DUNFERMLINE recorded their first home win of the season with such aplomb that you wondered why they didn't do so a little earlier.

The Fife side finally gave their home supporters something to cheer about, not to mention breathe new life into their ambitions of surviving the SPL drop, with this at times laborious yet ultimately comfortable victory over a lacklustre Aberdeen side.

Who knows, the three points may yet have arrived in the nick of time. The relegation issue could have an extra twist this season due to the uncertainty over Rangers, but Dunfermline knew pre-match they were running out of games if they desired to save themselves by conventional methods. They ended the day having cut their arrears on Hibs to just three points, with three games remaining – including the trip to Easter Road on Monday 7.

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Just for good measure, strikes from the excellent Joe Cardle and a double from Andy Kirk made a significant dent in the goal difference. Hibs fans are already facing a nerve-racking cup final against their rivals, so the prospect of old nemesis Jim Jefferies bearing down on them was probably something they could have done without.

If the two poacher's goals from Kirk were the knockout blows, it was the opener from Cardle, whose younger brother Scott won his second pro boxing bout on Friday night, which was really responsible for the Fife side starting to haul themselves off the canvas. After an insipid first 45 minutes, we were only 12 minutes into the second period when Alex Keddie knocked a long ball over the top, and Cardle danced past auxiliary right back Josh Magennis to fire in ae low shot which squirmed beneath Jamie Langfield. Jefferies said he hoped he had planted a seed of doubt in the minds of Pat Fenlon's side ahead of a couple of days which see Hibs visit St Mirren today then Aberdeen in midweek, while Dunfermline travel to Inverness.

"It was all about the first goal, because it was the first time since I have come in that Dunfermline have led," Jefferies said. "I am not proud about it but at least we have broken the record and got a home win. They [Hibs] are still in the driving seat but we have hopefully given them something to think about and put them under a bit more pressure."

Already you feel next season cannot come quickly enough for Aberdeen. Craig Brown announced during the week that the likes of Darren Mackie, Rory McArdle and Youl Mawene were leaving the club, while Fraser Fyvie is interesting Fulham and Kari Arnason has yet to commit to a new deal. Falkirk's Farid El Alagui and Inverness CT's Jonny Hayes have been linked as possible summer replacements, while youngsters such as Cameron Smith can also be expected to figure next season.

Relegation jousts such as this usually have a grim desperation to them but for great spells this one was just grim. Despite an early scare when a Martin Hardie effort flew wide, in the main Aberdeen exerted a stranglehold on the first half without ever threatening to score.

All that was remotely worth writing about was Russell Anderson glancing a corner over the bar, a Fyvie free-kick which almost caught out Smith, and a Vernon flick from a corner which was cleared.

The half time announcer reminded everyone that this could be "the biggest 45 minutes of the season" and his words proved prescient. Not long after Cardle had opened the scoring, his accurate corner was being met by the forehead of Kirk at the near post for the second.

There already seemed to be no way back for Aberdeen by the time the malaise caught up with young Fyvie, whose back pass rolled straight into the path of Kirk, who steered a deflected drive into the corner.

While Brown blamed his side's "slipshod" defending, it was left to an ashen-faced captain Anderson to sum up the depth of disappointment. "It was an absolute shambles," he said.

"It just goes to show how big a job the manager is going to have in the summer. As soon as they scored the goal we just went to pieces. I think there is a malaise about the club, an acceptance.

"The supporters have been with us through thick and thin and we are going to probably wear their patience a bit thin now, but I know we have some good supporters that will be back next season. Whether we deserve that or not is another question."