Dundee United find themselves three points adrift at the bottom of the Premiership after this 2-0 defeat to Aberdeen.
There was an improvement from the one-sided contest against Hibs in the League Cup but that wasn’t translated into points.
And, had it not been for a late Dundee equaliser in their match with Partick Thistle, the gap to second bottom would have been back to five.
This game was settled by two second-half goals from Adam Rooney and Jonny Hayes. It was a fair result despite the fact that there were spells when the 745 away fans had their hopes raised.
Aberdeen nearly opened the scoring early on. Shay Logan crossed beyond the back post, Hayes helped it back across the face of goal and it just evaded the Dons strikers.
Then on 17 minutes the hosts launched an attack from the opposite flank, and Mark Durnan narrowly avoided turning Graeme Shinnie’s cross into his own net.
It was pretty much all Aberdeen at this point but United weren’t without the odd excursion into their opposition’s half.
On one such occasion a Blair Spittal long-ranger took a deflection over the bar. United couldn’t do anything from the subsequent corner, however.
Michal Szromnik prevented the Tangerines from suffering a really heavy defeat at Easter Road in midweek and he had to be at his best to keep the score 0-0 on 27 minutes.
Rooney had a fresh air over-head swipe at a cross from the right but Shinnie was able to put boot to ball with his volley that was heading for the bottom left corner had it not been for a finger-tip save from Szromnik.
Cross balls (from both wings) were causing the United defence real problems. A Shinnie delivery on 38 minutes was missed by Peter Pawlett at the near post and then Willo Flood hit it over from six yards out.
Scott Fraser had United’s best chance of the first period but was wasteful with a shot when it had opened up for him.
Mixu Paatelainen’s men had grown into the game toward the end of the first half, and they created a good chance five minutes after the re-start.
Sean Dillon overlapped down the right, crossed to the back post and Fraser should have done better with a six yard header.
It proved to be a costly miss, as a minute later Aberdeen were one up. Hayes delivered the ball to the front post, United couldn’t clear, the ball spun up and Rooney had a simple header from point-blank range.
United didn’t buckle and Sean Dillon and Fraser both had edge of the box shots that scraped the outside of the post.
Just as the home fans were getting edgy, and United were getting some territorial advantage, Aberdeen broke up the pitch to seal the game with a second goal.
Pawlett fed Hayes and his direct running and well struck low shot was rewarded when the ball found Szromnik’s bottom left hand corner.
The Dons saw out the game comfortably in the end to get their first win in seven games and leave United rooted to the bottom of the Premiership.