Dodds at the double for Dons

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BWith two Saturdays remaining the Premier Division has produced one of the most dramatic finales in its 20-year history, which threatens to rob it of at least one of its most influential clubs.

Aberdeen and Dundee United, whose exploits at home and abroad in the 1980s led to them being called the New Firm, will meet at Pittodrie next week knowing that the loser is almost certain to be relegated while the other will contest the play-off position with Partick Thistle. It is a sad denouement for two clubs who have contested European finals in the past 15 years.

Aberdeen, who have never been relegated, gained themselves a lifeline when two Billy Dodds goals earned them three points against Hearts to take them to within a point of United, who lost to a last-minute goal against Hibernian at Tannadice. Third-bottom Partick hold a three-point lead over Aberdeen after drawing 0-0 with Kilmarnock.

Motherwell continued their quest for a European place with a stirring 2-0 win at Ibrox while Celtic won 2-1 at Falkirk to further their own aims in that direction - possibly without the services of the 33-year- old Charlie Nicholas, who could be on his way out of Celtic Park after a memorable career at the club.

In the battle for promotion, Raith Rovers went three points clear of Dunfermline, thanks to a last-minute winner by Steve Crawford against St Johnstone.