No one enjoys playing against Dundee more than Adam Rooney.
The Dons forward gave the hosts a richly deserved 1-0 win this evening with his sixth goal in five matches against the Dens Park side.
There aren’t many teams managing to contain the prolific Irishman at Pittodrie this season with Rooney having scored in 10 of the Dons’ 12 home matches.
He broke the deadlock after 14 minutes of a breathless first half when he stabbed home a Jonny Hayes cross from close range.
The Dons should have been out of sight early into the second half but were guilty of passing up a series of chances.
They could have been made to pay for their profligacy but Dundee offered little in the final third.
The victory cuts Celtic’s lead at the top to three points ahead of their home match against St Johnstone tomorrow afternoon.
The Dons are now unbeaten in 10 league matches and have won all three encounters with Dundee this term.
Derek McInnes’ side had drawn with Partick and Caley Thistle in their most recent Pittodrie encounters but the Aberdeen support arrived for this one with an air of expectation.
The Dons had won their previous five Friday night matches on their own patch and had comfortably beaten Dundee on both occasions this season.
Andrew Considine stepped in for the suspended Mark Reynolds in the only change to the team that won 3-2 at Ross County last Sunday, despite being forced to play the majority of the match with 10 men.
Nicky Low, the former Aberdeen midfielder, returned to his old stomping ground as the Dark Blues kept the same line-up that defeated Partick 4-2 at Firhill.
Aberdeen made a blistering start and went close to breaking the deadlock three times in the opening eight minutes.
Rooney was denied by Scott Bain after pouncing on a wayward header by Kevin Holt before Ash Taylor went close twice in quick succession but the Dundee goalkeeper displayed excellent reflexes to keep out both of his powerful attempts.
There was a moment of anxiety at the other end soon after when Scott Brown was forced into making a smart stop to thwart Kane Hemmings in an action-packed start to proceedings.
But it was Aberdeen who struck the first decisive blow with 14 minutes on the clock when Jonny Hayes crossed for Rooney to slide home at the back post for his 16th goal of the season.
David Goodwillie and Taylor went close to doubling the Aberdeen advantage before Dundee reminded the hosts of their own attacking threat when Hemmings’ low drive was clawed away by Brown.
The Dons almost got the crucial second just before the break with a Goodwillie header deflecting wide with Bain pawing away Taylor’s volley from the resulting corner.
Shay Logan was booked four minutes after the restart for catching Dundee defender Holt with a boot to the face. It looked like an accidental collision but the Dundee player was unable to continue with Cammy Kerr brought on as his replacement.
Aberdeen almost added a second when play resumed with Rooney steering a Taylor knockdown goalwards only for former Caley Thistle player Nick Ross to be handily placed to clear on the goal-line.
The Dons passed up another gilt-edged opportunity before the hour mark when McGinn’s deep cross found the unmarked Rooney but the attacker displayed an uncharacteristic lack of composure as he blazed over from three yards out.
Aberdeen were in complete command by this stage but the home faithful were becoming slightly more nervy by their side’s failure to notch a second and kill off the game as a contest.
A lapse in concentration by Taylor that almost gave Low a sight of goal did little to ease the tension.
The Dons continued to huff and puff towards the finishing line with Goodwillie slicing horribly wide before being replaced by Cammy Smith.
There was a worrying moment two minutes from time when Gary Harkins, who had enjoyed a quiet game, let fly with a powerful drive from distance that Brown gathered at the second attempt.
The Dundee midfielder had another chance in injury time when he hooked over from a Greg Stewart corner, much to the relief of the home defence.
McInnes’ side don’t play again until a week on Wednesday when leaders Celtic come to town and they will have to be more clinical on that occasion if they are to record another home win against the Hoops.