Niall McGinn’s brilliant double handed Aberdeen back the initiative in the race for the Scottish Premiership’s second spot as the Dons defeated Hibernian 2-0 at Easter Road.
Following three successive draws, the Reds now move three points clear of third-placed Motherwell following their Edinburgh triumph with just five games to play.
And they have McGinn to thank after a talismanic display in the capital. The Northern Irishman had gone 16 games without a goal before scoring against Dundee United at the end of last month, but has now netted three times in as many games after gunning down the meek hosts.
Hibernian boss Terry Butcher had been looking for a reaction after last week’s humiliating derby loss to administration-hit Hearts and made three changes to his side.
The midfield trio of Liam Craig, Paul Cairney and Alex Harris came in as Alan Maybury missed out through suspension after his red card at Tynecastle.
James Collins would have joined Danny Handling and Duncan Watmore on the bench after an abject showing against the Jambos, but a groin strain suffered by Paul Heffernan in the warm-up offered the former Swindon striker a reprieve.
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes, meanwhile, opted against altering his side, despite having the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final with St Johnstone approaching on Sunday.
And his confidence was rewarded when McGinn swept home a brilliant opener from outside the box after 14 minutes.
The rampant Pittodrie outfit then struck the same post twice within 120 seconds as they closed out the first period on top.
But they had to wait until the 62nd minute for McGinn’s emphatic second, when he thundered the ball off the underside of the crossbar before watching it bounce into the net.