Match ends, Aberdeen 1, Ross County 0.
Aberdeen 1-0 Ross County
Aberdeen moved nine points clear in the race for second place in the Premiership thanks to the poacher's instincts of top scorer Adam Rooney.
The striker netted his 17th goal of the season, touching in after an error from Ross County defender Andrew Davies.
Rooney twice drew saves from Scott Fox with overhead kicks and fluffed a good first-half chance in front of goal.
County created some good openings but Aberdeen were not threatened after going ahead on 69 minutes.
The visitors spent the majority of the first half defending for their lives as Aberdeen played with their usual tempo going forward, if not their usual penetration.
A large slice of the credit for that goes to the Staggies manager Jim McIntyre who set up with three central defenders supported by Jason Naismith on the right and Michael Gardyne on the other flank.
It left the home side struggling to create much in the way of clear cut opportunities with a long range Kenny McLean shot and a spectacular Rooney overhead effort all that troubled Fox before the break.
The Highlanders only threatened on the occasional counter-attack but they still made and missed the two best chances in the opening period and given the position they are in their small band of travelling supporters must have feared the worst.
Captain Davies should have done better than steer a free header wide of the target from 12 yards after being picked out by a Martin Woods corner then Alex Schalk's free kick caused Joe Lewis problems.
The Dons goalkeeper could only parry the Dutchman's dipping effort from just outside the box but Craig Curran sent the loose ball soaring over the crossbar while Davies passed up another good headed chance in the second half.
If the County captain felt bad about those, it was nothing compared to how he was feeling when Rooney finally made the breakthrough.
The defender should have dealt comfortably with McLean's diagonal ball into the penalty area but a real hash of an attempted clearance only knocked the ball into Rooney's path and the striker helped the ball home from close range.
Fox then made scrambling saves from Rooney and McGinn to prevent things getting worse.
The Staggies have gone 11 games without a clean sheet which shows where the problem lies but they lacked a bit of luck as well as experienced stopper Paul Quinn had to be replaced at the interval.
Results elsewhere mean County cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves if they are going to haul themselves away from relegation trouble since they have managed one win and just four points from the last eight matches and they face a trip to Tynecastle on Wednesday.
Aberdeen are at Hamilton 24 hours prior to that and they have shown in this run of 10 wins in 11 games that they can get positive results even when not at the top of their game and second place is now there's to lose.
What the managers said
Aberdeen's Derek McInnes: "For me, there's no doubt we deserved to win but it was difficult to get any flowing rhythm and the pitch didn't help as my players deserve a better surface than they got today.
"I was delighted for Adam Rooney to get his goal as he is always on the move looking for those sort of chances from any sort of mistakes and he does that time and time again.
"We have had a couple of good weekends with the teams around us not winning but we won't take anything for granted when it comes to second place.
"It was great to get another win and another clean sheet to keep the run going but there is a lot of football to be played yet."
Ross County's Jim McIntyre: "It was a difficult one for us to take. That's the way it has been falling for us lately by losing late goals in games. The players were magnificent but that one mistake has cost us.
"We limited them to very little while creating good chances ourselves that we just didn't take but our organisation was good and I can't fault the effort and determination.
"If we keep showing those qualities then we will be fine as we have just been punished for a wee mistake here and there but we will lick our wounds and get ready for Hearts on Wednesday."
- 6ReynoldsBooked at 27minsSubstituted forStoreyat 58'minutes
- 10McGinnSubstituted forO'Connorat 79'minutes
- 11HayesSubstituted forPawlettat 86'minutes
- 43QuinnSubstituted forvan der Wegat 45'minutes
- 12ChowSubstituted forO'Brienat 75'minutes
- 7GardyneBooked at 23mins
- 11CurranSubstituted forLalkovicat 76'minutes
- 28van der Weg
- William Collum
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Aberdeen 1, Ross County 0.
Attempt saved. Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Attempt missed. Miles Storey (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.
Foul by Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen).
Andrew Davies (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Peter Pawlett replaces Jonny Hayes.
Attempt missed. Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Foul by Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen).
Alex Schalk (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kenny McLean (Aberdeen).
Jim O'Brien (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Anthony O'Connor replaces Niall McGinn.
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Scott Fox.
Attempt saved. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Attempt missed. Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.
Substitution, Ross County. Milan Lalkovic replaces Craig Curran.
Substitution, Ross County. Jim O'Brien replaces Tim Chow because of an injury.
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Michael Gardyne.
Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tim Chow (Ross County).
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Scott Fox.
Attempt saved. Adam Rooney (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Goal! Aberdeen 1, Ross County 0. Adam Rooney (Aberdeen) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kenny McLean with a cross.
Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Martin Woods (Ross County).
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Kenny van der Weg.
Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Hand ball by Tim Chow (Ross County).
Ash Taylor (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Craig Curran (Ross County).
Foul by Miles Storey (Aberdeen).
Marcus Fraser (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Miles Storey replaces Mark Reynolds.
Attempt blocked. Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Liam Boyce (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Attempt saved. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Ash Taylor.
Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).
Liam Boyce (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.