Aberdeen eased to victory over 10-man Inverness Caledonian Thistle to build confidence ahead of Saturday's Co-operative Insurance Cup semi-final.
Both sides had chances before defender Grant Munro was sent off for an off-the-ball incident after 18 minutes.
Ryan Jack fired the Dons into the lead from 25 yards after 44 minutes.
Adam Rooney missed a good chance to equalise after the break and Nick Blackman made him pay with a deflected finish immediately at the other end.
The victory eases Aberdeen's relegation fears and leaves Inverness still seeking a win in their last 10 games in the Scottish Premier League.
Jonny Hayes had returned to the Inverness starting line-up, replacing Eric Odhiambo, after making a cameo appearance on Saturday following a month out with an ankle injury.
Teenage winger Aaron Doran was on the bench after joining on loan from Blackburn Rovers.
However, it was Aberdeen, with Jack having replaced Derek Young in midfield, who started brightly and Robert Milsom tested goalkeeper Ryan Esson in the opening seconds with a low shot from just outside the box.
The hosts responded well with Chris Innes powering a header on target from a Hayes corner moments later.
Blackman might have broken the deadlock in 13 minutes when he latched on to a long clearance, but the Dons frontman sent his angled shot wide of the mark.
Jack (right) opened the scoring against Caley Thistle
Zander Diamond went close seconds later when his header from a Milsom corner hit the post.
Inverness were reduced to 10 men after only 18 minutes when Grant Munro was given a straight red card, the central defender being dismissed for an off-the-ball incident by referee Steve Conroy after he discussed the matter with his assistant.
Home manager Terry Butcher shuffled his pack to deal with the sending-off by switching full-back Ross Tokely to centre-half and dropping midfielder Stuart Duff into defence.
Caley Thistle's support were calling on the referee to even the numbers following challenges by Blackman and Dons defender Rory McArdle that led to bookings.
Inverness midfielder Dani Sanchez carved out an opportunity for top scorer Rooney, but the striker failed to connect with the chance.
Jack scored a superb goal a minute before the interval to put Aberdeen in front, the 18-year-old midfielder's long-range bullet beating a diving Ryan Esson.
The visitors virtually secured their victory in 30 seconds of contrasting fortunes after the break.
Rooney squandered a chance at one end and the Dons broke to the other and Chris Maguire's cross was controlled and then slotted into the net off a defender by Blackman.
Maguire would have added to Aberdeen's advantage just before the hour if not for Esson, who stopped the bullet header from Milsom's corner.
Aberdeen were in the ascendancy and Blackman was next to be deprived by Esson when he was one-on-one after being played in by Dons captain Paul Hartley.
Esson was almost becoming a one-man barrier when he was on hand again, this time stopping Maguire's shot from the edge of the area when the ball was laid back by Scott Vernon.
Live text and stats
Wednesday, 26 January 2011
14 Munro red card
04 Duff (Doran 82)
11 Hayes (Odhiambo 73)
23 Sanchez (Proctor 46)
02 McArdle yellow card
07 Maguire (Young 85)
09 Vernon (Magennis 65)
Ref: ConroyAtt: 4,468
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
93:00 The referee brings the game to a close.
90:00+0:15 The assistant referee flags for offside against Nick Blackman. Ryan Esson takes the free kick.
86:42 Unfair challenge on Adam Rooney by Zander Diamond results in a free kick. Nick Ross takes the direct free kick.
85:30 Ross Tokely challenges Josh Magennis unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paul Hartley takes the free kick.
84:20 Substitution Derek Young joins the action as a substitute, replacing Chris Maguire.
81:36 Substitution Aaron Doran replaces Stuart Duff.
80:34 Adam Rooney produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.
79:40 Nick Blackman concedes a free kick for a foul on Chris Innes. Free kick taken by Ryan Esson.
77:56 Adam Rooney takes a shot. Save made by Jamie Langfield.
74:15 Corner taken by Stuart Duff, save made by Jamie Langfield.
73:52 Andrew Considine produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the goal.
73:00 Substitution Eric Odhiambo on for Jonathan Hayes.
67:12 Richie Foran produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.
65:49 Corner taken by Stuart Duff, Andrew Considine makes a clearance.
