Aberdeen missed out on the chance to secure their Europa League spot as they drew 1-1 with Rangers.
Kenny McLean scored from the spot in the first half in his final game at Pittodrie but Ross McCrorie’s second-half header ensured the spoils were shared.
Both sides will now be paying close attention to the Edinburgh derby tomorrow, with anything other than a Hibernian win enough to guarantee the Dons a European spot.
Aberdeen made three changes from the 0-0 draw with Hibernian, with McLean returning from suspension. Andrew Considine and Ryan Christie also started, with Mark Reynolds, Niall McGinn and Stevie May sat out. McCrorie came in for Jason Cummings in the only Rangers switch.
Sam Cosgrove was handed his third start in a row ahead of May and Adam Rooney, with his only career goal prior to this game coming in a 1-0 win for Carlisle over Crewe in January.
As well as McLean bidding farewell to Pittodrie in his final home game for the Dons, Ryan Christie was also playing in his final game for McInnes’ side as he will be ineligible for Sunday’s game against Celtic.
It was Rangers, who have their own aspirations of finishing second, who threatened first, with Dorrans threading the ball through the Dons defence to Alfredo Morelos and his shot was blocked by the feet of Joe Lewis.
But it was the hosts who struck first and it was one with McLean’s fingerprints all over it. Christie’s corner from the left was low and caught numerous players out but McLean got their first, a yard quicker than Morelos who brought him to the ground. Referee Steven McLean pointed to the spot and his namesake Kenny made no mistake, sending Jak Alnwick the wrong way.
That gave the Dons and Pittodrie the lift they were looking for. They pressed high and unsettled the Gers at the back, with David Bates in particular struggling as Cosgrove backed in and dominated the aerial duels.
McLean was determined to leave on a high and at times went about it like a one-man wrecking crew, charging to close down blue shirts and thundering the crossbar from 30 yards.
There was a far greater urgency and aggression from the Dons than in their previous Old Firm encounters this season. Cosgrove and McLean underpinned that, with the two combining for the Norwich-bound midfielder to strike low at Alnwick five minutes before the break.
A tempestuous edge to the game was expected given what was at stake but it was the visitors who showed less capability of handling it. Andy Halliday and Jason Holt were booked for flying into tackles and Dorrans was also in the book in the first 45. Sean Goss was also fortunate not to see yellow for taking out Graeme Shinnie.
Rangers, under the guidance of Jimmy Nicholl and Jonatan Johansson, needed some sort of response in the second half and should have got it through Morelos. James Tavernier’s cross from the right evaded the head of Anthony O’Connor to find the Colombian unmarked, but he headed straight at Lewis.
The away side’s pressure told as Aberdeen were made to pay for sitting in during the opening 20 minutes of the second half. Morelos’ shot from 20 yards was blocked by Scott McKenna with Lewis on the floor. Three Rangers players got round McKenna to challenge for the high ball with McCrorie getting the final touch, as Lewis could only watch it roll in.
A lunge from McKenna kept out a firm effort from Morelos while at the other end the Dons mustered their first meaningful effort of the half on 72 minutes, as Gary Mackay-Steven drilled across goal and Alnwick clung on.
Goss and Greg Stewart both blazed opportunities over in the final 10 minutes but despite some late Gers pressure, there was no late winner.