Dons move clear in race for second
Aberdeen moved four points clear of Motherwell in the race for second place after a hard fought goalless draw with Inverness in the Highland capital.
Niall McGinn came the closest for Dons in the first half when he struck the bar, while Greg Tansey repeated the feat after the interval as Inverness looked for a winner to boost their own hopes of making Europe next season.
The draw makes it eight games unbeaten in the league for Aberdeen as they look to finish the season as the best of the rest behind champions Celtic.
Caley Thistle, whose last game was a 2-1 Highland derby success two weeks ago, made one enforced change from that line-up.
Graeme Shinnie was ruled out due to a one-game ban, his place being taken by Ross Draper, who was returning after illness. Captain Richie Foran remained on the sidelines after undergoing knee surgery.
Aberdeen arrived in Inverness looking to make amends for last weekend's surprise Scottish Cup semi-final loss to St Johnstone.
Former Caley Thistle winger Jonny Hayes was involved again after recovering from a collarbone injury, coming in for the suspended Ryan Jack.
The hosts went into this one knowing three points were vital in their pursuit of a place in next season's qualifying rounds of the Europa League and they almost seized the early initiative.
Despite being pulled back by Russell Anderson, Marley Watkins still managed to get onto a long ball over the top that he prodded into the path of Billy Mckay, who from 12 yards tried to curl an effort beyond Jamie Langfield, but the Dons goalkeeper made a fine save diving to his left.
Caley Thistle were quickly into their stride and Aaron Doran was next to try his luck from 16 yards, but his strike dipped just over the crossbar after being set up by Greg Tansey.
The best attempt Aberdeen could muster in the opening exchanges was a header by Jonny Hayes from Shaleum Logan's cross, but it bounced easily into the arms of Dean Brill.
It was the visitors, however, that came closest to taking the lead as the first half drew to a close.
Peter Pawlett worked his way into Caley Thistle's 18-yard box before teeing up McGinn, but the on-form midfielder's shot looked to be tipped on to the underside of the bar by Brill before bouncing away to safety.
Inverness did have an opportunity themselves in injury-time, but Langfield was off his line quickly to thwart Mckay as he attempted to latch on to Doran's incisive through pass.
Caley Thistle continued to press at the beginning of the second half, Draper putting a glancing header from Doran's corner narrowly over.
It was then the home side's turn to be denied by the woodwork, Langfield touching Tansey's effort on to the bar after good work by Marley Watkins. Logan then managed to get back to prevent Mckay from turning home the rebound.
Inverness introduced Ryan Christie into the fray and it was from his raking long pass that allowed Mckay a sight of goal, but the striker's low drive was straight at Langfield.
Aberdeen had hardly been seen as an attacking force in the second half, a Barry Robson free-kick that flew high and wide the best of the half chances that fell the visitors way.
The Dons, however, almost nicked it at the end, Willo Flood putting a low ball into the six-yard box that McGinn managed to get on the end of, but the effort lacked power as Brill saved comfortably.