Aberdeen handed a debut to a new signing and fielded a multi-million-pound-rated teen – but their away woes still continued.
Winger Vicente Besuijen, 20, made a solid Dons debut following a transfer from Dutch second-tier ADO Den Haag.
Teenage right-back Calvin Ramsay was also in the team after being the centre of a January transfer speculation storm.
With the level of teams linked to the teen, many supporters will have expected him to exit before the window shut on Monday night.
Ramsay remained as the Dons rejected a £4.8m bid and now the Red Army can enjoy the teen for at least another six months.
Free of the shackles of transfer talk, Ramsay showed signs he will have a strong second half of the season.
But Aberdeen have now won only twice in 12 Premiership games away from home this season, a damaging return.
This performance was, however, much improved on the dire 1-0 loss at St Mirren – with more threat and creativity.
It was still more dropped points on the road against a side that held Rangers 3-3 in Dingwall at the weekend.
Besuijen’s potential clear
Besuijen showed on his debut he is quick, robust and can pick out a pass.
On a number of occasions, he displayed a real burst of pace to break beyond full-back Jake Vokins.
There were also some dangerous passes down the channels.
Although busy, full of energy and fight, Besuijen couldn’t deliver that creative spark needed to turn the game.
That is what he was brought to Pittodrie to do, particularly after losing Ryan Hedges.
Following the exit of Hedges to Blackburn Rovers in the January window, there is a lot of expectation on Besuijen to bring a creative spark.
There will be pressure to bed in rapidly into the Scottish game, especially with Aberdeen going into this match sixth in the Premiership table.
Besuijen arrived on a four-and-a-half-year deal with pedigree, having played 30 games in the Dutch top flight last season.
He also had 25 games in the Netherlands’ second tier under his belt this season – with six goals and 10 assists.
It is early days, but there is clearly much potential with Besuijen.
Ramsay closer to levels expected in Dingwall
There was also attention on Ramsay, who was playing for the first time since a £4.8m bid from Bologna was rejected.
The 18-year-old was uncharacteristically poor in the loss to St Mirren recently – but so was every Aberdeen player.
Now that a window when he was constantly in the spotlight has closed, Ramsay can concentrate fully on his football.
Right-back Ramsay produced a far-improved performance. His delivery was dangerous and defensively he was robust and solid.
The teenager had a real battle with the Staggies left-winger Regan Charles-Cook, the Premiership’s top scorer.
It was honours even in an enthralling battle. But Ramsay looks like he could continue to shine in the second half of the season.
Aberdeen secured just three signings in the January transfer window – Besuijen, Dante Polvara and Adam Montgomery.
Polvara is currently sidelined and Montgomery, secured on loan from Celtic on transfer deadline day, was named on the bench.
County peg Aberdeen back quickly
Aberdeen created the opening opportunity in the fourth minute when Lewis Ferguson’s powerful 12-yard header was saved by keeper Ross Laidlaw.
In the 15th minute, Dylan McGeouch latched onto a poor clearance at the edge of the box, but his 20-yard shot was straight at the keeper.
There was a minute’s applause in the 17th minute in support of County winger Charles-Cook, who suffered online racist abuse after the 3-3 draw with Rangers at the weekend.
Afterwards, collecting the ball near the half-way line, Funso Ojo drove forward before unleashing a 22-yard drive that Laidlaw got down quickly to block.
Aberdeen were looking the more dangerous and moments later Ferguson fizzed a vicious 25-yard shot just wide.
Ross County created their first clear chance in the 35th minute when Charles-Cook raced into space before shooting from a tight angle and forcing a save from Lewis at his near post.
The loose ball fell to Samuel, but his shot was cleared off the line by Scott Brown.
Two veterans combined for the opener in the 48th minute when Brown, 36, slid a superb through-ball down the channel.
Left-back Hayes, 34, rolled back the years with scintillating pace, racing on to the ball and breaking into the box before drilling beyond Laidlaw from 10 yards.
The lead didn’t last long as Ross County levelled in the 53rd minute when Ross Callachan hit a 22-yard volley low beyond Lewis.
In the 75th minute, Hayes fired a vicious 30-yard drive that flew just over the bar as Aberdeen pressed for a winner.
Ross County threatened in the 85th minute when Harry Paton’s left-footed shot was saved by Lewis at his bottom left corner.
ABERDEEN (4-2-3-1): Lewis 6, Hayes 7, Bates 6, McCrorie 6, Ramsay 7, McGeouch 6 (Jenks 69), Brown 7, Ojo 6 (MacKenzie 82), Ferguson 7, Besuijen 6, Ramirez 6.
Subs: Woods, Gallagher, Montgomery, Emmanuel-Thomas, Campbell, Ruth, Kennedy.
ROSS COUNTY (4-4-2): Laidlaw 7; Vokins 6, Iacovitti 6, Watson 6, Ramsay 4 (Randall 46), Hungbo 6 (Paton 66), Callachan 6, Tilson 6, Charles-Cook 7, White t, D. Samuel 6
Subs: Munro, A. Samuel, Drysdale, Wright, Mackinnon.
Referee: Alan Muir
Man-of-the-match: Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen)