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.
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.