Lewis Ferguson’s second-half penalty earned Aberdeen a vital 1-0 win over rock-bottom Dundee and all-but extinguish any fears of being hauled into the cinch Premiership relegation dogfight.
Ferguson coolly slotted home his 16th goal of the season after Jonny Hayes had been brought down amid a ruck of bodies, and it was probably just about deserved for the home side.
Dundee had been looking to build on a run of three straight draws and close the five-point gap to St Johnstone, but went into the game without a win in manager Mark McGhee’s 10 games in charge.
They were without goalkeeper Ian Lawlor through illness, with Harrison Sharp stepping in between the sticks, while former Don Niall McGinn started in place of Shaun Byrne.
Aberdeen, with just one win to show for Jim Goodwin’s eight games as manager, brought in Calvin Ramsay and top scorer Christian Ramirez for Funso Ojo and the suspended Ross McCrorie.
They had an effort straight from the kick-off as Ferguson launched a shot from the halfway line narrowly over Sharp’s crossbar, and the Dons would go on to enjoy the better of the opening stages, though without troubling the goalkeeper.
Dundee edged their way into the match with their press on the Dons defence causing problems for the home side.
Their first chance came after Danny Mullen’s shot from the edge of the box was blocked, raising claims of a handball. Those were denied, and so too was Paul McGowan’s follow-up as Joe Lewis saved at point-blank range.
The press came into play when Max Anderson robbed Ferguson on the edge of his own area shortly after, forcing Lewis into a fine diving stop from Mullen.
And the Aberdeen keeper completed a hat-trick of saves when he again reacted well to save after David Bates’ clearance came off Paul McMullan from a McGinn cross.
The home side had a penalty claim of their own when Jack MacKenzie went down under the challenge of Cammy Kerr just moments after the interval, but referee Willie Collum instead signalled for a corner.
Both sides looked lively now, with Vicente Besuijen flashing a low shot wide of the far post, before at the other end, a Ryan Sweeney header was cleared off the line by Calvin Ramsay.
The deadlock was finally broken after 73 minutes when Ferguson neatly chipped down the middle of the goal from 12 yards after Collum had pointed to the spot.
Though Dundee had chances to level through substitute Josh Mulligan and striker Mullen, the solitary goal was enough to settle the match.
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