Football: Aitken leaves it late

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The Independent Online
ROY AITKEN, the former Celtic and Scotland captain, scored his first goal for Aberdeen yesterday - and it took his new club to the top of the Premier Division, writes Rupert Metcalf. With both Rangers and Dundee United losing their 100 per cent records, the Dons assumed pole position on goal difference after Aitken's 87th-minute winner at Falkirk.

Mixu Paatelainen, the Finnish international forward, made the goal with a perfect cross which gave the 33-year-old Aitken an easy header past Ian Westwater, the Bairns' goalkeeper who had previously frustrated Aberdeen with a series of fine saves.

Dundee United failed to overcome 10 men at Tannadice, Hearts holding on for a 1-1 draw after Ally Mauchlen, their former Leicester midfielder, was shown the red card in the 75th minute for his second caution. Four minutes earlier, Craig Levein had equalised with a header from a Scott Crabbe cross. Duncan Ferguson, also with a header, had given United the lead in the 14th minute, courtesy of a mistake by Graeme Hogg. Henry Smith, the Hearts goalkeeper, kept his side in the game with several good saves before Levein's leveller.

Trevor Steven made his first appearance of the season for Rangers at Easter Road, but the skills of the England international were not enough to break down a dogged Hibernian side, who earned a deserved point from a 0-0 draw. They would have had two if Andy Goram had not pulled off a tremendous save to deny Pat McGinlay in the last minute. Rangers' Richard Gough, John Brown and Dale Gordon were all booked for bad fouls, as was Dave Beaumont of the home side.