Aberdeen find form to preserve Premier status

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Dunfermline Athletic 1

Aberdeen 3

(Aberdeen win 6-2 on aggregate)

Joy unconfined for Aberdeen as the first-ever play-off resulted in a preservation of the status quo, with the Dons remaining in the Premier Division and Dunfermline left to languish another season in the First.

Over the two legs, Aberdeen were always too good for their oppponents and the relief that they had avoided the first relegation in their history produced carnival scenes. It will take the committed attitude of the players to be spread over a whole season and not just five games for Aberdeen to give their fans real success to cheer in the near future.

A full house at East End Park created an atmosphere reminiscent of the glory European nights of the 1960s for Dunfermline. Bert Paton, the Dunfermline manager, promised the Premier Division side a hot reception.

Although Paton's players were fired up they struggled to threaten Theo Snelders in the Aberdeen goal to any great degree. Gradually Aberdeen extended their influence on proceedings and it took two excellent saves from Guido van de Kamp to prevent Billy Dodds from scoring. He followed up with another block, this time from Brian Grant. Before the interval, simmering tensions boiled over with several players involved in a skirmish which elicited no action from the referee.

Aberdeen effectively sealed their place in the Premier Division for next season with a goal four minutes after the interval. Stephen Wright struck a perfect cross to the head of Billy Dodds who aimed his header for the bottom corner of the net to give the Dons a 4-1 aggregate lead.

On 65 minutes any lingering hopes Dunfermline may have harboured were finally dashed by a second Aberdeen goal. Brian Irvine found Duncan Shearer on the left and his low cross along the goalmouth was side-footed into the net at the back post by Joe Miller.

Dunfermline salvaged some pride in the 71st minute when Paul Smith chiipped the ball over Snelders but, with 10 minutes to go, Stephen Glass rounded the goalkeeper to add a third for Aberdeen.

Dunfermline Athletic (4-4-2): Van De Kamp; McNamara, Todd, McCathie, Fleming (Hawkins, 90); Bieman, Smith, Robertson, McCulloch (Shaw, 54); Moore, Petrie. Substitute not used: Westwater (gk).

Aberdeen (4-4-2): Snelders; Wright, Irvine (Inglis, 80), Smith, McKimmie; Hetherston, Grant, Glass, Miller (Kane, 76); Shearer, Dodds. Substitute not used: Watt (gk).

Referee: J McCluskie (Stewarton).