The Dons achieved their primary objec¬tive with two points to pass Rangers at the top of the league. For the Aberdeen supporters in the 16,000 crowd the lack of goals in the second half was frustrating, particularly after Aberdeen's outstanding display in the first half hour. The home side then proceeded to let Thistle "off the hook".
Sharp and incisive in their build-up, the Dons put the Thistle defence on the rack and were rewarded with two goals by Joe Harper in the 13th and 16th minutes - and the margin should have been wider. The promised goal feast, however, did not materialise and Thistle's dogged persistence saw Frame reduce the deficit in 27 minutes. Aberdeen could not re-establish their earlier midfield dominance after the interval and this allowed the visitors to emerge as a more dangerous, attacking combined unit as play became increasingly ragged. Although the Dons still held the edge in scoring potential, their earlier mastery had deserted them and the situation remained precariously tight until the final whistle.
Although Harper suffered from a lack of service after the interval he did a lot of useful work and he shared the individual honours with skipper Willie Miller, who was immense in the Pittodrie defence. On the debit side Bobby Clark and Steve Archibald suffered ankle injuries and the latter was replaced by Gordon Strachan.
As for the details of the game, Aberdeen came close to scoring in 4 minutes when Drew Jarvie sent Archibald through. Rough blocked his effort and Jarvie headed the rebound past the keeper only to find Whittaker heading the ball off the line. Then Harper had two attempts at goal, one going narrowly wide and the other being well saved by Rough. The Dons hit the goal trail with two strikes within 4 minutes. A John McMaster free kick broke to Dom Sullivan, whose cleverly flighted ball found both Jarvie and Harper in the clear. It looked as if the players might get in each other's way but Jarvie stepped back to give his team-mate a clear passage en-route to goal and the little striker needed no second invitation to send the ball past the stranded keeper.
Three minutes later the inevitable Harper struck again. This time Rough parried a McMaster shot following a Sullivan free kick but the ball broke across the face of the goal to Harper, who cut it back into the empty net. Thistle were always willing to push forward and they reduced the leeway with a well-executed goal. McAdam outjumped the Aberdeen defence to meet a Whittaker free kick and Frame followed up to blast the ball into the Aberdeen net just below the crossbar.
Instead of galvanising the Dons into action after this setback a strange lethargy seemed to descend over most of the team, particularly in the second half and Thistle began to look the more dangerous force, although the only real tests that Clark had were long range shots from Craig and Somner. Aberdeen had a strong claim for a penalty rejected in the latter stages of the game when Jarvie seemed to be fouled by Marr, but this incident was typical of a second half in which little went right for the Dons.