Ash Taylor's second-half header helped Aberdeen enhance their position in second place of the Scottish Premiership as they beat nearest challengers Inverness. Taylor netted two minutes after the resumption for his fourth goal of the campaign as the Dons claimed a 1-0 win in a drab encounter at Pittodrie. That lifted Derek McInnes' men 11 points clear of third-placed Caley Thistle - although they remain seven adrift of league leaders Celtic.
It was the visitors who had the bulk of possession in the opening stages, although Scott Brown's goal rarely looked under any sort of threat. Little had been seen of Aberdeen until the 10th minute when Peter Pawlett got the break of the ball wide on the right and played a low cross which caught David Raven awkwardly, the defender struggling to clear twice, before the danger was eventually cleared for a corner. Just a minute later, Niall McGinn could have given the hosts the lead as he feinted before sending a delicate chip goalwards from the edge of the area, only for his effort to drift wide of Ryan Esson's left-hand post. But chances were at a premium in the first half, and it was almost the half-hour mark before either side threatened again, former Inverness man Adam Rooney prodding a searching Mark Reynolds pass beyond the onrushing Esson, only for Josh Meekings to get back and clear over his own crossbar.
It had been a low-key first half for both sides, but Aberdeen injected life into the game just 90 seconds after the interval. A Jonny Hayes cross was turned behind for a corner, from which Taylor powerfully headed home Robson's cross to open the scoring.
Ironically that seemed to allow Inverness more freedom, but their lack of a natural striker was evident as Marley Watkins beat the offside trap only to fire straight at Brown who, in fairness, stood up well. The former Colchester goalkeeper was in action again to deny Aaron Doran soon after as Inverness continued their most dangerous spell. Both sides made changes to freshen things up, Inverness introducing striker Edward Ofere for Nick Ross, while Aberdeen's Pawlett made way for McLean. And suddenly there was life once more, with Rooney denied twice by Esson just moments apart. Inverness too came close, with Watkins' shot from the edge of the area clipping the crossbar.
But at the other end Aberdeen did have the ball in the net again, only for Rooney's header from a Barry Robson free-kick to be ruled out for offside. And former Don Esson had to be alert again to deny McLean, still searching for his first Aberdeen goal, from point-blank range after McGinn's clever cutback. After Logan had entered the book for time-wasting, McGinn had a chance to add a late gloss to the scoreline, but the Northern Irishman could only find the side-netting.