Adam Rooney scores the only goal as Aberdeen beat Ross County
Aberdeen's talisman Adam Rooney netted the only goal of the game as his side extended the gap over third-placed Rangers in the Ladbrokes Premiership to nine points.
It was the same scoreline by which the Dons triumphed in the last meeting between the two, on Scottish Cup duties just a fortnight ago.
The sides cancelled each other out for most of the first half, with only a Martin Woods free-kick, given for a foul that saw Mark Reynolds booked, over the bar to show for a stop-start opening half-hour.
But the game suddenly opened up after the 30-minute mark, with Rooney's bicycle kick and a 20-yard Kenny McLean daisy-cutter drawing saves from County keeper Scott Fox.
Another free kick, this time from Alex Schalk, saw Dons keeper Joe Lewis called into action for the first time, and from the loose ball, Craig Curran could only send his follow-up over the bar.
But the Dons should have taken the lead in first half injury time. Jonny Hayes appeared to nudge former team-mate Paul Quinn as he won the ball from the County defender, but referee Willie Collum waved play on.
Hayes continued into the box and put the ball on a plate for fellow Irishman Rooney, but the usually reliable striker completely missed his kick and the ball rolled out harmlessly for a goal kick.
That would be the last action for Quinn who was replaced at the interval by Kenny van Dee Weg, and it was County who threatened first in the second half. Schalk, this time from open play, forcing Lewis to dive at full stretch to turn his 25-yard effort round the post.
Schalk was again involved when he flicked and Andrew Davies header towards goal, but Lewis was well placed to block - even if the keeper knew little about it.
Aberdeen finally broke the deadlock after 69 minutes, and Rooney too knew little about it. The striker was hovering at the near post when McLean's low cross deflected off Davies and in off the striker's shin.
Two minutes later, Rooney tried another bicycle kick which had Fox scrambling across his goal to palm away as the Dons looked to build on their lead.
With just a single goal separating the sides, a quiet nervousness filled Pittodrie as full-time approached, however Derek McInnes' men kept County at arm's length to secure the three points.