Aberdeen are through to the second qualifying round of the Europa League after beating RoPS Rovaniemi 2-1 in Finland to give Derek McInnes’ 300th game in charge a positive end.
The tie ended 4-2 on aggregate.
But their passage was not a straightforward one with the Finnish club following up their injury-time goal at Pittodrie by scoring, via Tarik Kada’s deflected strike, just after the opening minute in Rovaniemi to threaten an upset which their manager Pasi Tuutti claimed would be the biggest result in his club’s history.
But Aberdeen held their nerve and did not crumble following a nightmare start in the Arctic Circle with Sam Cosgrove’s penalty – after Lewis Ferguson was felled in the area – just before the half hour putting the tie firmly back in their favour.
Despite dominating possession as a result of their pace and quality out wide, the Reds couldn’t kill the tie, with Cosgrove missing chances to head home either side of the break.
The big striker was replaced with around half an hour to play by Curtis Main, on for his competitive debut.
However, RoPS fought doggedly.
After a couple of scares – the most significant of which coming when a superb Lingman pass sent Sergio Llamas clear and Joe Lewis raced off his line to block the attacker’s effort – Ferguson struck in the final minute to secure a second round tie against Georgians Chikhura Sachkhere.
Ferguson’s first effort was saved by Antonio Reguero, but he regained possession and expertly hooked the ball over the desperate home defenders into the net.