Interim Aberdeen manager Paul Sheerin was delighted to sign off his spell in charge with a victory.
A second-half strike from midfielder Jonny Hayes secured a third 1-0 win over Sheerin’s former club St Johnstone.
New manager Stephen Glass will be at the helm for next weekend’s Scottish Cup tie with Livingston after his spell in quarantine following his arrival from Atlanta United 2 in the USA.
“Normally when you come into a club it’s struggling in terms of league position but we are in a strong position to get into Europe like we have been in previous years,” said Sheerin, with the Dons four points off Hibernian in third place.
“We have a great group of players who work hard. It can only be a good thing coming in at this stage and I’m sure the new manager will soon see that.”
Sheerin, who will remain in a coaching capacity at Pittodrie, admitted his side picked up the pace after the interval.
He said: “It’s pleasing because this is always a tough place and there are not many classics between the two teams.
“We started poorly, we overplayed and invited too much pressure.
“When you score it takes the shackles off a little bit but then late on St Johnstone threw a lot at you, so we had to be strong defensively.”
St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson admitted his side paid the price for failing to make the most of their first-half superiority, although defender Shaun Rooney hit the post late in the game and Dons keeper Joe Lewis defied midfielder Ali McCann at close quarters in the final minute.
Davidson admitted: “I’m frustrated we didn’t make more of the first 20 minutes.
“When you play a team of Aberdeen’s quality you have to take your chances when they come along.
“We put them under pressure early in the game and when you do that you’ve got to score.
“The final ball was the one criticism I had of the players today, we got ourselves into good positions but it just wasn’t good enough.
“But I have to credit the players’ attitude. We have achieved top six and won a cup this season so it would have been easy to take the foot off the gas. But they haven’t done that and the attitude was excellent.”