Aberdeen cut the gap between themselves and Motherwell to a point with an impressive 3-0 win at Fir Park.
After Joe Lewis saved an early James Scott penalty goals from Sam Cosgrove – his 15th of the season – Niall McGinn and Zak Vyner moved the Reds just a point behind the third-placed Steelmen.
Dons boss Derek McInnes made five changes to the side which drew 1-1 with Hibs at Pittodrie a fortnight ago.
Lewis Ferguson and Curtis Main dropped out due to suspension, Dean Campbell and Ryan Hedges were moved to the bench and Ethan Ross dropped out of the 18-man squad altogether.
In came Mikey Devlin, McGinn, Jon Gallagher, James Wilson and Vyner.
With six defenders on the pitch there was intrigue as to how the Reds would line-up pre-match.
The answer was a 4-2-3-1 formation with Vyner and Greg Leigh used as holding midfielders.
The match roared into life with both sides looking to get on the front foot in the early stages and in the fifth minute Motherwell passed up a great chance to take the lead.
Shay Logan was short with a pass back to keeper Lewis, Chris Long nipped in first and was tripped by Lewis, with referee Euan Anderson quickly pointing to the penalty spot.
Scott stepped up, but his right footed effort was tipped over the bar by Lewis, who flung himself to his right.
After quarter of an hour Aberdeen took the lead with a devastating counter-attack.
The Steelmen’s skipper Peter Hartley was off the pitch receiving treatment for an injury with Barry Maguire dropping into central defence and marking Cosgrove.
Long had possession for the home side, but Leigh tackled him in the centre of the pitch and the alert Cosgrove spun away from Maguire. Leigh found him with the perfect through ball and the striker raised into the box and chipped the beyond Mark Gillespie for his 15th goal of the season.
Soon after Jon Gallagher headed over from a Logan cross, but midway through the first period Motherwell hit the woodwork.
Declan Gallagher’s measured ball found the lively Long on the right side of the area, he side-stepped Lewis, but with the angle against him Long’s attempted finish hit the right post and went behind.
Up until the interval the same pattern continued with Motherwell having more of the ball, but struggling to penetrate the Dons defence, while the men from the Granite City appeared threatening when they were able to counter-attack at speed.
Eight minutes into the second half the Reds left the Steelmen with a mountain to climb as they moved two up.
Aberdeen pressed Motherwell and when Allan Campbell dithered 25 yards from goal McGinn pounced. The Northern Irish international won the ball and curled a shot into the top right corner from the edge of the area.
Any hopes of a home comeback were extinguished on the hour when Vyner created space 25 yards out and hammered a right footed shot in off the right post.
By now Motherwell were ragged at the back and Leigh’s cross-cum-shot slipped just wide.
Andy Considine also sent a header by the far post in the closing stages, but it finished 3-0.
Motherwell: Mark Gillespie, Richard Tait, Liam Grimshaw, Peter Hartley (Bevis Mugabi 15), Allan Campbell, Christopher Long, Sherwin Seedorf, Barry Maguire (Devante Cole 60), James Scott (Jermaine Hylton 55), Liam Polworth, Declan Gallagher.
Subs not used: Trevor Carson, Christy Manzinga, Christian Ilic, Jamie Semple.
Aberdeen: Joe Lewis, Shay Logan, Andy Considine, Mikey Devlin, Scott McKenna, Greg Leigh (Stephen Gleeson 90), Jon Gallagher, Zak Vyner, James Wilson (Connor McLennan 53), Niall McGinn (Dean Campbell 73), Sam Cosgrove.
Subs not used: Tomas Cerny, Craig Bryson, Ryan Hedges, Bruce Anderson.