ABERDEEN were held to a 1-1 draw at St Johnstone to fall nine points behind shock Premiership leaders Hearts.
It was a game of two halves for the Dons at McDiarmid Park as a dismal first half was followed by a strong second 45 minutes from the Reds.
Saints went ahead in the first half through David McMillan before Niall McGinn levelled after the break with a superb free-kick.
There were two changes to the side that started the 2-0 loss to Kilmarnock with centre-back Mikey Devlin suspended following his red card in that match.
Scotland U21 international midfielder Lewis Ferguson was also ruled out.
Summer signing Chris Forrester, a £200,000 capture from Peterborough United, came in for his first competitive start for the Reds.
Scotland international centre-back Scott McKenna made a welcome return to action after a six week absence due to a hamstring tear.
McKenna, 21, returned to full-training earlier this week and was pitched straight into the starting line up.
Aberdeen forced three quick fire corners in the early stages as they pushed on,
From the third a Gary Mackay-Steven corner was cleared as far as Niall McGinn at the edge of the penalty area.
McGinn’s drive took a deflection that took the sting out of it and was easily saved by Zander Clark.
Moments later Aberdeen had a penalty claim turned down by referee Willie Collum when Mackay-Steven appeared to have been brought down by Jason Kerr.
St Johnstone went ahead in the 14th minute when Liam Craig crossed towards the front post from the right flank and David McMILLAN lost marker Shay Logan and was allowed a free header from four yards out.
It was too easy for Saints as the Dons’ poor marking at a dead ball was punished.
Within minutes the Reds defence was again ripped apart as Drey Wright burst down the right flank. Tony Watt was lurking unmarked at the back post for a cross but Andy Considine cut it out with a last gasp clearance for a corner.
Aberdeen were looking vulnerable down the flanks and were also offering very little in terms of attack.
It was grim viewing for the travelling Red Army.
In the 31st minute Saints again threatened when Blair Aston sent a 15 yard glancing header along the face of goal and wide.
A first shot of note on target from the Dons finally came in the 35th minute when Gleeson released Logan down the right flank with a cross-field ball.
That was the only real effort from the Dons in a grim first 45 minutes for the Pittodrie side.
McInnes changed it at half-time by bringing on striker Sam Cosgrove for Forrester.
Within a minute of the restart McGinn was denied when his powerful 22 yard drive was pushed wide by keeper Clark.
Winger Mackay-Steven injected real urgency when he picked up the ball on the right and cut across into a more central position.
He unleashed a vicious 20 yard drive that Jason Kerr headed off the line with the keeper beaten.
Moments later Shinnie fired a low drive wide from the edge of the box.
Aberdeen did more in attack in the first five minutes of the second half than in the entire first 45 minutes.
Keeper Clark did well to get down and block a low drive from Mackay-Steven at his near post.
The Dons were denied in the 62nd minute when substitute Cosgrove latched onto a cross 12 yards out delivered by Logan.
Cosgrove headed downwards but was denied by a superb save from Clark.
Aberdeen were vastly improved in the second half and were running rampant.
The goal the Dons second half play merited finally arrived in the 69th minute via a superb free-kick from McGINN.
The winger lifted a 19 yard effort up over the defensive wall and beyond the diving Clark into the top corner for a deserved equaliser.
Moments later Joe Lewis saved a powerful drive from Blair Alston. The Dons keeper did well to spread himself and blocked.
Aberdeen: Lewis, Logan, Lowe, Considine, McKenna, Shinnie, Gleeson, Forrester, McGinn, Mackay-Steven, May.
Subs: Cosgrove (for Forrester 46), Anderson (for May 66), Ball (for Gleeson 66).
Subs not used: Cerny, Campbell, McLennan, Dangana.
St Johnstone: Clark, Tanser, Alston, Shaughnessy, Wright, Kerr, McMillan, Foster, Craig, Watt, Kennedy.
Subs: Callachan (for Craig 46), ), Swanson (for McMillan 78),Wotherspoon (for Kennedy 78).
Subs not used: Mitchell, Anderson, Kane, Nydam.
Referee: Willie Collum