Derek McInnes was able to select a fit again Jonny Hayes and he put him straight back into the starting XI in place of Ryan Jack who was suspended. So the Dons lined up with Langfield in goal, Logan at right back, Anderson and Reynolds in the centre of defence with Considine at left back. Hayes played left mid with Robson partnering Flood in the centre of midfield and Niall McGinn was on the right. Pawlett played in the hole behind Rooney.
Around 1,000 members of the Red Army made the trip north to the Highland Capital in what was a perfect night for football. The Dons started on the front foot with Hayes and Pawlett both involved in the early stages. On 4 minutes Pawlett won the Dons a free kick in a good position about 25 yards out. McGinn took it, his first effort hit the wall and his follow up effort was ballooned over.
On 6 minutes the home side had a great chance to take the lead when Watkins got the wrong side of Anderson. The Dons skipper did well to put him off but he was able to lay the ball off to the unmarked Billy McKay. It looked like the prolific scorer would just pick his spot as he placed it into the corner but Jamie Langfield produced a quite wonderful save diving to his left. The ball was at a decent height for the keeper but it was still a stunning save. From the resulting corner Tremarco blasted over after the ball was cleared to the edge of the area.
In the opening exchanges both teams worked the ball into decent areas but then inexcusably gave the ball away.
On 15 minutes Watkins won ICT a corner. The Dons did just enough to clear their lines. The ball broke to Flood who looked for a quick counter attack. However he gave the ball away and the Dons were relieved to see Doran blast his shot well over. A minute later the Dons were caught out at the back again as Doran got in behind the back four. He played the ball inside to McKay but he pushed his shot wide.
Inverness were doing what they did at Pittodrie - sitting deep then hitting the Dons on the break.
On 20 minutes Logan put over a good ball which Hayes jumped high to meet but he could not get any power on his header. Worryingly he landed awkwardly but thankfully his shoulder was ok. Flood then looked for Rooney in the box but his cross was just a little too high. Robson then teed up Pawlett but his first time shot from distance never troubled Brill. Better from the Dons but they were still giving away possession a bit too easily.
Slowly Aberdeen then started to take control of things as Flood and Robson got to grips with the game.
On 34 minutes, after a very patient build up, McGinn played it to Robson who had made a good forward run but he poked the ball over. A minute later Hayes then won the Dons a corner but Anderson was penalised for a foul. Aberdeen were by now enjoying lots of possession and beginning to get on top but the home side had numbers back behind the ball so Hayes, Pawlett and McGinn had little space to run into.
Then on 37 minutes Pawlett finally broke free after a slip at the back. He could have gone for the shot as he was only 20 yards out but decided to play it wide to McGinn who cracked a shot towards the near post which hit the cross bar and bounced to safety. Very unlucky! Niall could not have hit the shot much better. The Dons were now well on top and on 41 minutes another chance. Flood did well to win the ball down the left. He played it to Pawlett who then found Hayes. He got to the by-line before driving over a good low cross but Dean Brill did very well to cut out the cross.
Despite the Dons being on top Caley should have taken the lead in the final minute of the half. After a good passing move Tansey played a great low though ball which picked out McKay who was only 10 yards out and completely unmarked. Logan appealed for off-side but the linesman correctly kept his flag down and Langfield had to produce another top top save to keep out McKay. The keeper got out quickly before spreading himself brilliantly, the ball bounced off Jamie and over the bar.
Maybe not the most exciting first half but an intriguing tactical battle which gave both managers plenty to think about at half time.
At the start of the second half Billy McKay was almost in again after Doran had played a through ball but thankfully this time the ball hit his heel and Reynolds was able to recover the situation. McKay's movement is excellent which makes him a real threat.
On 51 minutes Caley won corner number six. The ball came over and Josh Meekings won the header, the first time they had got that all night from a set-piece. Thankfully the ball flashed just over the bar.
As the half wore on you felt that one goal was going to decide this one. Aberdeen also looked the better team and had control of the game. On 54 minutes Robson tried the more direct route. He chipped a ball forward for Rooney who laid it into the path of Pawlett but Meekings did well to get there just as Peter was about the shot. From the resulting corner Warren did well to clear his lines despite pressure from Anderson. Then a few minutes later Meekings gifted Aberdeen a chance by giving the ball away in a dangerous area. McGinn ran in on goal but his shot was deflected safely into the arms of Brill.
Aberdeen were again enjoying lots of possession but Inverness were continuing to work so hard to close them down quickly.
Just after the hour mark the first change of the game. Jonny Hayes was replaced by Cammy Smith. Shortly after coming on Cammy won corner number four but again the ICT defence did well to head the ball to safety. On 65 minutes John Hughes made his first change; Ryan Christie replaced Vincent.
On 67 minutes Inverness pressed the Dons in the middle of the park and when they won the ball they pounced. The ball was worked to the right before a cross picked out Tansey. In an almost an identical position to where McGinn hit the bar in the first half, Tansey did exactly the same- with the aid of a vital touch from Jamie Langfield. The ball rounded off the bar and Logan did really well to clear the danger as he was under serious pressure. On 73 minutes MacKay made room for himself but from a tight angle Langfield made a comfortable save.
Although the game was becoming a bit more stretched Inverness were still holding their shape and not giving Aberdeen anything. You did feel on a couple of occasions Aberdeen players might have hit shots from distance to at least test Brill but each time they elected for a sideways pass.
With ten minutes to go Watkins was replaced by Nick Ross.
On 81 minutes a real opportunity when Considine of all people got the break of the ball in a good area. He played it wide to McGinn who cut the ball back and there were loud penalty appeals for handball but ref Madden waved play on. A minute later a great kick out from Langfield set McGinn free again down the left but he was well tackled. Niall should have done better. Then at the other end Doran had a chance and he should also have done better - he just chipped the ball into Langfield's hands.
The last ten minutes were like the final round of a heavy weight boxing contest. Both sets of players did not appear to have much left in the legs.
With five minutes to go Zola replaced Rooney. The Dons had a final chance when Langfield raced off his line, chested it down before coolly playing it up for Zola. Calvin did well to lay it off for Smith who slipped it wide for Flood. He then found Pawlett who cut it back to McGinn but his first time shot was well saved by Brill. A real chance. In the 90th minute Smith who impressed, picked the ball up in a good area before hitting a low shot across the face of goal and just wide of the post. Inverness had the final chance of the game when Logan gave away a corner but Langfield punched clear and then the whistle for full time well.
In the end a draw was probably a fair result. Both teams played some good football, both had chances and both sets of players gave everything.