BK Hacken 2-2 Aberdeen: Nicky Devlin 'owed' his side a performance after Celtic error

Nicky Devlin celebrates
Nicky Devlin dinked in the crucial equaliser for Aberdeen in Sweden

"We've went from maybe being in a sticky situation to it being all to play for in the second leg."

A lot can happen in five minutes of football.

With 16 minutes left in Gothenburg, it seemed Aberdeen would face an uphill battle at Pittodrie in the second leg of their Europa League play-off tie with Hacken. With 11 minutes to go, they were ferociously searching for a winner.

Barry Robson's side had suffered a sucker-punch in the first half as the Swedes broke the deadlock on a devastating counter, then were victim to VAR's interference for a second-half penalty. It looked like it just wasn't going to be their night.

Then, bang bang. Bojan Miovski, obviously, but Nicky Devlin, a bit of a surprise. Even to the man himself, even if he thinks his goalscoring contribution was due.

"I know myself I cost us the game a few weeks ago against Celtic, so I owed the boys a performance and a moment like that," the 29-year-old told BBC Scotland.

"Hopefully that goes a wee bit to repay the boys because they've been excellent since the start of the season and we got what we deserved."

Fitting reward for effervescent efforts

It would have been a near injustice for Aberdeen to return from their Gothenburg pilgrimage with nothing to show for their effervescent efforts.

They had 17 shots on goal, with five ending up on target. One of them was Devlin's delectable dink after Miovski's splendid assist. It was the defender's first for the club since joining from Livingston in the summer.

"I've probably not scored a goal that's been as important," Devlin added. "If Bojan did that he'd of been talking about it for weeks and weeks.

Particularly given what happened against Celtic earlier in the month. Devlin's head was in his hands as Kyogo Furuhashi latched onto a dreadful defensive lapse at Pittodrie. Tonight, there were limbs in the Bravida Arena.

"The reaction from the boys, I've probably never had that before," he said. "I made a mistake and almost every player came up to me making sure I forgot it and go again."

That camaraderie is something a few Aberdeen players have mentioned since former Scotland international Robson took to the helm.

It was apparent in Sweden that was a team fighting for each other. The heads never went down, the belief was always lingering.

With European football - at some level - secured until at least Christmas, the squad will be required to keep tight and keep ticking away to prevent the hectic schedule becoming overwhelming.

Speaking of overwhelming, among the buoyant fans in the stands were two proud parents of Devlin. Whether it took a plane, train or automobile journey to get there, they were always going to be in attendance.

"This is my debut in the competition, they weren't going to miss this, no matter where it was," he said. "It's a big moment for me, my family - my mum and dad were there so I'm sure they'll be proud going back to home."