was part of Stephen Kenny’s Dunfermline side who were knocked out of the UEFA Cup 2-1 on aggregate by Hacken.
Ahead of the second leg in fabled Gothenburg next Thursday, the Dons boss can start planning for a third round meeting with Austria Vienna or Iceland’s Breidablik.
Pittodrie erupted again to an injury time fifth by substitute Connor McLennan in injury time