There were three changes to the Aberdeen side from last Sunday's Scottish Cup quarter-final, Stephen Glass bringing Jack MacKenzie back into the side after the full-back was cup tied. Dylan McGeouch and Connor McLennan returned to the starting XI, and there was a welcome return to the squad for Ryan Hedges on the bench. Joe Lewis was still not fully fit and joined Ash Taylor, Michael Devlin, Greg Leigh, Miko Virtanen and Ross McCrorie on the injured list.
Livingston also made three changes from the side defeated 2-1 at Hibernian ten days ago. In came Jack Fitzwater, Matej Poplatnik and skipper Marvin Bartley with Alan Lithgow, Efe Ambrose and Josh Mullin all dropped to the bench.
As has tended to be the way in this fixture in recent times, the game opened in scrappy fashion, neither side really getting hold of the ball. Poplatnik had the first sighter on seven minutes, a long ball out from the back from Fitzwater crossed in first time by Longridge, Andrew Considine doing really well to get an important block in.
Lewis Ferguson had the Dons' first look at goal, a rasping 30 yarder tipped over the bar by Stryjek on 12 minutes. From the corner, Niall McGinn had two bites at delivering the ball, the second picking out Callum Hendry, Stryjek clawing away his downward header from eight yards out. Gary Woods was in action a couple of minutes later, punching the ball off Poplatnik's head as he looked poised to nod in.
Livi pressed again on 20 minutes, Devlin and Emmauel-Thomas both having attempts at goal in the same attack, Woods and Considine keeping the ball out in turn.
A good turn on halfway from Flo Kamberi allowed him to set McGinn on his way down the right on 31 minutes. His cross to the back post reached Ferguson but his downward header was straight at the goalkeeper. Two minutes later, McGinn bent a shot over the bar, the referee then going back and booking Sibbald and McLennan for an off the ball incident as the move got underway, both taking a chunk out of one another. Sibbald was nearly on the scoresheet too in the 35th minute, having two bites at a loose ball, Woods making a fine save from the second effort.
Pittman was next in the book for failing to go back ten yards at a free-kick as the game started to become fractious. Sibbald could have received a second yellow for hauling McGinn down on 38 minutes as he ran towards goal, but the referee let him away with a warning.
The hosts should have been ahead on 39 minutes, Poplatnik racing onto the end of a short McLennan back pass. Woods chased off his line to narrow the angle and Poplatnik obligingly poked his shot across goal and wide, a bad miss.
HALF-TIME: LIVINGSTON 0 ABERDEEN 0
It was a good start to the second period for Aberdeen who were in front on 52 minutes, McLennan playing a starring role. Pushing forward, he found Kamberi who then played the ball out to McGinn on the right. His cross found McLennan, who had carried his run on into the box. He produced a powerful header that Stryjek pushed onto the bar but Hendry was there, poaching in the six yard box to poke the ball over the line.
Bartley became the third Livi man in the book for a poor challenge on McGeouch on 55 minutes. There was another bad tackle from the Livi skipper within a minute, but like Sibbald, he too escaped a second yellow.
Considine might have done better with a chance on 59 minutes, Johnny Hayes picking him out at the back post from a free-kick but the captain didn't get the connection he needed.
The first change of the afternoon saw Fraser Hornby replace Hendry on 64 minutes after the goal scorer appeared to have picked up an injury, Livi responding by swapping Sibbald for Kabia. Hedges then made his return to the Aberdeen side in the 70th minute in place of McGinn, the game settling into something of a stalemate.
Within four minutes of his return, Hedges made it 2-0. McGeouch broke play up in his own half and played it onto Hayes who sent Kamberi on his way down the left. He advance into the box and stabbed a ball across the face of goal, Hedges running onto it to produce a crisp first time finish with his left foot, sweeping the ball across Stryjek and in. Mullin was introduced in place of Poplatnik as he game restarted.
Considine went into the book for a foul on Mullin with 14 minutes to go. From the free-kick in, there was a nasty collision between Tommie Hoban and Guthrie, Guthrie first clashing with Woods and then bouncing into Hoban. Both needed lengthy treatment before continuing.
In the aftermath, Livi's corner was half cleared, but Hedges lost possession out on the right, Kabia spearing a flat cross through the box to the back post, Emmanuel-Thomas lashing a first time volley back across goal and in for 2-1.
The Dons almost restored the two goal lead virtually from the kick-off, Kamberi through on goal only to be denied by Stryjek. Hornby was inches away from being through moments later too, but in the 86th minute, he fell awkwardly and had to make way with injury, Matty Kennedy coming on in the 88th minute. Hayes then became the sixth booking of the afternoon. From the resulting free-kick, Livi launched the ball into the box and screamed for a penalty, but thankfully, the referee was having none of it.
Woods was called into action for a crucial save in combination with Ferguson in the 92nd minute, Emmanuel-Thomas wriggling to the by-line before squaring it. Woods got a hand to the cross, then Ferguson got a second block on it as Kabia tried to swoop down on the loose ball. Woods was then eventually able to finally smother it. MacKenzie collected a yellow card as he tried to break up the play in the dying seconds, but it was worth it as the Dons secured victory.