Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes said Kenny McLean's winner was "no more than we deserved" after they defeated Dundee United 1-0 at Tannadice.
The Dons boss made four changes in a bid to freshen the side following the midweek excursions in Kazakhstan, and he was rewarded with the three points.
"Coming here as an away team we had loads of control of the game," McInnes told BBC Scotland.
"We were just looking to find a way to win the game."
Aberdeen had travelled a near 10,000 mile round trip in the Europa League to face Kairat Almaty on Thursday, but McInnes praised the fitness levels of his team.
"The players deserve a lot of credit, they finished the game fit and strong," he said.
"I was bemoaning the quality in the last third at times, the last pass delivered into the box wasn't good enough from set plays and it was really frustrating from that point of view.
"Once we scored I thought the experience and maturity of the team was clear to see, we managed the game very well. Delighted for everybody because that was a big effort with the circumstances prior to the game.
"We're tight for numbers, we're stretched defensively with Mark Reynolds injury, but we had the luxury of freshening it up middle to front and I thought that helped today getting the result."
Dundee United boss Jackie McNamara disagreed with McInnes' assessment, feeling his side were unlucky not to take a point, noting Mario Bilate passing up a good opportunity in the first half when he just had goalkeeper Danny Ward to beat.
He said: "I thought we were unfortunate with the goal. Over the 90 minutes I thought we had the best chance, there wasn't a lot in it. I don't recall our 'keeper having a lot to do in the game.
"I'm disappointed, I don't think we deserved to lose the game.
"Aberdeen are everybody's favourites to finish second but I didn't see a lot in the game there. We had two young centre halves and I thought they coped very well.
"Going back 12 months we beat Aberdeen in the first game and they went on to have a good season, I'm not going to start panicking now."
All eyes now turn to Thursday's Europa League third qualifying round second leg tie at Pittodrie, with a full house expected.
McInnes said: "We want to make it a night to remember and a special night. The only way of doing that is by winning and getting through.
"We know what we have to do, they're a good side. I believe we'll score, and I said to the players over there at half-time if we win the second half we'll win the tie and that's still how I feel at this moment."