Stephen Glass praised his Aberdeen side for bouncing back from their disappointing Scottish Cup exit after they kept alive their hopes of finishing third in the Premiership.
With Hibernian losing to St Johnstone, Aberdeen are now just three points adrift of the Easter Road side ahead of the teams' meeting a week on Wednesday.
With the victory also confirming European qualification, Glass said: "We've kept it alive. We knew the score from Easter Road at half-time, so it gave us a carrot to dangle in front of the players – can we set up a massive game next Wednesday?
"We know what we need to do, we know what we want to set up for the final day of the season.
"I'm just delighted for the players, they got the reward for their work rate today, and a bounce back from what happened last weekend.
"The group knew what the performance was last week, we knew what it meant.
"We knew the opportunity missed.
"But we couldn't do anything about it, all we could do was focus on this game and we did that.
"I knew from training the reaction that was coming.
"And to be honest I have not been able to ask any more of the players since I came in, even with a poor performance against Dundee United.
"It wasn't to do with a lack of effort, to me it was to do with other things we talked about after the game as a group.
"Looking forward I am delighted with what is here."
But the Lions boss confessed his team had themselves to blame for the defeat.
He said: "We can't expect to give the opponent two goals of a start and take something from the game.
"We dominated large spells of the game but it was two poor goals from our point of view. Really poor, especially when it's something we work on to stop.
"But we came back into the game and scored a fantastic goal. We had another couple of chances that we should do better with.
"I need to watch what I'm saying. There was a blatant handball and there were three officials who were in very good positions to see it.
"The reaction of the players usually tells you as well. There were some big decisions in the game that went against us. There was more than one penalty that we should have got."