Aberdeen were left to rue a series of missed opportunities and a top-class goalkeeping display by Kilmarnock's Cammy Bell.
The visitors dominated large swathes of the game, but were only able to convert that into just the one goal.
It was a delightful finish, Rory Fallon half-volleying past Bell early on.
But Killie earned a point with a poacher's strike from Paul Heffernan, before the Dons were denied a penalty when Bell felled Niall McGinn.
The pre-match talk was dominated by the re-signing at Rugby Park of Kris Boyd, who watched the game from the stand.
But Aberdeen threatened to spoil the feel-good factor, showing real attacking intent from the off, with Fallon heading over from Stephen Hughes's cross and Bell saving brilliantly from Rob Milsom.
But those warnings went unheeded and Aberdeen took the lead at the third time of asking.
Fallon took possession of the ball just inside the Killie penalty area and lifted a beautifully judged lob over Bell.
Heffernan came close to an equaliser with a shot on turn from eight yards but Aberdeen came closer to a second, McGinn crashing a drive off the post after a fine solo run.
McGinn and Milsom then combined, with the latter thwarted by another good save from Bell but as the half wore on, Kilmarnock clawed their way back into the game and Jamie Langfield did well to keep out another Heffernan shot.
Four minutes before the break, William Gros burst through on goal, only to take a heavy touch inside the penalty area and Heffernan was on hand to tuck the ball past Langfield to square the match.
Kilmarnock's new signing Kris Boyd was paraded at half-time
The second half was an altogether less fluid affair, but Aberdeen might have had a penalty when Momo Sissoko looked to foul McGinn as he tried to turn away from the defender, but instead the referee gave a free kick against the forward for handball.
And the referee again ruled against McGinn when he went down under Bell's challenge in the box, on this occasion showing the Aberdeen forward a yellow card for simulation when it looked like a definite penalty.
The goalkeeper had been dispossessed as he dribbled to the edge of his area and hacked McGinn down as he tried to recover.
The Dons had taken the upper hand in the closing stages and Bell proved his worth by rushing from his goal-line to twice block from substitute Jonny Hayes and ensure his side took a point.
Live text and stats
Saturday, 23 February 2013
Scottish Premier League
09 Gross (Sheridan 86)
15 Perez (Hay 53)
02 Jack (Pawlett 82)
17 Naysmith (Robertson 67)
08 Milsom (Hayes 70)
10 McGinn yellow card
Ref: NorrisAtt: 4,390
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
93:47 The referee signals the end of the game.
90:00+3:22 Johnny Hayes takes a shot.
90:00+0:57 The assistant referee signals for offside against Cillian Sheridan. Free kick taken by Jamie Langfield. Free kick awarded
for a foul by Ryan O'Leary on Niall McGinn. Niall McGinn produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick.
88:15 Johnny Hayes crosses the ball, Ross Barbour gets a block in. Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Johnny Hayes from the
left by-line to the near post.
87:19 Free kick awarded for a foul by Gavin Rae on Sammy Clingan. Direct free kick taken by Ryan O'Leary.
85:28 Substitution William Gros leaves the field to be replaced by Cillian Sheridan.
85:06 Inswinging corner taken by Johnny Hayes.
84:45 Johnny Hayes takes a shot. Save made by Cameron Bell.
80:48 Substitution Peter Pawlett joins the action as a substitute, replacing Ryan Jack.
80:48 Johnny Hayes takes a shot. Jamie Langfield makes a save. Corner taken by Johnny Hayes played to the near post, Ryan O'Leary
makes a clearance.
79:15 James Dayton takes a corner.
78:30 James Fowler delivers the ball. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on William Gros by Mark Reynolds. James Dayton
delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing, Ryan Jack manages to make a clearance.
75:56 Niall McGinn challenges Cameron Bell unfairly and gives away a free kick.
75:33 Direct free kick taken by Cameron Bell.
75:33 Booking Booking for Niall McGinn for unsporting behaviour.
72:53 The ball is crossed by James Dayton, save by Jamie Langfield.
71:01 The referee blows for offside against Johnny Hayes. Free kick taken by Cameron Bell.
69:41 Substitution Johnny Hayes replaces Robert Milsom.
69:41 The assistant referee flags for offside against Niall McGinn. Cameron Bell takes the free kick.
68:52 Jeroen Tesselaar concedes a free kick for a foul on Joe Shaughnessy. Jamie Langfield takes the direct free kick.
67:53 Garry Hay crosses the ball, clearance by Clark Robertson. Corner taken by James Dayton from the right by-line, clearance
by Jamie Langfield. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Sammy Clingan from the left by-line to the near post, Stephen
Hughes makes a clearance.
66:47 Substitution (Aberdeen) makes a substitution, with Clark Robertson coming on for Gary Naysmith.
63:37 Handball by Niall McGinn. Free kick taken by Cameron Bell.
63:12 Mohamadou Sissoko gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Niall McGinn. Gary Naysmith takes the direct free kick.
60:49 The ball is swung over by William Gros. Outswinging corner taken left-footed by James Dayton from the left by-line.
59:46 Paul Heffernan takes a shot. Save by Jamie Langfield.
