Football: First goal for Aberdeen fails to secure points

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The Independent Online
IT WAS a weekend for being gracious in victory, as Paul Sturrock and Bobby Williamson, the managers of Dundee United and Kilmarnock, both dispensed sympathy to their Scottish Premier League counterparts in a bid to soften the blow of defeat for Aberdeen and Hibernian.

Sturrock was perhaps the most relieved of the pair as he escaped from Pittodrie on Saturday with all three points when Billy Dodds sealed a 2-1 victory. That may have been Aberdeen's seventh successive defeat but for the first time this season, the Dons played liked a team which possessed some pride and Sturrock suggested that it will only be a matter of time before they take out their frustration on someone, though thankfully not his team.

"Aberdeen will feel aggrieved because they played well," he said. "If they keep up that kind of performance, they will start to win games soon and I don't think it will be long before they turn the corner."

That view was shared by Ebbe Skovdahl, Aberdeen's beleaguered manager, who insisted that this match - which saw Andy Dow finally break the bottom- team's goal duck with a stunning 50th-minute free kick - was unlike the insipid displays which have gone before.

"I would like to believe that will be the turning point," said the Dane, despite staying at the bottom with no points. "We spoke all week about what was missing and the most obvious thing was fight. I think we rediscovered that.

"I could not criticise my players and I think we deserved more from the game than we got. I was sad for my players, but if they can perform like that from now on, our luck will change."

Kilmarnock, who had only scored three league goals all season, doubled their total as they won 3-0 away to Hibs yesterday as goals from Mark Reilly, Michael Jeffrey and Ally McCoist moved them away from the bottom and restored the morale dented by Kaiserslautern in their Uefa Cup thrashing on Thursday.

Once Reilly scored in the 12th minute with a deft lob, Kilmarnock grew in stature but it took Jeffrey's 82nd-minute strike, his first goal for the club, and then McCoist's penalty to subdue Hibs, who were jeered off by the Easter Road crowd.

"I cannot understand how fans can boo their own players," said Williamson. "Hibs played well and tried to pass the ball about but their fans didn't appreciate that, which is sad."

St Johnstone recovered from their Uefa Cup mauling by Monaco to win 2- 1 at Dens Park against Dundee yesterday. Michael Yates gave the home side an early lead but two goals in three minutes from Nathan Lowndes (79 and 82) moved the Perth club into fourth place.

"The win was a just reward for working hard," Lowndes said. "It really has been a tough week for the club."

Jocky Scott, the Dundee manager, was less happy. "We defended badly in the second half and when we did manage to get forward we did not appear to have a clue as to what we were doing," he said.

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