Today marks 35 years since Aberdeen all-but-secured their last Premier Division title, coming back to draw 1-1 with nearest rivals Celtic.
The 1984/85 Dons remain the last team outside of the Hoops and Rangers, on the other side of Glasgow, to win the Scottish top-flight.
It was a season Alex Ferguson’s reigning champions went into with big questions – three of the Gothenburg Greats had left, Gordon Strachan, Mark McGhee and Doug Rougvie, in the summer and had to be replaced – however, they won their opening five league games.
This fast start, although punctuated by a league cup exit, and then followed by a European Cup defeat to Dynamo Berlin and 2-1 loss to Celtic at Parkhead, set the tone for a magnificent title defence, which was completed, bar the formalities, on April 27, 1985, when Willie Miller’s goal secured a point in front of the Granite City faithful.
Here are five of the best wins from the campaign:
Dundee United 0 – Aberdeen 2 (25/08/1984)
On the way to five wins from their first five league games – a record which stood until Aberdeen won their first eight in season 2015/16 – the Dons had to travel to New Firm rivals Dundee United, who were not too far past their early 1980s best.
Despite a 3-1 League Cup defeat to lower league Airdrie in the game prior, Fergie’s Reds produced a morale-boosting display, with Eric Black scoring a 13th-minute penalty before adding another late on.
Rangers 1 – Aberdeen 2 (17/11/84)
Two games after losing their opening joust with Celtic in Glasgow (and remaining top regardless), the Dons began an eight-game league winning run. First they won 2-1 at Dens Park, before dismantling St Mirren 4-0 at Pittodrie.
New star striker Frank McDougall would net two on his way to a season’s tally of 24, while another future legend and new boy, midfielder Billy Stark, himself a former St Mirren player under Fergie, also netted.
However, most enjoyable in this run – alongside a 4-2 win at Pittodrie against Celtic – was the 2-1 at Ibrox.
And again, it was McDougall and Stark who scored for the Reds.
Aberdeen 4 – Celtic 2 (8/12/84)
The Dons ensured they were top at Christmas with this magnificent, back and forth win over their title rivals.
Eric Black headed the opener (no surprise there), before Stewart McKimmie got in on the act with a 30-yard deflected drive. While Mo Johnston pulled one back with a penalty after the break, Black scored another header to restore the Dons’ two-goal cushion.
Willie Miller’s most-hated foe Frank McGarvey would score his own headed goal with little more than five minutes remaining, but soon after McDougall got himself on the scoresheet with yet another header.
Willie Miller described the rebuilding required in the summer of 1984 before Aberdeen defended the top-flight crown, as well as Frank McGarvey, in our readers’ Q&A, which you can watch here:
Aberdeen 5 – Rangers 1 (19/01/85)
The Reds failed to win in four outings at the turn of the year, before finding another run of league wins, which put them into a near-unassailable eight-point lead, including this brilliant result.
Both McKimmie and Rangers’ Ally Dawson were sent off after McDougall had put the home side 2-0 up.
In the second half, Black lashed home, before McDougall finished his hat-trick and Tommy McQueen completed the rout – after Swede Robert Prytz’s consolation goal – from the spot.
Hibernian 0 – Aberdeen 5 (23/03/1985)
Before Celtic were knocked out of the title fight by Miller’s famous header to make it 1-1 at Pittodrie on April 27, 1985, there were plenty more wins and an abundance of Dons goals.
In fact, between a 2-0 loss away to the Hoops and that historic day at Pittodrie, they won six league games on the spin, including another good day out at Ibrox (2-1 win).
Most impressive, in those six matches, is that Fergie’s Dons scored four goals three times, three goals once and five goals once, with the latter a victory in Edinburgh.
There was another McQueen penalty, a goal from John Hewitt and three of Eric Black’s 20 in 35 across all competitions for 1984/85 as the home side – who would go to finish eighth in the Premier Division – were put to the sword.