Date: 29th April 2007 at 1:05pm
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Straight from the start this match was all about proving that the Dons had the desire and ability to clear the final hurdles and claim the last European place that they have been chasing all season.

Whilst the second Champions League spot was within their grasp, Aberdeen`s hopes to qualify for that tournament effectively ended with the departure of Paul LeGuen and the arrival of Walter Smith who has taken his team on a very consistent run and won matches Rangers would surely have lost under the now PSG coach.

The Dons had been floundering of late and losing cheap goals, a combination of perhaps tiredness, nerves as the season`s goal comes closer and the necessity to change personnel but with a near to fully fit squad to choose from, Jimmy Calderwood reinstated a couple of boys who have been benched in the last few months.

He brought in Zander Diamond for last weeks fall guy Andrew Considine and Craig Brewster was sidelined for Lee Miller who last scored on the 25th of November last year (and that might possibly include training matches).

Killie had put all their energies into trying to prevent having to host Celtic`s title party last week and were a last minute free kick goal away from achieving that aim. Their appearance beyond that match in the top six is fundamentally meaningless and it showed, with only those touted as interesting other clubs putting in the hard graft for the away side.

Aberdeen came out with business heads on and went about their task straight from the off. The fifty fifty balls were being won and everything in the air was challenged with power and authority.

Calderwood`s 4-4-2 remained rigid throughout, Foster and Smith being the designated wingers and entrusted with the job of slinging balls into the 18 yard tombola.

It was a charge by Chris Clark into the box that was to bring the first goal however as he moved in unchallenged until Momo Sylla started to track him and they both went down clumsily under Sylla`s misjudged attempt at defending, leaving just a tangled mess of legs but the Dons with a penalty.

Darren Mackie did not even consider stepping up after his poor effort from the spot last week and had Barry Nicholson taken that effort, perhaps the Dons would already have secured their dream of European football for next season.

He slotted past Combe with ease, the ‘keeper moving too early and Barry placing the ball to his other side. The Dons ahead after just seven minut

Killie had a decent shout for an Anderson last gasp tackle which they saw as a foul and would probably have resulted in Russell walking but John Underhill let play continue and the Dons played out the half in almost total control as they looked far the hungrier side and obviously the team with something important to play for.

Lee Miller nearly broke his 2007 scoring duck when he got his bizarre barnet onto a Nicholson cross but watched as his effort was pushed onto the post and trickle out for a corner.

Aberdeen`s captain Anderson nearly secured the points just before half time but the defiant Killie defence cleared off the line although this would prove to be only a short stay of execution.

The Dons started the second half where they left off and got their second goal just four minutes into the new half.

Ricky Foster had been a pest all afternoon and he fired a dangerous ball into the Killie area from the left wing which was met by Jamie Smith at the back post who squared across goal for Lee Miller to stroke into the net from 6 yards before running to salute the fans in the Richard Donald Stand.

It was only Miller`s fourth of the season but he had a decent match and won more than his fair share of headers although his bravery and power are still up for questioning.

Aberdeen continued to threaten but at 2-0 the match was won and the Killie players knew it. Their biggest hopes for a goal came when the ball was passed back to Jamie Langfield and his seriously dodgy kicking skills which always give Dons fans cold sweats.

It wasn`t to be one of Jamie`s errors that this match will be remembered by for a change though; his opposite number pulled off one of the greatest blunders probably ever seen at a match and will be no doubt replayed for years to come.

Poor Alan Combe, he had a shocking CIS Cup Final but his career won`t get any worse that this today. After saving a decent Nicholson drive, he stood up and scanned for a stripy shirt to pass to and after picking his target he slung the ball towards him but only succeeded in finding the back of Darren Mackie`s head which rebounded the ball in to his own net from twelve yards.

The Dons fans were in their element and the comedic way the goal transpired almost shut the travelling Killie fans up for a minute as they had been making an incessant noise about nothing all day.

Their urge to try and get a rise from the Dons fans resulted in one or two being ejected and no doubt the young fellow who saw fit to make a “Nescafe bean-shaking” movement” at the Dons fans will have prolonged his stay in Aberdeen by the Grampian Police.

Darren Mackie had another chance to score but perhaps proved that the back of his head is better than his front as his effort ended up unthreateningly floating across the goal and Combe redeemed himself a little by saving a net bound Diamond header.

It was left to Jamie Langfield to wrap up the points and a confidence boosting clean sheet as he pulled off a brilliant save from the largely anonymous Stevie Naismith to see the Dons take a seven point advantage over Hearts before their match today with Celtic.

The two teams meet next week and it`s all within Aberdeen`s hands. The strike line looked good in this game; they worked hard and caused problems. Smith and Foster found room and created quality chances from the wings and Nicholson also added much needed creativity.

It was Aberdeen`s back line that proved to be their major concern as relations between defenders and goalkeeper do not seem to be in unison and caused confusion at times. More vocal communication would help and although no goals were conceded in this match, a new ‘keeper is needed longterm.

A great three points for Aberdeen and a return to hunger, belief and passing football, which at this point in the season, is a lot more than many fans of other clubs are witnessing including those with a penchant for squirrels.

A delighted Calderwood spoke of the importance of the victory, ‘This was a massive result for us and it doesn’t matter what happens at Celtic Park tomorrow, we are only one win away from Europe.

Today it was just a matter of getting the victory.’

We have let the supporters down in recent weeks and it was so important to win heading into the match at Tynecastle,’ he said.

I think we deserved to win the game and getting a quick goal at the start of the second half eased things for us because then we were quite comfortable, defended well and always looked dangerous.

We have given a few presents away in recent weeks, but we always have the players capable of scoring goals for us, so keeping a clean sheet was vital.’