With Jimmy Bonthrone having resigned, managerless Aberdeen struggled to win. They were to avoid relegation in the first season of the Premier League only on goal difference, Dundee and St Johnstone being the unhappy teams. Thanks to Billy Pirie Aberdeen won this vital game, which took them off bottom spot in the league.
George Murray was Aberdeen's caretaker manager as the Dons set out on their desperate quest for two points. Early indications were that Arthur Graham and Billy Pirie were linking well and both came near to scoring from the other's pass. A third sortie by these two produced a short pass back and almost a goal.
It was not all one way traffic and Bobby Clark had to look lively to save from Gordon Smith and Crammond. Aberdeen swung back to Robertson's goal and he saved well when Pirie had a good shot after a Drew Jarvie - Jocky Scott move. Although the Dons had the bulk of the pressure, the midfield players were losing possession too often. Even the full backs were attacking and twice Billy Williamson had shots blocked and Ian Hair had a shot saved.
Graham tried a header from 18 yards when he saw the keeper well off his line but his clever effort crept past. The Dons seemed to have the situation in hand but there was the continual worry that St Johnstone might sneak a goal. McDonald and Kinnell were defending stoutly and giving nothing away. On the interval whistle Jarvie did net but was given offside. It had been a frustrating half for the home side and their supporters.
There was no obvious change in the pattern of play on the resumption. A brilliant move involving Willie Miller and Scott ended with Graham's volley being well saved by Robertson. Williamson was repeatedly up with the attack and was twice stopped at the edge of the box, while two Scott crosses were wasted.
In 55 minutes, just when it seemed that the Dons would never score, they took the lead when Dave Robb, having a frustrating afternoon, managed to square the ball to Pirie and his low left foot shot crept in at the keeper's left-hand post. Relief showed on the players' faces but there was a long way to go. Saints did not take this reverse lying down and Lambie surged forward only to be baulked by Williamson. Scott was unlucky when his shot beat the keeper and was diverted by Sandy Smith. Aberdeen went further ahead in the 63rd minute and there was plenty of debate about the legality of the goal.
A great pass from Robb sent Graham away on the right but, when he crossed, the linesman flagged for offside against Pirie. Robertson did not seem to try very hard to stop the ball when Pirie hooked it over his head into the net. To the consternation of the Perth defence, the referee over-ruled the linesman and the goal stood. This controversial goal gave the Dons the boost they were needing and both Graham and Pirie missed chances when it seemed easier to score. Saints did have the ball in the net near the end but it was disallowed. Though an uninspiring game the Dons achieved the right result.