In this weeks RedMatchday Kevin Stirling looks back at the Pittodrie fire which happened 40 years ago to the very day.

One of the most significant events that affected Aberdeen FC in the 1970's was not winning the Scottish Cup or almost being relegated in 1976 but the extensive fire that swept through the Main Stand at Pittodrie in 1971. It was only by luck and the timing of the fire that nobody was hurt. It was during the early hours of Saturday 6th February that year when fire broke out underneath the Main Stand. The deserted ground was free from any staff or visitors.

Fireman wearing breathing apparatus saved the Scottish Cup as the blaze destroyed around a third of the Main Stand..... a substantial collection of club artefacts and memorabilia was virtually destroyed by the fire. Items that dated back to the club formation in 1903 were lost forever.....there was no doubt that the fire had ripped the very heart out of the club.

That day after the fire the Dons were due down to play Dunfermline at East End Park. Aberdeen were sitting proudly at the top of the table and were going head to head with Celtic for the title. The Dons had already beaten the Parkhead side in Glasgow and were favourites to win the league. But they went down 1-0 to Dunfermline, a team that was bottom of the 18-team division back then... the Dons narrowly lost the league that season. Many believe if it had not been for the fire the Dons would have won the league.

Feb 1971 - the day after the fire

It is quite a coincidence that the Dons 40 years to the day should be playing Dunfermline, in the Scottish Cup. Read more about the fire in this weeks RedMatchday Cup special. There are as ever all the usual features and articles from our columnists around the footballing world.