Aberdeen clinch third place to great acclaim: Graeme Shinnie's double, Rangers goals celebrated, horror tackle on Bojan Miovski

It hasn’t happened many times, if ever. No, not Graeme Shinnie scoring twice in the same game – though that’s rare enough. But a Rangers goal being celebrated by Aberdeen fans at Pittodrie.

The fact it was scored against Hearts is the most relevant detail and this handsome 3-0 Premiership victory over St Mirren, combined with the Tynecastle side – despite some late drama – dropping points at Ibrox, means Aberdeen can relish the guarantee of European football until Christmas providing Celtic lift the Scottish Cup.

Again, it will feel odd and possibly a little unpalatable to cheer the Parkhead team to glory against Inverness but the Pittodrie coffers will certainly feel the benefit if Ange Postecoglou’s men can secure a treble. All Aberdeen could concentrate on doing here was win – and they did, with some style, securing third place and a European spot in the process.

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St Mirren did not help themselves when they were reduced to ten men after 31 minutes after Thierry Small was red carded following a VAR check for a late and unnecessary challenge on Bojan Miovski, who was stretchered off.

Aberdeen have clinched third place with this emphatic win over St Mirren at Pittodrie.Aberdeen have clinched third place with this emphatic win over St Mirren at Pittodrie.
Aberdeen have clinched third place with this emphatic win over St Mirren at Pittodrie.

St Mirren’s approach in the opening stages suggested they weren't here to be anyone’s patsies. They had their own European hopes to try to maintain. They certainly seemed committed to bringing European football back to Paisley for the first time since 1987. Overly so at times.

Aggression cost them. Greg Kiltie’s barge into Jonny Hayes just outside the Aberdeen box might belong in the category of senseless as opposed to physically dangerous but it was certainly not in an area any of his teammates, least of his all his goalkeeper Trevor Carson, would have desired.

It always looked ripe for a right footer like Leighton Clarkson. The on-loan Liverpool player duly delivered a sumptuous effort that was aided in its flight by a ramshackle St Mirren wall. Carson vented his fury as the ball nestled in the net and Pittodrie erupted. The home fans were determined that the little matter of a Hearts goal in the opening minute at Ibrox was not going to ruin their night.

There was a brief possibility that their own team might put a dent in things. Aberdeen wobbled suddenly as former striker Curtis Main twice went close with headers. His first effort from Small’s cross was tipped over by Kelle Roos and from the resultant corner he flashed another header just past – Small with the assist again.

The latter’s evening did not last much longer. He was red carded just after the half hour mark after Don Robertson was invited to look again at the Miovski incident by VAR. The referee initially produced a yellow.

Aberdeen smelled blood and the returning Shinnie, finally free of a four-match suspension, took over, heading in shortly before half time after substitute Marley Watkins’ cross-cum-shot was deflected into the air by Carson.

And then, four minutes after the re-start, he rifled past Carson from 12 yards to give Aberdeen fans the comfort to spend the rest of the match singing odes to their club as such an extraordinary season of fluctuating emotions reached a momentous conclusion.