Aberdeen underlined their title credentials by pulling through a seven-goal thriller against St Johnstone in Perth.

A late two-goal Saints fightback threatened to undermine the Dons' hopes of pulling level with defending champions Celtic, who are on Scottish Cup duty against East Kilbride this weekend.

But an Adam Rooney double and strikes from Peter Pawlett and sub Niall McGinn proved decisive in a hard-fought contest, after late goals from Steven Anderson and Tam Scobbie added to David Wotherspoon's earlier strike.

It made for an anxious finale for Dons manager Derek McInnes, whose side have put together a 12-game unbeaten sequence, but he lavished praise on players who dug deep to get the win required to share joint top of the table.

He said: "It continues our run. We are over three months unbeaten in the league.

"People keep asking if Aberdeen can handle it. We are doing that. They have done it for ages now.

"There was a big support and a lot was expected of us. Physically this was going to be a tougher game than Wednesday."

Responding to claims by Celtic skipper Scott Brown that the title was bound for Parkhead, McInnes said: "Everybody is entitled to their opinion. I am just delighted with what my boys are giving me.

"We are on a brilliant run and we want it to continue. At this stage of the season wins are vitally important and we want to keep winning.

"It was important to win because the script was written if we hadn't. People would say 'they can go and beat Celtic but they go and drop points in the next one'.

"You also know St Johnstone are never beaten and always have a go.

"The biggest test for us was at 2-1 because you could feel a goal coming. We came through that really well, responding to get another two goals.

"At four you think it should be enough and thankfully it was.

"I think we deserved to win the game but it was tough. Big hearts were needed when a few of them were running on empty towards the end, and they got the job done."

Saints manager Tommy Wright saw a much-changed side make it eight games without a win but refused to allow their never-say-die spirit to cloud glaring errors which proved costly.

He said: "We only have ourselves to blame.

"The players know they can't make mistakes like that and win football matches. That is the bottom line.

"All four goals are horrendous from our point of view.

"The third was a calamity of errors. It was horrendous and it gave them a chance to get their tails up."