Originally scheduled for Cormack Park, the game was moved to Tayside at late notice after heavy snowfall had rendered the Westhill pitch unplayable.
Barry Robson was able to call on the services of Finn Yeats for this meeting with United and he was the only change to Dons starting eleven as Taylor Mason dropped to the bench.
Aberdeen were first to threaten a deflected effort from Findlay Marshall being tipped over at full stretch by Adams. United responded well and it took a good save from Blessing Oluyemi to deny Kerrigan. MacLeod was having a positive influence for the home team and his dangerous cross from the left was just begging for a touch to knock it into the net, but no Tangerine shirts were close enough to apply the finish.
MacLeod wasn't to be denied and he opened the scoring on 29 minutes when good play from Comerford saw the ball laid into the highly rated youngster's path and he fired a wonderful shot high into the top corner. A fine strike.
Aberdeen were almost back on level terms five minutes later, Cammy Wilson's great shot cannoning off the keeper's left hand post with Adams nowhere near it.
Liam Harvey and Adam Emslie both came close as the Dons turned the screw, but the half time whistle sounded with United holding a slender lead.
Half time - Dundee United 1 Aberdeen 0
Four minutes into the second period MacLeod doubled his and United's tally as he latched on to Bilsland's cross to fire into the bottom corner, again leaving Oluyemi helpless.
Far from being downhearted, the Dons roared forward and cut the deficit as Liam Harvey notched his tenth league goal of the season. Skipper Dylan Lobban was the creator of the goal making a superb burst forward from just inside his own half before playing the ball into Harvey's path, the striker taking one touch before firing the ball across Adams and into the far corner. An excellent finish, but huge credit to Lobban for his role in the goal.
The Dons dominated play for long periods thereafter, but lady luck just was not on their side as United somehow managed to keep their goal intact. Harvey came close when he nicked the ball past Adams but couldn't get enough power on the shot allowing Comerford to clear off the line.
Then the same defender denied Alfie Stewart, the youngster's stabbed shot seemingly destined for the net before the intervention of the big United centre back. Adam Emslie saw a goal-bound shout headed clear by Donald then Harvey lobbed wide. Surely there was another goal in this game.
It turned out there was, but, sadly for the Dons, it came at the other end. Oluyemi was adjudged to have handled outside the are on 85 minutes and was booked for his pains. To compound the misery, MacLeod stepped up and slammed the free-kick into the net to complete the scoring in an entertaining match.
Defeat for the Dons, but once again plenty of positive aspects in the game to build on. Next up is a trip to Oriam to face Hearts on Friday, kick off at 4.30pm.
Full time - Dundee United 3 Aberdeen 1
Scott Anderson: "We don't feel the scoreline told the story of the game.
"I feel for the boys a bit at the moment. We had some good opportunities in the first half, Dundee United have really had one clear chance, a shot from 25 yards which goes in. Our luck at the moment was summed up when we had a very similar shot from Cammy Wilson and the ball hits the bar and post.
"We had a change of shape in the second half which allowed us to go and cause them a few problems. And we did just that. Their goalkeeper has made a couple of good saves and there were a couple of chances we could have done better with. We are getting punished for little errors at the back and we are getting harshly punished at the moment for not taking our opportunities. We are creating plenty.
"It is a learning curve.
"We are not getting the rub of the green, at a time when we are playing a younger side against older teams. All we said to them at the end of the game was, we just need to keep going, we need to stick together and keep working hard. It is difficult when you are playing well but not coming away with a positive result.
"Although they maybe don't see it at the moment, in terms of their development, this will stand them in very good stead for next season.
"It is very difficult now because of the physicality and the speed of the game, something they are not quite used to.
"We had a similar group a couple of seasons back, who were also very young, and the education they got from doing this, playing in the 18s before they should be playing at that level, was massive for them and it will be the same for this squad. We know we have got good players within this group and we will really see that in the next couple of years."