Stevie May marked his home debut with a double as Aberdeen overcame a stern examination by a hard-working Dundee side.
May struck either side of Roarie Deacon’s leveller in a 2-1 win which will be more memorable for its defensive frailty than attacking prowess.
Indeed, the Dons rode their luck in the first half and probably should have fallen behind when Mark Reynolds and Anthony O’Connor were both drawn out to the right flank after eight minutes.
Reynolds was short in his backpass for goalkeeper Joe Lewis, allowing James Vincent through and into a one-on-one with the former England squad man, but he stood up well to block.
That proved vital three minutes later as Aberdeen took the lead. Greg Tansey was the provider, his corner from the left met by May at the near post, and the former Sheffield Wednesday man’s powerful header left Scott Bain well beaten.
Defensive errors should have see the Dons double their advantage as the persistence of Kenny McLean saw him block an attempted clearance and play in Ryan Christie, but his cheeky attempt failed to trouble Bain.
And Dundee could have been level within 60 seconds as winger Deacon stood up a fine ball for Marcus Haber, his firm header coming back off the crossbar.
Referee Kevin Clancy made a number of baffling decisions through the first half, but the Dons fans were most bamboozled by his failure to award a penalty as Christie sought a way past Deacon in the visitors’ box, the referee waving play on as the on-loan Celtic man was left sprawled out on the turf.
And May was unlucky not to double his tally 10 minutes from the interval as his sweet strike from 20 yards fizzed past Bain’s right-hand upright.
The visitors got their leveller, though, after 53 minutes, and it was a goal of Aberdeen’s making.
On a sticky surface after a half-time hailstorm, Christie’s cross-field pass held up for Deacon who drove into the area and drilled a low, angled strike straight through the usually reliable Lewis.
The Dark Blues should have been ahead on the hour as Deacon squared for Scott Allan with the home defence at sixes and sevens, but the former Hibernian and Dundee United man somehow contrived to slide the ball wide of the target from 12 yards.
The Dons eventually regained the advantage with 11 minutes left, and it was May again who found the target, lashing across Bain from 15 yards after a scramble in the Dee defence.
There will be some controversy though, with Dundee down to nine men at the time as both Haber and Faisal El-Bakhtaoui had gone down with injuries at the same time and were both off the field at the time as substitutes were readied.