64:07 Substitution Josh Magennis joins the action as a substitute, replacing Scott Vernon.
62:52 Chris Maguire takes a shot. Fantastic save by Ryan Esson.
61:20 Corner taken left-footed by Stuart Duff from the left by-line, Nikola Vujadinovic manages to make a clearance.
59:36 Corner from the left by-line taken by Paul Hartley, clearance made by Ross Tokely.
59:17 Corner taken by Robert Milsom from the right by-line.
59:05 Nick Blackman takes a shot. Save made by Ryan Esson.
58:27 Effort on goal by Graeme Shinnie from outside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
56:32 The referee penalises Scott Vernon for handball. Ryan Esson takes the free kick.
55:02 Corner taken by Robert Milsom from the right by-line, Chris Maguire takes a shot. Comfortable save by Ryan Esson.
54:44 Robert Milsom takes a short corner.
53:56 Scott Vernon is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Ryan Esson.
52:58 Stuart Duff takes a inswinging corner.
52:04 Shot from just outside the box by Scott Vernon goes over the bar.
50:30 Corner taken right-footed by Paul Hartley from the right by-line, clearance by Richie Foran.
48:02 Chris Maguire provided the assist for the goal.
48:02 GOAL - Nick Blackman:Inverness CT 0 - 2 Aberdeen Nick Blackman finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Inverness
CT 0-2 Aberdeen.
47:17 Adam Rooney produces a left-footed shot from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.
45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
45:01 Substitution (Inverness CT) makes a substitution, with David Proctor coming on for Dani Sanchez.
45:00+1:07 It is the end of the first-half.
43:21 GOAL - Ryan Jack:Inverness CT 0 - 1 Aberdeen Ryan Jack grabs a goal from just outside the box to the top right corner of the goal. Inverness CT 0-1 Aberdeen.
42:52 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Chris Innes by Chris Maguire. Direct free kick taken by Nick Ross.
40:37 Unfair challenge on Jonathan Hayes by Nikola Vujadinovic results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Stuart Duff.
37:04 Booking Rory McArdle goes into the referee's book.
35:02 Unfair challenge on Jonathan Hayes by Nick Blackman results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Jonathan Hayes.
34:18 Robert Milsom takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Richie Foran.
32:12 The referee blows for offside against Dani Sanchez. Jamie Langfield takes the indirect free kick.
31:39 Robert Milsom gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nick Ross. Stuart Duff takes the free kick.
25:39 Paul Hartley concedes a free kick for a foul on Richie Foran. Chris Innes takes the direct free kick.
22:05 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Rory McArdle by Dani Sanchez. Robert Milsom takes the free kick.
20:59 Rory McArdle fouled by Adam Rooney, the ref awards a free kick. Rory McArdle takes the free kick.
20:02 Andrew Considine concedes a free kick for a foul on Jonathan Hayes. Chris Innes takes the free kick.
17:53 Sent off Grant Munro sent off.
14:48 Robert Milsom takes the inswinging corner, Zander Diamond has a header from inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.
13:42 Scott Vernon challenges Graeme Shinnie unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ryan Esson.
12:36 Nick Blackman has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the goal.
12:16 Jonathan Hayes takes a shot. Jamie Langfield makes a comfortable save.
10:47 Foul by Adam Rooney on Nikola Vujadinovic, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Nikola Vujadinovic.
10:02 Jonathan Hayes decides to take the corner short.
9:04 Ryan Jack gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stuart Duff. Grant Munro restarts play with the free kick.
8:30 Robert Milsom concedes a free kick for a foul on Stuart Duff. Ryan Esson takes the indirect free kick.
4:31 Short corner taken by Jonathan Hayes.
4:04 Jonathan Hayes takes a shot. Jamie Langfield makes a save.
3:05 Corner taken by Jonathan Hayes from the right by-line, Chris Innes takes a shot. Jamie Langfield makes a brilliant save.
2:21 The offside flag is raised against Adam Rooney. Rory McArdle takes the direct free kick.
1:21 Corner taken by Stuart Duff, Jamie Langfield manages to make a clearance.
1:05 Ryan Jack takes a shot. Save by Ryan Esson.
0:00 The match gets underway.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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