59:23 Free kick awarded for a foul by Gary Naysmith on William Gros. William Gros takes the direct free kick.
58:14 The ball is crossed by Ross Barbour, Robert Milsom gets a block in. Garry Hay takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line
to the near post, Stephen Hughes manages to make a clearance.
Correction - 56:26 Shot by Jeroen Tesselaar. Russell Anderson gets a block in.
56:26 Shot from 30 yards by Jeroen Tesselaar. Russell Anderson gets a block in.
55:09 The ball is sent over by Ross Barbour, Mark Reynolds makes a clearance.
53:21 Sammy Clingan takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post.
52:55 James Dayton sends in a cross, blocked by Joe Shaughnessy. Outswinging corner taken left-footed by James Dayton from the
left by-line, clearance by Rory Fallon.
52:07 Substitution Garry Hay comes on in place of Borja Perez.
51:54 Effort on goal by Niall McGinn from just inside the area clears the crossbar.
51:36 A cross is delivered by Niall McGinn, Jeroen Tesselaar makes a clearance.
49:27 Shot by Sammy Clingan from a long way out goes over the net.
45:24 James Dayton challenges Joe Shaughnessy unfairly and gives away a free kick. Gavin Rae restarts play with the free kick.
Ryan Jack delivers the ball, Ross Barbour manages to make a clearance.
45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
45:00+0:22 The whistle is blown to end the first half.
44:58 Niall McGinn produces a cross, Ryan Jack has a header from deep inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.
43:26 James Dayton is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Jamie Langfield.
41:41 Unfair challenge on Borja Perez by Gary Naysmith results in a free kick. Sammy Clingan takes the direct free kick.
41:06 Mohamadou Sissoko challenges Rory Fallon unfairly and gives away a free kick. Robert Milsom takes the free kick.
39:52 William Gros provided the assist for the goal.
39:52 GOAL - Paul Heffernan:Kilmarnock 1 - 1 Aberdeen Paul Heffernan finds the back of the net with a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Kilmarnock 1-1
35:23 Centre by Ryan Jack, Effort from inside the area by Joe Shaughnessy misses to the right of the target.
34:50 The ball is crossed by Ryan Jack, blocked by James Dayton. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Ryan Jack played to the
30:54 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Robert Milsom by Mohamadou Sissoko. Inswinging corner taken by Robert Milsom,
Ryan O'Leary makes a clearance.
30:22 Centre by Borja Perez, Russell Anderson makes a clearance.
29:35 Ryan O'Leary takes a shot. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Borja Perez from the right by-line.
29:00 Paul Heffernan has a volleyed shot. Jamie Langfield makes a save. James Dayton takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line
to the near post, Stephen Hughes manages to make a clearance.
28:50 The ball is crossed by Jeroen Tesselaar, clearance made by Russell Anderson.
26:55 Stephen Hughes concedes a free kick for a foul on James Dayton. The free kick is delivered left-footed by James Dayton from
left wing, clearance made by Russell Anderson.
26:24 Foul by Gavin Rae on James Dayton, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by James Fowler.
25:19 Foul by Rory Fallon on Sammy Clingan, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Ryan O'Leary.
23:24 The offside flag is raised against Paul Heffernan. Direct free kick taken by Stephen Hughes.
21:20 Corner taken by Ryan Jack from the right by-line to the near post, Rory Fallon has a headed effort from close in and clears
21:04 The ball is delivered by Niall McGinn, clearance made by Ryan O'Leary.
20:01 Handball decision goes against Robert Milsom. Mohamadou Sissoko takes the direct free kick.
16:59 Niall McGinn takes a shot.
15:56 The ball is delivered by Niall McGinn.
15:15 Unfair challenge on Rory Fallon by Mohamadou Sissoko results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Gary Naysmith.
14:30 The ball is sent over by Ross Barbour, Effort from inside the area by Paul Heffernan misses to the right of the target.
12:25 Foul by Robert Milsom on Borja Perez, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Ross Barbour.
12:00 Outswinging corner taken by James Dayton.
11:37 Borja Perez takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post.
11:24 Ross Barbour produces a cross.
10:41 Borja Perez takes a long range shot clearing the bar.
10:04 The ball is crossed by James Dayton, blocked by Joe Shaughnessy.
9:07 Shot by Gavin Rae from a long way out goes over the target.
6:22 Stephen Hughes provided the assist for the goal.
6:22 GOAL - Rory Fallon:Kilmarnock 0 - 1 Aberdeen A goal is scored by Rory Fallon from the edge of the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Kilmarnock 0-1 Aberdeen.
4:09 Centre by Niall McGinn, Robert Milsom takes a shot. Save by Cameron Bell. Corner taken right-footed by Ryan Jack, Mohamadou
Sissoko makes a clearance. Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Stephen Hughes, Header from close range by Rory
Fallon clears the bar.
3:17 Stephen Hughes delivers the ball. Close range headed effort by Rory Fallon clears the crossbar.
1:22 William Gros fouled by Gary Naysmith, the ref awards a free kick. Mohamadou Sissoko takes the free kick.
0:06 Stephen Hughes delivers the ball, save by Cameron Bell.
0:00 The referee gets the game underway.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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