There were three changes for Jim Goodwin going into his first home game as Aberdeen boss. Scott Brown, Calvin Ramsay, Ross McCrorie and Jonny Hayes were all unavailable, Funso Ojo, Matty Kennedy and Connor McLennan, making his 50th start for the Dons, all coming into the side. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Jack MacKenzie were also ruled out, leaving Aberdeen with a five man bench.
Dundee United drew 1-1 with Rangers last Sunday and there was just one change to their team, Kevin McDonald replacing Calum Butcher, who dropped to the bench.
A packed house at Pittodrie enjoyed a special display in the RDS before Sir Alex Ferguson graced the stadium one more time to collect a special maquette of his new statue from Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack prior to the game.
It was the visitors who made the best start though. David Bates was adjudged to have pushed Harkes as he ran away from goal, the referee pointing to the spot as the forward tumbled to the ground, as well as booking Bates in the fourth minute. McNulty sent Joe Lewis the wrong way and United had the lead.
There was a misunderstanding between Bates and Adam Montgomery in the ninth minute, allowing the ball to drop in the box, Lewis swiftly off his line to clear up, Watt fouling in his eagerness to get the ball.
The Dons were gradually finding their feet and they were back on terms on 16 minutes. Ojo fed the ball out to Vicente Besuijen who drove in a fierce cross-shot. Siegrist was able to parry it across goal to the back post where Kennedy manufactured a clever backheel at goal, the ball having come behind him, Edwards only able to put the ball int o his own net as he tried to clear on the line.
It should have been better yet a minute later, Ojo squaring into Christian Ramirez eight yards out, but he got under the ball and spooned it into the Red Shed, a great opportunity missed. Aberdeen were getting plenty of joy down their right flank by now.
Lewis was in sharp action on 28 minutes, the ball dropping nicely for Graham 25 yards out, the Aberdeen skipper flinging himself to his right to paw away the swerving shot as the two sides remained intent on serving up an end to end encounter for the guest of honour.
Besuijen was presented with a chance every bit as good as Ramirez's in the 36th minute. Kennedy went on a blazing run down the left before spearing a low cross through the penalty area. Besuijen was running onto it at the back post but leaning back, he blazed his effort over the bar when anything on target would surely have beaten the goalkeeper.
Levitt picked up an injury when stretching for the ball and was replaced in the 41st minute by Butcher.
McLennan had to have his wits about him to deny United on 44 minutes, diving in front of an attacker to clear Watt's dangerous cross after Montgomery had been dispossessed.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 1 DUNDEE UNITED 1
Aberdeen were first to really threaten in the second half, a deflected Lewis Ferguson effort scooped clear by Siegrist five minutes into the half. A teasing McLennan cross on 56 came all the way through the six-yard box but somehow eluded everyone in red.
The second half was largely becalmed in the early period and the staccato nature of the game continued when McLennan limped off on 67 minutes to be replaced by Dylan McGeouch, Ojo going to right-back. With the game going into its last 20 minutes Ferguson and Butcher exchanged wild shots from distance at either end.
Better from Aberdeen on 74 when Ramirez and Besuijen combined to slot Ferguson in on the right of the box, Siegrist down to block the ball away. With 14 to go, Watt made way for Clark, Kennedy replaced by Teddy Jenks at the same time. Ferguson forced a better save from Siegrist almost immediately, low to his right to parry away.
Mulgrew was in the book on 79 minutes after a late lunge on Ferguson following a heavy touch in the middle of the park. Three minutes later, a Ramirez flick sent Besuijen away down the left, his low effort across the face of goal beating Siegrist's drive but rolling agonisingly wide of the far post.
Siegrist had to deny Ferguson again as the Dons midfielder picked up a loose clearance and advanced into the box. He didn't get quite enough power behind it and the United keeper saved with his legs. Barron was yellow carded in the 87th minute, McDonald then replaced by Freeman. Smith followed him into the book moments later.
The Dons were keeping United penned in over this last quarter, but the visitors got plenty of men behind the ball to deny any kind of space. Jenks wasn't far away, trying to drag the ball back into the goal at the far post after getting on the end of a Besuijen cross.
Montgomery was the next to hit the turf as the game went into added time, Michael Ruth coming on as the loanee limped away, the game ebbing away with him.