Dundee had dreamed of reaching the top six with a win at Pittodrie but instead they were well beaten by a Niall McGinn-inspired Aberdeen side.
After a bright start from the Dark Blues, Dons captain Ryan Jack opened the scoring on 29 minutes with a header from close-range off McGinn’s cross.
A brilliant second goal, volleyed home by McGinn just before the half-time whistle, put Aberdeen in control.
The McGinn master-class continued as he nodded home a third on 80 minutes to cap an excellent individual performance.
That meant the Dens men stayed in eighth spot at least for now, with the teams around them in the table still to play their matches.
It also meant there wasn’t a confidence-boosting result to help ease the agony of the William Hill Scottish Cup exit at the hands of St Mirren last Saturday.
Dundee, who were without captain Darren O’Dea through suspension, made a couple of changes to the side that lost to the Buddies.
Kevin Holt missed out through injury, while Faissal El Bakhtaoui dropped down to the bench. Back into the side came central defender Kevin Gomis and midfielder Nick Ross. James Vincent had to call off because his wife had given birth.
The Dons decided not to give an immediate start to Ryan Christie, with the Celtic loan signing named as a substitute.
Both teams had a huge incentive to win the game: the hosts could go second top and the visitors could get into the top six.
The Dark Blues, of course, had fond memories of their last Friday night football experience, storming back to beat Hearts 3-2 thanks to a stoppage-time winner at Dens just before Christmas.
Nick Ross got the action started for Dundee and it was they who had the first real chance of the game on five minutes.
A Cammy Kerr cross from the left was prodded goalwards by Marcus Haber but goalkeeper Joe Lewis got down to make the save.
The away team then won a freekick just outside the Aberdeen box but Tom Hateley’s setpiece went past the far post without anyone touching it.
It was a good start from Paul Hartley’s men and they almost stunned the home crowd on nine minutes when a Paul McGowan strike from 25 yards struck the bar with Lewis beaten.
The Dons hit back, though, and on 15 minutes it needed a good block from Mark O’Hara to keep out a shot from Mark Reynolds off a McGinn corner.
The hosts came even closer just seconds later when a drive from Johnny Hayes hit the far post and no man in red could reach the rebound.
It was all action now and it was the turn of keeper Scott Bain to keep the Dons out, saving from McGinn on 18 minutes.
Three minutes later the Dark Blues had the ball in the net after a fine move – all in vain. A terrific cross to the edge of the area from Cammy Kerr was nodded on by Haber and Wighton slotted the ball home only to see the flag already up for offside against his Canadian colleague.
It was end-to-end stuff and Bain had to fly through the air to push a McGinn freekick over his own bar.
The Dark Blues had done well thus far but, sadly, they fell behind on 29 minutes.
Out on the Dons’ left, McGinn bamboozled Ross before crossing into the heart of the goalmouth and Jack was there to power his header past Bain from close range.
Julen Etxabeguren was in the right place to head away another dangerous cross then Bain produced a fine stop to keep out a Kenny McLean shot as the Dons piled on the pressure.
Dundee couldn’t hold out and they lost another goal bang on half-time to a brilliant strike from McGinn.
There didn’t appear to be too much danger when Ash Taylor nodded the ball to the Northern Irishman 25 yards out but he flicked the ball up into the air then smashed a volley in off the post. It was a heck of a goal to round off a superb first-half display from McGinn.
Ten minutes into the second half, Wighton got his head to a cross from Etxabeguren but could only nod past the post.
Bain then came to the rescue to save brilliantly from McLean as the Aberdeen midfielder broke clean through on goal. Graeme Shinnie then had a go for the hosts before Adam Rooney fired over the bar.
After Etxabeguren was booked for a foul on McGinn, the Dundee defence was cut open on 67 minutes by Hayes. He eventually played in McGinn but Bain got down well to save once again.
The Dens men made an attacking switch on 69 minutes, bringing on El Bakhtaoui for Etxabeguren. Sub El Bakhtaoui showed he was in the mood by whizzing a shot just wide on 77 minutes but it was McGinn’s night as he grabbed a third with 10 minutes to go.
Hayes tormented Dundee on the left again and when his cross reached McGinn near the penalty spot the ball flew off his forehead and past Bain.
The Dons were home and dry now and that meant an introduction for Christie, who replaced Hayes, while Miles Storey replaced Rooney.
Then to top off a good night for Aberdeen in general and McGinn in particular, he walked off to a standing ovation when he was replaced by Scott Wright with a couple of minutes to go.
Aberdeen: Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, Taylor, Reynolds, McLean, Rooney (Storey 83), McGinn (Wright 88), Hayes (Christie 82), Jack. Subs not used: Alexander, O’Connor, Pawlett, Stockley.
Dundee: Bain, Hateley, O’Hara, Etxabeguren (El Bakhtaoui 69), Ross, McGowan, Haber, Gadzhalov, Kerr, Wighton, Gomis. Subs not used: Mitchell, Duffy, Williams, Waddell.
Referee: Kevin Clancy.