Guts, determination and a little bit of quality when it was needed most got the Dons back to winning ways on such an important afternoon against Hibs at Pittodrie.
Stephen Glass made three changes to the side beaten at Dens Park last week. Joe Lewis returned from illness to take his place in goal, fit again Ross McCrorie was back in the side and Marley Watkins stepped up from the bench to start. Gary Woods and Jonny Hayes were among the subs with Jack MacKenzie missing out through injury.
After Hibs lost 3-0 at home to Dundee United, Jack Ross made four changes to his side with Darren McGregor, Paul McGinn, Lewis Stevenson and James Gullan coming into the starting XI, Nathan Wood, Josh Doig, Scott Allan and Jamie Murphy all on the bench.
After a minute's applause in memory of George Kinnell, it was the visitors who were quickest into their stride, pushing the Dons into defence in their new 3-5-2 shape. It was Aberdeen who first threatened a goal though, Macey at full stretch to palm away a fierce 30 yarder from Ryan Hedges.
Hedges was in the mood, collecting a short pass from Declan Gallagher and turning away into space, but his attempt to find Christian Ramirez was cut out. On 20 minutes, Calvin Ramsay's cross looked straightforward for Macey but McGregor came barrelling into him, the ball squirting loose. Macey was just able to recover the ball as three Aberdeen shirts descended on it. There was certainly some nervousness about the Hibs defence for Aberdeen to exploit.
A beautifully crafted goal gave the Dons the lead they deserved on 27 minutes. Scott Brown won the ball in the middle of the park and delivered a raking pass to get Ramsay on the run down the right. His cross was as precise as you'd expect and Ramirez came running onto the ball to guide a crisp volley just inside the near post, a sharp finish from the American.
A couple of minutes later it was Ramirez again, twisting to manufacture a back header from Ojo's cross that drifted wide. There was bad news for the Dons to follow though, Ramsay down and needing to be replaced on the half hour, possibly straining a muscle in setting up the goal. He was replaced by Hayes, Ojo heading over to the right wing-back role.
McGregor collected the game's first card after totalling Watkins on halfway after 33 minutes as Aberdeen remained on top. Hibs were still a danger though, Boyle beating the offside trap, McCrorie coming across to get a crucial deflection on his shot that took the ball inches wide.
Five minutes from the break, Gallagher came across to make a routine clearance but he picked up an injury in doing it, stretching and clutching his left thigh as he fell. He needed to be replaced, Matty Longstaff coming on in his stead, Brown dropping into the back three.
Watkins wasn't far from a goal two minutes from the break, exchanging passes with Ramirez across the top of the area before flashing a shot across the face of goal and just wide with Macey rooted. Moments later, he clashed with McGregor and he also needed treatment before, thankfully, he was able to carry on. There was still time for Longstaff to collect a booking for a high boot on McGinn.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 1 HIBERNIAN 0
Hibs made a half-time change, Murphy replacing Cadden as they looked to get back into the fixture. Not unlike the first half, they penned Aberdeen in early on but the Dons were resolute. Indeed, they almost scored on the break, Watkins on the run before being fouled, the ball squirting to Hedges, his cross just in front of the despairing Ramirez on 56 minutes.
McCrorie picked up a yellow card on the hour for an innocuous looking foul, whereupon Allan was the next sub to be introduced by the visitors, replacing Gullan. Brown was then carded for a late challenge on Nisbet.
Murphy opened the Dons up down the Hibs left on 67 minutes before arrowing a cross through the six yard box, McCrorie doing enough to ensure that Nisbet couldn't get the finishing touch, the closest Hibs had come to a goal.
Lewis made a brave save down low when a Hibs cross caused chaos on 68 minutes, but it came at the expense of taking a whack in the face from McCrorie as he came back to cover. Prolonged treatment followed before Lewis got back to his feet and was able to continue.
After an exhausting shift, Watkins made way for McGinn with 13 minutes to go. Boyle was booked a couple of minutes later for bringing Hayes down, symptomatic of a scrappy second half. Wright was the introduced by Hibs with seven minutes left, Doyle-Hayes replaced as the visitors tried to find a way through a determined Aberdeen rearguard.
McCrorie was next to require treatment after heading the back of McGinn's head, as the injury time continued to mount. Again, he eventually shrugged it off and carried on.
Aberdeen almost sealed it on 89, Hedges' free-kick helped on by Brown, Macey just able to get to the ball a fraction before David Bates. Another dangerous cross flashed through the Aberdeen box, Lewis clattered again as he came out to cover, the game then embarking on seven minutes added time.
Newell hauled Hayes down and then indulged in a bit of afters, both getting booked in the traditional manner, despite Hayes doing nothing wrong. In the final minute, McGregor appeared to lash out at Bates as he was awaiting a cross coming into the box and collected a second yellow followed by a red card. It was evidence of Hibs' frustration as the Dons were able to keep them at arm's length during seven minutes of added time and seal the win that was so desperately needed.