Managerless Aberdeen started life after Jim Goodwin with a 3-1 home defeat to St Mirren after playing 83 minutes with 10 men.
The Dons, who had Barry Robson in caretaker charge following the sacking of Goodwin after Saturday’s 6-0 rout at Hibernian, were down to 10 men in the seventh minute when Ross McCrorie was sent off.
Former Aberdeen forward Curtis Main scored twice for Saints, either side of Bojan Miovski’s equaliser, before Declan Gallagher added a third at the death.
McCrorie had already flashed a header into the arms of Trevor Carson and his rampaging run seemed to be brought to an end by a Charles Dunne bodycheck.
Referee Grant Irvine saw it differently and not only gave the foul the other way, but after a VAR check decided McCrorie had thrown an elbow and issued a red card.
Aberdeen’s well-documented recent form should have seen them crumble, but instead they showed a new-found determination, keeping the visitors at bay for long spells.
New signing Mattie Pollock got in the way of an Alex Greive effort as the Buddies forced a rare effort on goal, before Irvine found himself at the centre of the action once more.
Dunne lunged in on Graeme Shinnie as the Aberdeen captain mopped up a loose ball in midfield, and tempers frayed as the defender was shown only a yellow card.
Further bookings followed for St Mirren’s Greive, and Aberdeen duo Ylber Ramadani and Luis Lopes in the ensuing melee.
Perhaps wisely, Dunne was substituted at the break with Gallagher taking his place, but it was another ex-Aberdeen player who finally broke the deadlock.
A free-kick on the byline saw Ryan Strain swing a neat delivery to Main at the front post and he bulleted a header past a helpless Joe Lewis to give his side the lead.
Aberdeen survived an old-fashioned stramash, including a customary handball check, before drawing level.
Lopes twisted and turned his way into the area before being tugged back by Marcus Fraser. Irvine pointed to the spot and Miovski stepped up to drill into the bottom-left corner as Carson went the other way.
However, Main was on hand to put his side back in front with a smart flick and volley with 10 minutes remaining.
Then another former Aberdeen player Gallagher headed home a third in the final minute, after a VAR check to confirm both that there was no offside and that the ball had crossed the line.
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