The pre-season title favourites’ prospects brightened considerably after a 2-0 win at Queen of the South on an afternoon when the two teams above them – Arbroath and Inverness – both dropped points.
Kilmarnock can now return to the top of the Championship with a win over Partick Thistle in this Friday's televised game.
Although it is the next match, McInnes, who saw a close-range effort from skipper Chris Stokes and disputed penalty from Oli Shaw earn his side the points, was not ready to look that far ahead after an emotional return to the dugout.
"I've enjoyed the few days I've had although I've only had two full days with the players,” he said. “I've been really pleased with the response I've had and I thought the performance was terrific.
"I saw a lot of what we were looking for – twin-striker play, movement and plenty of crosses into the box. We were just guilty of not putting the ball in the net which brought a sense of frustration in the first half.
"It was good to wake up this morning having that feeling of game day again. Three o'clock on a Saturday is still the best time of the week.
"It was good to see the boys and start with three points. We played cup football and that's what we've got to do with 16 games left. You see how the league can change in terms of results and there are a few surprises every week.
"We just have to try to focus on ourselves. We can control what happens to us.
"It's important the players recognise that and take responsibility. If we can take care of our business and be as good as we can be, we'll be there or thereabouts.”
Opposite number Allan Johnston accepted the visitors were the better team but he was incandescent about the penalty decision by referee Colin Steven after 70 minutes and with Queens still very much in the contest.
“Roberto (Nditi) has pulled him, so it is a free-kick. But it’s never a penalty in a million years. He’s pulled him outside the box.
“That’s two weeks in a row the referees have given shocking decisions. It’s us that get punished and lose the three points. It changes the game and the second goal kills the game.”