Pitch battles again at Pittodrie

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The mutual antipathy between Aberdeen and Rangers spilled over yet again at Pittodrie as players were involved in a mass brawl and then police had to prevent a fan attacking visiting player Fernando Ricksen.

The champions emerged with a 3-2 victory to open the Scottish Premier League season with two wins, but the ill-discipline on and off the pitch added another unsavoury chapter to a rivalry that has festered into hatred.

Two years ago, riot police had to intervene when missiles were thrown at Aber-deen player Robbie Winters and home fans then invaded the pitch to fight Rangers fans. Only prompt action yesterday prevented Ricksen being targeted by an Aber-deen fan who raced on after Michael Mols' decisive 58th- minute shot had given Rangers a 3-1 lead.

Ricksen has been public enemy number one in Aber-deen ever since he boasted on his website about "sorting out" an Aberdeen player, which later earned the Dutch international a heavy fine from the Scottish FA.

Aberdeen failed to seize the initiative after David Zdrilic put them ahead on 23 minutes. Rangers equalised when Ronald de Boer pounced after Michael Ball's free-kick had come back off the bar, and then Mikel Arteta made it 2-1 just before half-time. Eric Deloumeaux bundled in a further response for Aber-deen in stoppage time.

Barry Ferguson - subject of a midweek inquiry from Blackburn Rovers - cut a less influential figure than usual, though Rangers' manager, Alex McLeish, said: "Until such time as something happens, Barry has to show professionalism, but he played a captain's role today."

Another man who could be heading to England, Kris Boyd, secured a 2-1 victory for Kilmarnock at home to Partick Thistle. The teenage striker returned to Rugby Park after a week on trial at Wolves, and enhanced his chances of a transfer with a stunning 60th-minute volley that took the points. Partick played for an hour with just 10 men after David Lilley was sent off, and went ahead through James Grady before Martin Hardie equalised against the club he left in the close season after the interval.

Livingston's Brazilian manager savoured his home "debut" with a 1-0 win over Motherwell at Almondvale, with another debutant, striker Derek Lilley, coming off the bench and finishing off a cross from Fernando Pasquinelli.

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