Dunfermline Athletic

1995: Aberdeen 3 Dunfermline 1

Memorable Match #63
Bells Premier Division Play-off, 1st Leg,
Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Sunday 21st May 1995

Dunfermline Athletic played their part in the history of Scottish football as participants in this the first ever play-off match in Scotland. Having finished second in the First Division the Pars earned the right to play the SPL’s ninth placed team, Aberdeen.

The rules stipulated that the Premier side be at home for the first leg the Aberdeen supporters considered the hard part had been done in beating Dundee United. That had been the one that mattered. The atmosphere for the visit of Dunfermline was in consequence perceptibly less tense, almost as if safety was a foregone conclusion.

Bert Paton’s Dunfermline had lost only four league games all season - the fewest in any Scottish division - and the most recent of those had been back in January. They had missed automatic promotion by just one point and Stewart Petrie and Hamish French had scored 26 league goals between them.

It was Stephen Wright’s 200th match for Aberdeen, the day after his the 24 year old’s wedding. Former Raith player Peter Heatherston returned from suspension and a 23 year old Scott Thomson lined up in attack for the Dons.

The stadium was packed and the atmosphere really good as both sets of fans made their presence known. The Dons kicked off attacking the beach end and Norrie McCathie scooped the away the first threat from Thomson as he ran on to a Duncan Shearer flick on.

Allan Moore sent the Pars first effort over the bar after Andy Tod had headed a Paul Smith free kick back across the Dons box. Van der Kamp palmed away a neat Thomson effort after he had got the better of Derek Fleming out on the right.

The lower league side gave a good account of themselves, enjoyed good spells of possession and their fight demonstrated to Roy Aitken and his side that they were in a contest.

Aberdeen had been kept quiet but five minutes from the interval a clumsy Smith foul on Grant handed the home side a chance from a free kick 25 yards out. Despite the four man wall Stephen Glass`s free-kick eluding it and the keeper at his near post. 1-0

Petrie’s left footed shot brought a classy save out of the Dutch international keeper, Snelders before the half time whistle came. At the other end Van der Kamp got away with a bit of indecision that Brian Irvine could not take advantage of.

The First Division side had made it difficult for Aberdeen, they had created few opportunities but the goal changed things.

Half time: Aberdeen 1 Dunfermline 0

In just the fourth minute of the second half the Fifers were back in the match with a former Don doing his ex club no favours by heading Dunfermline level. Wright conceded a corner on the left that was quickly taken from Smith to Moore and the delivery was met by Craig ROBERTSON. 1-1

At that point, the Dons looked a bit ragged and their survival seemed far from assured. Seven minutes later however from just seven yards out SHEARER headed in McKimmie`s return, and three minutes from time added a ferocious volley to make it 3-1.

What no Dunfermline fan who was at this play off will ever forget is the 62nd minute tackle, right in front of them, on Allan Moore as he drove into the Aberdeen box. Running on to a long ball from Robertson, the Pars player was clearly taken down by McKimmie. Replays would prove that no decision by referee Mottram was in the controversial category.

The two goal deficit proved too much when the second leg came around the following Thursday night at East End Park. The Dons kept it tight and Billy Dodds increased their advantage four minutes into the second half. Joe Miller made it 2-0 before Paul Smith got one back in 72 minutes but Stephen Glass polished off another 3-1 win with a strike ten minutes from time.

ABERDEEN: Theo Snelders: Stephen Wright, Stewart McKimmie (c), Brian Irvine, Gary Smith: Brian Grant, Peter Heatherston, Stephen Glass, Joe Miller: Duncan Shearer, Scott Thomson.
SCORERS: Glass (39), Shearer (56, 87)
YELLOW CARD: Irvine (32), McKimmie (56)

DUNFERMLINE: Guido van de Kamp: Ivo den Bieman, Norrie McCathie, Craig Robertson, Andy Tod, Derek Fleming: Jackie McNamara, Paul Smith, Mark McCulloch (Andy Hawkins): Allan Moore (Greg Shaw), Stewart Petrie.
SCORER: Robertson (49)
YELLOW CARDS: Tod (11), Moore (32)

REFEREE: Les Mottram

- - Aberdeen manager Roy Aitken post match

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