Match ends, Aberdeen 2(5), Livingston 2(3).
Stephen Glass' Aberdeen tenure got off to a positive start as his side set up a Scottish Cup quarter-final with Dundee United after a tense 5-3 penalty shootout win against Livingston.
Ross McCrorie stroked in Aberdeen's fifth successful spot-kick, as Jason Holt's effort off the crossbar cost Livingston a place in the last eight.
It capped a dramatic end to the tie after Florian Kamberi had forced the shootout following Jay Emmanuel-Thomas' penalty for Livingston in the first two minutes of extra-time.
That was the striker's second goal of the night, having given the visitors a first-half lead with a fine individual effort, only for Niall McGinn to rescue Aberdeen 15 minutes from the end of normal time.
The response from the home side after a poor first 70 minutes - plus a perfect shootout performance - earned Glass a crucial triumph in his first game in charge.
After nearly a three-week wait from being appointed to taking charge, there was a lot of anticipation about the former Aberdeen player's managerial bow. But with only three days on the training ground it was always going to be a tall order to address the issues that have plagued Aberdeen's season.
Chief among those is a stunted attack, with just five goals scored in 2021, but that record is a symptom rather than the cause of their struggles as they again failed to build coherent attacks for the first hour at Pittodrie.
But after McGinn's superb finish into the top corner following a sweeping counter-attack, they gained confidence and looked the more assured side for the remainder of the match.
Kamberi's crucial leveller just three minutes after going behind in extra-time was the peak of their play as they benefitted from the game opening up with Callum Hendry and McGinn combining excellently to tee up the Swiss striker to finish from close range.
Livingston looked exhausted by extra-time but were excellent during the 90 minutes, preying on Aberdeen's uncertainty in possession to press high up the pitch and snuff out any passes into midfield.
It was that intent that opened up Aberdeen for the first goal, as Jonny Hayes was pressured out wide by Emmanuel-Thomas, which forced a mistake as the Irishman tried to let the ball run out.
Instead, the Livingston forward stole possession and drove at the defence, playing a one-two with Scott Pittman before taking a sharp touch and firing into the corner.
That meant goalkeeper Gary Woods' first act on his Aberdeen debut was to pick the ball out of the net, having replaced the injured Joe Lewis moments before the opener.
Livingston manager David Martindale will be left pondering what might have been, as Nicky Devlin's poor choice of cross after a surging run not only cost his team a potential goal, but allowed Aberdeen to counter and force extra-time as McGinn swept home.
They were given fresh hope when Emmanuel-Thomas, having been clipped by Dean Campbell, calmly converted his penalty two minutes into extra-time. And though the former Arsenal youth did likewise in the shootout, Holt's strike against the bar was costly as Aberdeen were clinical from the spot.
Man of the match - Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
What did we learn?
With Glass having very little time to work with the players before this match, it was not a surprise that for large parts of the tie Aberdeen looked no different to recent games as the same problems persisted.
They struggle to build from the back and progress the ball through the middle of the pitch, often playing sideways and backwards before being forced wide where they are crowded out or have to try a long ball.
With Glass specifically brought in to produce an attacking style, he will need plenty of time on the training ground, as well as some new recruits, to improve that part of their game. However, there were positives with Kamberi and Hendry both adding zip going forward from the bench as Aberdeen looked more comfortable as the game opened up.
Livingston, meanwhile, have failed to recover from their League Cup final defeat in February, with just two wins in 10 games before this tie.
They looked more like their old selves at Pittodrie, though, cleverly allowing Aberdeen to play out to the centre-backs, before pressing ferociously whenever a midfielder or full-back picked up possession.
However, their high-intensity approach left them drained by extra-time. This loss will sting, especially given Devlin's error in failing to find one of his onrushing team-mates who would have had had a great chance to put them 2-0 up.
What did they say?
Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass: "The spirit in the group was brilliant. We asked them at half-time to not panic. The second-half performance was unbelievable and deserved a win.
"We were strong minded to keep trusting what we were doing and got our rewards. The players can take great belief from this and there's a lot of positivity in the dressing room now."
Livingston manager David Martindale: "I'm really happy with my players. We needed to defend better at their second goal, but I can't knock the boys because they gave me everything.
"We're unlucky not to be in the next round. Penalties are a lottery, so fair play to Aberdeen."
Both sides are in league action on Wednesday night, with Aberdeen at home to Celtic (19:45 BST) and Livingston away to Hibernian (18:00).
- 1LewisSubstituted forWoodsat 36'minutes
- 3HobanBooked at 66mins
- 17HayesBooked at 119mins
- 18McLennanSubstituted forHendryat 72'minutes
- 19FergusonBooked at 93mins
- 7HornbySubstituted forKamberiat 59'minutes
- 10McGinnSubstituted forRossat 105+2'minutes
- 32StryjekBooked at 117mins
- 5FitzwaterBooked at 74minsSubstituted forTaylor-Sinclairat 108'minutes
- 27GuthrieBooked at 68mins
- 23LongridgeSubstituted forMcMillanat 105'minutes
- 18HoltBooked at 72mins
- 10SibbaldSubstituted forLithgowat 90'minutes
- 11ForrestSubstituted forPoplatnikat 84'minutes
- Colin Steven
- Shots on Target
Penalty Shootout ends, Aberdeen 2(5), Livingston 2(3).
Goal! Aberdeen 2(5), Livingston 2(3). Ross McCrorie (Aberdeen) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Goal! Aberdeen 2(4), Livingston 2(3). Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (Livingston) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Goal! Aberdeen 2(4), Livingston 2(2). Dean Campbell (Aberdeen) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Goal! Aberdeen 2(3), Livingston 2(2). Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Livingston) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Goal! Aberdeen 2(3), Livingston 2(1). Callum Hendry (Aberdeen) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Penalty missed! Still Aberdeen 2(2), Livingston 2(1). Jason Holt (Livingston) hits the bar with a right footed shot.
Goal! Aberdeen 2(2), Livingston 2(1). Florian Kamberi (Aberdeen) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Goal! Aberdeen 2(1), Livingston 2(1). Alan Lithgow (Livingston) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top left corner.
Goal! Aberdeen 2(1), Livingston 2. Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the centre of the goal.
Penalty Shootout begins Aberdeen 2, Livingston 2.
Second Half Extra Time ends, Aberdeen 2, Livingston 2.
Hand ball by Matthew Kennedy (Aberdeen).
Gary Woods (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Marvin Bartley (Livingston).
Foul by Ross McCrorie (Aberdeen).
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Livingston) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen).