Tomorrow - April 27 - marks the 50th anniversary of Dunfermline's 1968 Scottish Cup win. In this article - exclusive to Pars Review - are the memories of the Cup Final from a fan who was at Hampden that day and who was a regular at East End Park throughout the 1960s and beyond. I would like to thank Sammer for writing this article for Pars Review. You can read more of his Pars memories in the "Throwback" archive section on this page.
Winning the Scottish Cup in 1968 was a far less dramatic occasion than the previous two finals the Pars had contested. Our 1961 victory over Celtic was not only one of the greatest shocks in the history of the competition, but it established DAFC as a force in Scottish football, as well as launching the career of manager Jock Stein. Our defeat in 1965 was a gripping five goal final which concluded with a late winner and is generally viewed by Celtic supporters as the genesis of the Lisbon Lions. Both these matches threw up iconic photos: the flapping white raincoat of an overjoyed Stein on that murky April night in 1961 as Connachan is chaired from the field; the towering header by McNeill in 1965 as Herriott paws thin air.
The problem in 1968 was that both Dunfermline and Hearts had slain the Old Firm giants in earlier rounds, rendering the march to the final something of an anti-climax. Our 2-0 victory at Parkhead, thoroughly deserved on the day, still stands as one of the greatest performances in the history of the club. Likewise Hearts fans, even 50 years later, still fondly recall Donald Ford’s late replay winner at a packed Tynecastle, a goal which inflicted Rangers’ first defeat under manager Davie White. So, with no Old Firm team in the final, media interest was muted. There were even sneering comments about the paltry crowd which the teams would attract, although the near 57,000 who turned out would now be considered the norm for a Scottish final. That was no thanks to the marketing skills of the SFA who quite merrily arranged the Cup Final for the same day as the last round of league games, which included Rangers playing before 45,000 at Ibrox and still in with a chance of taking the title from Celtic.
Neither Dunfermline nor Hearts had shown much form in the competition outside of their two famous victories over the Old Firm. Hearts had been 4-2 down on a frosty pitch at Tannadice before rallying to win a bizarre match 6-5. Dunfermline had needed late goals to see off Aberdeen and Partick Thistle while only a terrible goalkeeping blunder had allowed us to survive the first semi-final at Tynecastle against St. Johnstone. We were being outplayed in the replay too until a late Bert Paton shot, which every Pars fan thought was going wide, salvaged extra time. Hearts were equally unconvincing in their semi-final, beating a moderate Morton side at the second time of asking in front of a measly Hampden crowd. The first half of the 1968 Scottish Cup Final continued in the same vein. Played under a lowering Glasgow sky, it is hard to remember anything from the opening 45 minutes, for play was hurried and nervous.
The second half told a different story however. Manager Farm abandoned his default 4-3-3 formation and his wingers now hugged the touchline to telling effect. Lister, switched to the left, was a revelation, his sharp, darting runs stretching the Hearts defence. Edwards started to pull the Hearts rearguard out of shape with his intelligent distribution and cross field passes. A trademark Tommy Callaghan run from inside his own half allowed Paton to test Cruickshank and with Hearts now on the backfoot a goal was clearly coming. When it did come the finish was spectacular, a left foot volley from Gardner smashed over the goalkeeper high into the net. A second goal followed soon after when a crafty Robertson lob sent Paton through one-on-one with Cruickshank. Paton’s style was always unhurried so he walked, rather than ran, round the keeper before being hauled down. Lister dispatched a textbook penalty and the Scottish Cup was really won there and then.
A drunk fan nearby, his beer bottle clanking against a crush barrier, was serenading Roy Barry to the tune of The Mighty Quinn. Slurred and unmelodic as it was, his song captured the inspiration which a captain like Barry could spread onto the terraces. Not even Lunn’s own goal, spectacular in its own way, really convinced the Hearts supporters in the vicinity that they could turn the game around. Half this Dunfermline side had played in a Hampden final before, as well as in the later stages of European competitions, so in the words of Hearts captain and ex-Par George Miller they were ‘seasoned campaigners.’
Gardner produced a final flourish. His ‘dummy and peel’ routine with Paton had borne little fruit over the season but here it set up a raging right foot shot which simply exploded into the roof of the net. The ball had clipped Cruickshank’s shoulder and was captured on camera as it hit the netting, bulging above the level of the crossbar. It is unlikely that any player has ever hit two more powerful scoring shots in the history of Scottish Cup Finals, yet due to the low profile of this game Gardner’s rockets are scarcely remembered. Alfie Conn’s volley in 1956 is still part of football folklore, as is Archie Robertson’s goal direct from a corner the year before, along with Kai Johanson’s shot in 1966 and a few others since. However, context is all. It’s not enough to score winning goals in a Scottish Cup Final, you have to do it against either Celtic or Rangers. Even amongst Pars fans, Charlie Dickson’s two yard tapin following a Frank Haffey fumble probably holds a more secure place in our memory vaults.
Come full time we waited for the cup to be paraded, vaguely aware of the shoving match involving Bent Martin, Roy Barry and a senior member of the Glasgow constabulary. There was anger as we realized there was to be no lap of honour, an SFA directive in response to Old Firm trouble a few years earlier. None of the departing Hearts fans I saw grudged us our victory, disappointed though they were. As an exercise in how to make a special occasion downbeat, the SFA were in a class of their own. You had the feeling that if they could have found a wet blanket big enough they would have enveloped the whole stadium with it.
There was a greater sense of theatre four days later when Celtic supporters flooded Dunfermline town to honour their team as League champions for the third year in succession, Rangers having faltered on the Saturday. Which was just as well, for had that Wednesday game been a league decider then the crowd would have been even bigger and the mood different from the carnival atmosphere which prevailed on the night. Manager Farm had cannily printed replay tickets for our earlier Cup clash at Parkhead, and although they were not needed his move was hailed for its foresight. Maybe he should have held on to them. This game, played on 30th April was pay at the gate, or not as the case turned out, when a turnstile was broken down by sheer weight of numbers. Officially East End Park held 25,000. This evening nearer 30,000 gained entry, with the game having to be stopped twice and at least one crush barrier ripped out of its concrete moorings. One supporter died, falling from the roof of the Town End enclosure which was eventually cleared by police, themselves standing vigil there for the rest of the match.
So, within the space of four days I had seen my home team win the Scottish Cup at Hampden Park and been part of the biggest crowd ever to wedge inside East End Park. These were great days and with the arrogance of youth I assumed that Cup Finals, European nights and victories over the Old Firm would be a fairly regular feature of life as a supporter of DAFC. All that was half a century ago this week. The past is a different country. They do things differently there.
Dunfermline's game against Livingston this weekend has been postponed due to the weather. Today's Throwback feature looks at a game between the clubs from ten years ago, when they were once again in the same division as today, known then as the First Division. Here is what happened on a Tuesday evening at East End Park in late December 2008.
DUNFERMLINE 1, LIVINGSTON 0
SCOTTISH FIRST DIVISION
TUESDAY 30 DECEMBER 2008
This was Dunfermline's second season in the First Division after relegation from the Premier League in 2006/07. The previous season, they had been favourites to win the division but after a disastrous start to the season, manager Stephen Kenny was sacked and veteran striker Jim McIntyre named as caretaker manager, a position that was later made permanent.
McIntyre's first full season as Pars boss began well. In the League Cup, they defeated Premier League St Mirren to progress to the quarter finals of the competition. McIntyre was named First Division Manager of the Month for September 2008. However, as autumn moved into early winter, Dunfermline's form declined, with 3 defeats in the League in November. A 4-4 home draw with Clyde on 20 December was followed by the postponement of the originally scheduled game against Livingston on 27 December. It was quickly rearranged and played in front of a crowd of 3036 at East End Park the day before Hogmanay 2008.
McIntyre made 4 changes to the team that had played against Clyde 10 days earlier. Scott Thomson missed out through illness, while Rory Loy, Alex Burke and Austin McCann dropped to the subs bench. They were replaced by Scott Wilson, Scott Muirhead, Kevin Harper and Steven Bell.
The first chance of the game fell to Pars striker Graham Bayne in the 15th minute. A poor clearance from Livi keeper Roddy McKenzie (a former Pars keeper) found Bayne, but he miskicked when the goal was gaping and the chance was lost. Livi gradually came into the game and almost scored when Calum Elliot's shot hit the bar just before half time.
Dunfermline started the second half as the stronger side. Steven Bell saw a header narrowly miss; Bayne had a good effort tipped over by McKenzie; and then Pars sub Rory Loy claimed that his goal-bound shot had been deflected wide by the hand of Livi's Gary Miller - referee Alan Muir ignored the appeals.
A minute after that controversy, the game's only goal came from an unlikely source. Greg Shields, such a great player for Dunfermline in his 2 spells with the club, headed home a Stephen Glass corner in the 65th minute. The Livi defence tried in vain to stop the ball crossing the line but the goal was awarded.
McKenzie then saved well from a Loy shot, before Pars keeper Paul Gallacher was required to make a couple of late stops from Rocco Quinn and Joe Hammill. The Livi side included current Pars defender Jason Talbot and Celtic and Scotland striker Leigh Griffiths.
Unfortunately, this win failed to mark the start of a promotion push in the second half of the season. Only 1 of the following 8 League games resulted in a Pars victory, and although results improved in the final weeks of the campaign (just 1 defeat in the last 8 games), it was not enough for McIntyre's Pars to finish higher than third, 14 points behind Champions St Johnstone. There were no play-offs that season - only the Champions were promoted.
For Livingston, they ended the season in seventh place, seemingly safe from the drop. After the season ended, they went into administration and as a punishment were demoted 2 divisions, starting the following season in the Third Division. This was their second period in administration (the first being 4 years earlier) so the penalty was increased.
Pars line-up v Livi:
2 years ago today: Dunfermline defeat Stenhousemuir 3-0 at Ochilview. Andy Geggan scored twice. One of his goals was captured by Pars Review and can be seen by clicking the link below, which takes you to the video on our Twitter page. Faissal El Bakhtaoui got the other Pars goal.
Pars team that day: Murdoch, Reid, Talbot, McKay, Richards-Everton, Geggan, Paton, Falkingham, Moffat, El Bakhtaoui, Cardle.
It has been a pleasure to have had long-time Pars fan, Sammer, as guest writer on Throwback for the past 6 weeks, during which he gave his own first-hand account of games he attended from the period 1964 to 1973. Here, in his final article, he looks back on a Pars v Dundee United game from December 1973.
Dateline: 22nd December, 1973
Match: Dunfermline 2, Dundee United 3
Charts: Merry Xmas Everyone
This was one of these Dark Days of the 1970s The Tories like to frighten voters with in their
Party Political Broadcasts. The match, played on a murky, winter afternoon kicked off at 2pm since use of floodlights was being restricted during the run-up to the Three Day Week.
The miners were about to go on official strike. People were stocking up on candles in case of
power cuts. With a sharp wind howling towards the Halbeath End, on a pitch made sodden
with torrential rain, this had all the ingredients for a miserable day out.
Forget the propaganda- this was a Xmas cracker. Before kick-off, Slade’s Xmas anthem blared out from the tannoy, its stomping, defiant beat a reminder of our pagan duty to eat, get drunk and be merry whatever else, and both supporters and teams joined in the spirit.
Dundee United were a well-liked team since their emergence in the early 1960s, played decent football and were capable of beating anyone on their day. Under Jim McLean, a manager whose face was as dreich as the weather, the team had developed a more serious approach but the Tannadice supporters retained a gift for self-mockery:
We’re up to our knees in tangerine blood
Surrender or we’ll cry
Dundee United lined up with: McAlpine, Rolland, Kopel, Copland, D.Smith, W.Smith, Payne, Knox, Gray, Fleming, Traynor.
Both sides settled early to play attractive football. Dunfermline had the gale force wind first
half and were a side who liked to hit the strikers early. If left back Jim Wallace was a trifle
ponderous in defence, he could move play 40 yards downfield with one mighty strike of his left boot; his main problem today was trying not to overshoot strikers Mackie and Shaw. With Campbell and Scott energetic in midfield Pars pressed their wind advantage and Shaw used his height to open the scoring from an in-swinging Sinclair corner. Captain Kinninmonth was an experienced midfield general who had netted a belting volley against Rangers, Leishman looked willing, while new keeper Karlsen seemed to fill the goal. When Mackie received a pass on the left side of the box he used the wind beautifully to bend a shot high and wide of McAlpine into the far corner. Mackie was a penalty box predator and had forged a good partnership with the bounding, loping Shaw who enjoyed taking the ball past defenders.
That corner for Shaw’s opener had come from a backward pass from Graeme Payne and was
possibly the only negative move Dundee United had made all of the first half, their quick, short passing game highly effective against the strong wind. Payne at the time was considered a better prospect than Gordon Strachan as a right sided midfield winger, catching the eye with his intelligent use of the ball. The other teenager, striker Andy Gary, pulled back a goal on the half time whistle when he got his head to a weak cross from the left and somehow squeezed the ball home at the near post. 2-1 to the Pars.
The second half was more a procession than a contest. Keeping the ball on the ground, United out-passed the Pars to such an extent that the match was played almost entirely in Dunfermline’s half. There were a host of experienced professionals in this Dundee United side and they knew how to play to the conditions. Doug and Walter Smith, Jackie Copland and Archie Knox, realising that Wallace’s long flighted balls would be redundant against such a strong wind, compressed the play with the result that the few Pars attacks which materialised were ruled offside. Fleming and Traynor, two ex-Hearts signings, were a
revelation as they swapped passes at will down the left flank, completely bamboozling
Thomson and Leishman who looked like men in search of a white flag. United’s fluorescent
tangerine strip was very progressive for the time and might have helped in the gathering
gloom, although in all seriousness this was a well-drilled team who looked like they could
have found each other wearing sunglasses in the dark.
Fleming and Traynor exchanged passes at least twice before Traynor slipped inside and
steered a hard, low centre into the box. Fleming had timed his run to perfection and rapped
home a firm sidefoot, with his poncy white boots, past the exposed Karlsen. A beautifully
engineered goal and the winner was almost as impressive. Traynor and Fleming combined
yet again with the winger turning Leishman inside out before cutting a low, left-foot cross
into the danger zone. Gray announced himself as a genuine No 9 with a brave, sliding finish
to hold off McCallum and slide the ball below Karlsen’s smothering dive. The Tangerine
Terror tagline was starting to be justified, for this team had just drawn 3-3 at Parkhead and
Gray would score four against Dumbarton the following week. In April 1974 Dundee United
would contest their first ever Scottish Cup Final, losing to Celtic.
For Dunfermline, the end of the season had a silver lining. Manager Miller’s attacking policy
owed more to the influence of Cunningham rather than Stein, producing results like a 5-1
win at Dens Park followed by a 5-1 loss to Dundee at home later in the season. Our position
was looking grim come the run-in, although there remained a positive vibe amongst the
supporters which was vindicated by events. Three away games remained but against all odds
the Pars went to Easter Road and salvaged a draw, with Leishman defending in the spirit of Roy Barry and Geir Karlsen making an astonishing save in the final minute by touching an
Alan Gordon header on to the post. Next up were the bruisers of Dumbarton at Boghead, a
team managed by Alex Wright containing John Cushley, John Bourke, Tom McAdam and
Colin McAdam. A Bring your own Band Aid sort of clash which was lost 0-1 and seemed to
seal our fate. The final fixture at Tannadice was a bad omen given the final day relegation in
April 1972, but George Miller had a vision. Literally. He fell asleep in front of his coal fire and dreamt that Graham Shaw would score the goal which kept the Pars in the First Division.
And that is exactly what happened! A 1-0 victory saw DAFC retain their spot in the 18 team
top league on goal difference.
Whether George Miller ever had a vision again is unknown, but the Scottish League certainly did and planned reconstruction of the divisions for season 1975-76. This was bad news for Dunfermline who in season 1974/75 survived by one point in the old Division 1, but missed out on the new top 10 team league. It was to take another 15 years before the Pars returned to the top division, under stalwart defender turned manager Jim Leishman.
Once again, my thanks to Sammer for the articles he has written for Throwback on Pars Review, and to Auld Boab for his articles in the weeks before Sammer. If you would like to contribute to Throwback, please contact me here, or via the Pars Review Facebook or Twitter pages (links below).
Pars Review Facebook
Pars Review Twitter
I am delighted to have long-time Pars fan, Sammer, as guest writer on Throwback for 6 weeks, during which he will give his own first-hand account of games he attended from the period 1964 to 1973. Here, in part 5, he looks back on a Pars v Hibs game from March 1972.
Dateline: 11th March, 1972
Match: Dunfermline 2, Hibernian 1
Charts: American Pie
The news broke around lunchtime as we hung around a smoky, corner shop across from the
school. The owner sold us cigarettes as 3d singles, but had sparked a near riot the week
before when, on the D-Day of decimalisation, he had rounded up the price to 2 new pence for
a fag. Old Jock needed a long handled brush to drive the mob back from the counter that
February day, a day you might say planted the roots of Brexit Britain. There was also a
currency problem at East End Park: goals. We just couldn’t find any and were sitting bottom
of the league. Our last effort, in a surprise 1-0 win over Aberdeen, had come after a defensive
mix up allowed Jim Gillespie to net from one yard out. That was just about our range these
days. The Pars manager’s son, Brian, was standing very quiet in the corner.
Alex Wright’s been sacked! It’s on the radio. Wright’s been sacked!
Some were excited, some were pleased, some had no interest. We offered what comfort we
could muster then picked up some inside info from Brian that had till then been secret. About
Alex Wright turning down the Dundee job which went to ex-Rangers boss Davie White.
How the directors had made his father an offer they knew he could only refuse - a salary cut.
How John Cushley had gone out of his way to walk across to the car park and shake Wright’s
hand. How Brian had laughed at his father’s team selection for the next match - Barrie Mitchell was down to play at right back - but the directors did not see the joke.
The Pars now had nine games to save themselves from relegation starting with Hibernian on
the Saturday, under newly installed manager George Miller. Pars line-up:
Hibs lined up with: Herriott, Brownlie, Schaedler, Stanton, Black, Blackley, Davidson, O'Rourke, Baker, Gordon, Duncan.
On paper it was a no contest. Eddie Turnbull had most of the ‘Tornadoes’ in place and his Hibs side were about to knock Rangers out of the Scottish Cup en route to the final. When Dunfermline had gone into freefall at the start of 1970-71, new manager Alex Wright had barely managed to slow the descent, the Pars escaping relegation on goal average at the end of that season. The signing of Joe McBride had proved crucial but, now that he had retired due to injury, every game seemed a war of attrition from which a meagre point might occasionally be won. There was talk of putting shin guards on the goalposts. Good professionals like Paton, Gardner, Robertson and Lunn had not been replaced, placing too heavy a burden on the youngsters coming through. So it was surprising that Manager Miller handed a debut to young Ken Mackie in a desperate effort to pep up the attack, but it was a gamble which was to pay off.
The pitch was sticky on top which suited the Pars’ clog and clatter style, especially a midfield digger like George O’Neill. This ex-Partick stalwart had featured in a Sunday Post article with a photo of his wife dropping a medicine ball on to his stomach, evidence of his strength and stamina. Or maybe’s his wife’s. The problem was, the limited range of O’Neill’s passing suggested he practised passing with a medicine ball as well.
Wearing their all white strip, an economy measure which had not endeared Wright to supporters, the Pars opened in lively fashion as is often the case under new management
and took the lead. Mackie had already troubled Hibs defence and when the ball landed at his feet from a corner about 12 yards out he drove a rising shot high past Herriott at the Halbeath End to make it 1-0. Brimming with confidence, he then threw Black off balance on the left side of the box and narrowly failed to curl a shot into the far corner. For a support resigned to the flat beer of relegation battles this was champagne soccer, but could it last? After all, in Brownlie and Stanton, Hibs had two players with more football ability than the entire Pars team put together. And they also had Joe Baker.
Even now, at the age of 32, Baker could still generate a crackle of anticipation when he moved
towards the ball for although the blistering pace of his youth was more muted, he still retained an edge and awareness to make defenders nervous. Baker’s return meant Hibs’ appeasement policy had now come full circle, since the veteran striker was easing the pain of Peter Cormack’ transfer down south. His journey from Hibernian to Torino, Arsenal, Notts Forest and back again had been an unlucky one in that Joe Baker was fated to play for teams either going into decline, or a few years short of a golden age. He turned up in the wrong place this day as well.
When a ball was knocked down the right touchline Baker, an exceptional player with his back to goal, set himself to control the ball on his thigh. Unfortunately for him the ball arrived at the same time as John Cushley, a muscular defender in the same vein as Jim Holton, then breaking into the Scottish international team. Cushley had remained a part-time player, even when playing alongside the likes of Billy McNeill and Bobby Moore, so had never reached the heights he might have done. But he was determined to reach thisparticular ball and went right through the back of Baker to do so, sending ball and striker spinning on to the cinder track.
Cush all together, Cush all together, Cush all together now- Cushley!
It took two minutes of spray and massage to his lower back before Baker got back gingerly
to his feet. Worse was to follow. Within minutes O’Rourke lobbed a pass over the Dunfermline rearguard, one that Baker had anticipated before it was played, and it was now a race between Baker and keeper John Arrol as the ball bounced towards the penalty spot. Arrol got a fist to the ball first, then carried through to the face of the fearless Baker who was laid out for a second time. There was no malice in the challenge, indeed it could have gone either way, but to the Pars support these two moments signified the determination needed in the battle against relegation.
Ultimately the Pars squeezed out a 2-1 victory, Pud Paterson sweeping home an opportunistic effort inside the 6-yard box. Miller’s team had played with a positive mindset, taking the field with the belief that they could actually win the game, a rarity at that time. Negativity had ruled for too long. Miller was a breath of fresh air and there was a feeling, not just that relegation might be avoided, but that a new team with Mackie leading the line could be emerging.
That did not happen, but not for want of trying. Results picked up and there was a momentous 4-3 win at Ibrox which meant a draw in the last home game would be enough. Too much ground had been lost however. The final match, a 0-1 defeat by Dundee United, is remembered best for a lack lustre display by Barrie Mitchell who had already secured a transfer to Aberdeen. Little good did it do him. He flopped there and ended up at Tranmere, first as a player then later as a publican with a spell in America in between. Mitchell had shown potential as a youngster but never became as good a player as he thought he was, lacking the character required of a top professional. Maybe Alex Wright had been correct and he was just a hard-tackling hard-running right back. Mitchell was inadequate, as were the Pars for top division football. We deserved to go down. The football had been ghastly for over a year.
The sixth and final part of Sammer Looks Back will be posted next Wednesday.
I am delighted to have long-time Pars fan, Sammer, as guest writer on Throwback for 6 weeks, during which he will give his own first-hand account of games he attended from the period 1964 to 1973. Here, in part 4, he looks back on a Pars v Celtic game from September 1969.
Dateline: 6th September, 1969
Match: Dunfermline 2, Celtic 1
Charts: Bad Moon Rising
You sometimes see them push their glasses up on the bridge of their nose, those social
historians from Oxbridge who were born yesterday, and pronounce that the Swinging Sixties
actually started in 1963, with the scandalous Profumo Affair and only really ended with the
Oil Price Rise of 1973.
We know better. They started when Jock Stein arrived in March 1960 and won his first game,
against Celtic, 3-2. They ended in January 1970, almost exactly a decade later, when the Pars won 3-2 against Anderlecht but left the main stage.
This was a mild, autumn afternoon and East End Park was buzzing. Nowadays I hear some
fans say they want the Old Firm to get out of Scottish football and leave us in peace. I have no desire to be left in peace. I want more days like this, when the ground was packed, when
boisterous supporters mixed on unsegregated terracing and Pars fans, with good reason,
anticipated victory over the Old Firm.
Celtic lined up with: Fallon, Craig, Gemmill, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, Hood, Wallace, Chalmers, Lennox.
Nine Lisbon Lions on show, with both sides a bit light in midfield, Hughie Robertson and Bertie Auld being absent, Tommy Callaghan angling for a transfer. The first half, Pars
attacking the Town End, was a masterclass in bustling, bullying forward play by Barrie Mitchell from the moment he shouldered Gemmell aside to cross a beauty, low across the
six-yard box. No takers that time, but after brushing inside Gemmell and clipping a shot off the top of the bar the inevitable was only delayed, when Mitchell switched to the left flank,
bundled past Craig, then set up Gardner in front of goal. 1-0 the Pars after 10 minutes.
Suddenly a punch up between Wallace and Renton, near the touchline, with quite a few
blows landing and the referee pointing both towards the pavilion. Now it was 10 v 10,
tension in the North Enclosure, jostling and goading amongst the pockets of rival fans,
Bovril splashed, nervy Special Constables moving in to earn their stripes. Gardner dropped
deeper to support Paton and Edwards in midfield, then emerged in the 20th minute to double
the Pars’ lead. A high, wedged clearance from Barry caught Clark back- pedalling in the
Celtic penalty area, where he made a pig’s ear of the header, miscuing the ball across the box
where Gardner, Craig and Fallon all converged before the ball trundled in off a post. 2-0.
Celtic struggled to respond, Edwards controlling play alongside Paton, both relishing the
extra space available. Another flashpoint: Chalmers, obstructing keeper Duff from taking his
four steps, had the ball rammed in his face and collapsed theatrically near the bye line. Play
On said the referee as Duff kicked clear. Just as the forward was getting back to his knees, a
Celtic attack was intercepted by Willie Callaghan who, with the whole of the touchline to
aim for, deliberately aimed a lusty clearance straight off the face of Chalmers and out for a
bye-kick. Right aff the puss. Well done Willie, as Chalmers was floored for a second time.
Before half time George McLean brought the whole crowd to its feet. ‘Dandy’ Mclean was a
playboy footballer who might have been happier hanging around the Barrowland Ballroom
eyeing up the burdz. He was a tall, confident dude with fancy footwork and a quick mover
too, so might have scored a few times, although to be fair his goal tally over the years with
St. Mirren, Rangers and Dundee was pretty impressive too. His goals came from sporadic
flashes of inspiration, for Dandy was no team player, in fact he had perfected a technique for
avoiding tackles. Loitering up front, when the ball arrived he would move towards it, sell a
dummy, then try to nutmeg the defender on the turn.
But McLean could loiter with intent. He’d just missed out making it 3-0 from a disguised
Edwards reverse pass, when a bouncing ball came his way inside the centre circle. In an
instant he flicked it not only over his own head, but crucially that of Billy McNeill, turning
to knee the ball forward into his path. He now had a clear run on goal and, in truth, nothing
compares with the elemental thrill of the chase, a chase Mclean looked like he might win. As
the pack closed on him at the edge of the penalty box and the crowd noise verged on
delirium, McLean, perverse as ever, opted for a chip on the run, probably the hardest skill in
the game. Yet he was only a fraction out, the ball dropping on to the roof of the net with
Fallon helpless. What a moment that was, only taking a few seconds to unfold, but living so
long in the memory.
The second half was all Celtic, a team who had recovered from 4-2 down at East End a
couple of seasons before, so they would have fancied their chances. Gemmell thrashed
home a blur of a shot from 25 yards, possibly the most powerful shot ever seen at East End
Park, and the supporters in green nearly lifted the roof off the enclosure, sensing another
It never materialized. Barry was a colossus, choking the life out every attack, rising, arm
across the chest of his opponent, bulleting headers away from danger. Even in his finer
moments an air of menace and illegality always hovered around Barry. Jim Fraser and
previously Jim McLean defended in the manner of uniformed policemen dealing with a
fracas at closing time; Barry’s style was more that of a bouncer slinging a drunk down the
steps of a dance hall. This explains part of his enduring popularity amongst Pars fans, for
although we feared that these Old Firm wide boys with their cheap, weegie tricks, dodges
and fly moves might put one over on us provincials, in Roy Barry we knew we had a man
who could match them and more.
After a trademark block, Barry was laid low on the bye-line, giving Jimmy Johnstone the
opportunity, while trailing the ball over to take the corner kick, to tramp sneakily on his chest. More uproar on the terracing. It mattered none. Barry was soon back on his feet rallying the troops, the Pars even managing a few breakaways late on courtesy of McLean tormenting Craig with his dummy+nutmeg routine. 2-1 to the Pars it finished.
What we did not know, was that the 1960s were finishing too. Autumn 1969 was a pivotal
moment. Armstrong had walked on the moon, Woodstock had just ended, Manson was on his
warped hippie mission in California, the British Army had entered the streets of Belfast, The
Beatles were cutting their last LP. Optimism was in retreat. Barry never played for the Pars
again, nor did Bert Paton following his leg break in December. After Anderlecht in January the team suddenly looked middle-aged. We hadn’t brought through a youngster since Stein
left in 1964.
The sixties had seen Stein at his zenith, but he would never enjoy the same authority again.
Within a year his Celtic team would lose three consecutive cup finals, including a European
Final to Feynoord, and although he was still developing young players, Stein’s teams never had the same edge to them. For DAFC it was a precipitous decline. One month after this
victory Dunfermline sat at the top of the league: one year later Dunfermline were rock bottom of that same 18 team league. We had sacked Manager Farm, and were not to win a single game until Christmas Week.
The sixties were over.
Part 5 of Sammer Looks Back will be posted next Wednesday.
I am delighted to have long-time Pars fan, Sammer, as guest writer on Throwback for 6 weeks, during which he will give his own first-hand account of games he attended from the period 1964 to 1973. Here, in part 3, he looks back on a Pars v Hearts game from January 1969.
Dateline: 2nd January, 1969
Match: Dunfermline 4, Hearts 2
Charts: Ob-La Di-Ob-La Da
Hearts supporters were in what psychologists call The Denial Stage of their grief. For the 20
years following WW2 Hearts had turned out good sides, indeed for a few years they had
been acknowledged as the best team in Scotland. Now they had fallen on hard times, were
playing stodgy football, yet the Tynecastle faithful travelled over to EEP in good numbers for
the first game of 1969, believing that glory days were just around the corner.
They were on a fool’s errand. This was Manager Farm’s strongest Dunfermline side, the
reigning Scottish Cup holders who had dispatched Hearts comfortably in the 1968 Final,
were lying just behind Celtic in the League and were to on their way to a ECWC semi-final.
Farm’s 4-3-3 formation made for a cohesive unit that could control the pattern of play or, if
required, absorb heavy pressure There is an iconic photo of Lunn and Barry lunging at
Jimmy Johnstone which captures the essence of the Pars’ competitive character at this time.
Hearts had no chance.
Pars line up:
Hearts lined up with: Cruickshank, Clunie, Holt, Anderson, A.Thomson, E.Thomson, Ford, J.Fleming, Gordon, G.Fleming, Traynor.
This Hearts team was an uncomfortable mix of bully boys and choir boys. They played three
hulking centre halves, including a bull-necked ogre by the name of Arthur Thomson with a
crew-cut rarely seen outwith a prison exercise yard. The full backs, Sneddon and Holt, could
be nasty. In contrast the attack was led by two Chartered Accountants- Donald Ford and Alan
Gordon. Gordon, with his thoughtful approach play and outstanding aerial ability, could lay
some claim to the crown worn by Bauld and Young whereas Ford was no more than useful.
Perhaps predictably then, it was Ford who was granted heroic status by the Hearts support,
demanding that this frail, cricket playing, part-time footballer should be in the Scotland team. In truth, far from being the best striker in Scotland, Ford was not even the best striker
in Armadale, for Colin Stein was on the rampage for Rangers at this time.
The Hearts support had arrived early and commandeered the terracing in the North
Enclosure, normally the location for the Pars’ choir.
Gorgie, Gorgie, Gorgie Rule! Gorgie, Gorgie Rule!
This would prove to be another misjudgment on their part. The Pars’ choir numbered a few
hundred, ranged in age from about 14-22, comprising dockyard apprentices, errant school
students, a few local loudmouths and a smattering of drunks. Rather than force a
confrontation, this hardcore support packed behind the goals at the Town End which,
whether by luck or judgment, the Pars attacked first half. A wall of sound greeted the very
first Pars attack and scarcely let up, as wave after wave of black-and-white incursions into
enemy territory left Hearts overwhelmed. Mitchell provided the muscle, Gardner the hard
running and Paton the guile. When Edwards cut his foot across a corner kick, making the ball
fly low and flat like a frisbee, Mitchell dived to head home a flick-on. The Pars’ choir
cranked the volume up to 11 as our midfield trio of Robertson, Edwards and Renton took
total control, regularly releasing Callaghan and Lunn to overload Hearts on the flanks. After
16 minutes Edwards flighted another flat corner, this time from the left, and Paton, slim and
poised as a matador, applied the coup de gras.
Hearts could barely get out of their own half. Jim Fraser, the bolt in the defensive system,
was a reliable cover defender who was very strong in the air, granting Barry and the full
backs licence to attack any ball played up to the Hearts forwards. On one occasion Davie
Holt, a veteran full back who had known better days in maroon, had no option other than
blooter a clearance on to the roof of the North Enclosure for which he was roundly cheered
by the visiting support. Holt had been recalled after the Arthur Mann affair, another example
of Hearts’ delusional support. Mann, from Burntisland, was a promising player who week
after week, was being voted the best player in Scotland according to a Daily Express poll.
This newspaper had a high readership amongst Tynecastle tradesman and clerical workers,
who organized a write-in campaign to vote exclusively for Arthur Mann come hell or high
water. They not only convinced themselves that Mann was the next Nilton Santos, but also
Manchester City who coughed up money to take him south, from where he found his level in
lower divisions. Mann was unusual. Whereas Hibernian would develop youngsters like
Cormack, Marinello and Cropley before selling for big money south of the border, the Hearts
equivalent would be shipped out to Tranmere or Doncaster after a couple of seasons.
Just before the interval Dunfermline struck again to make the score 3-0. The goal was made
by Willie Renton who had replaced Tommy Callaghan, the midfielder whose long raking
runs had been a feature of Dunfermline teams in the 1960s. Renton covered far less ground
than Tid Callaghan, being a passer rather than a carrier of the ball, but he played with a
swagger and had a left foot that could tidy up play or set the attack moving. A stylish player
but one who enjoyed a good scrap as well.
Renton flighted a free kick over Hearts’ defensive wall for Gardner to steer in off the far post
with a well-judged header. The Town End choir erupted, knowing that Hearts were well beaten, then battled its way through a demoralized Jambo support over to the Halbeath End, in anticipation of more goals in the second period.
In the event there was only one Pars goal, a nonchalant 8-iron chip by Paton which left
Cruickshank stranded on his 6-yard line. Hearts made a decent fist of things in the second
half, bringing on Willie Hamilton for some much needed creativity. Hamilton was thick
around the midriff, had thinning hair, podgy knees and looked about 40 years old. For all
that, he did have a football brain and Ford and Gordon pulled a couple of goals back, but this
was a battle-hardened Dunfermline side who had faced bigger challenges than Hearts. John
Lunn was typical of the competitive mentality that had been forged at DAFC. He was only
22 years old but had been on winning sides against The Old Firm on around 8 occasions, had
appeared in two Scottish Cup Finals and played in rearguard actions by the Pars in Germany,
Czechoslovakia and Spain. Another one was soon to follow down in West Bromwich. John
Lunn was a fast, powerful defender who drove into tackles and attacks with the confidence
of a fully-fledged professional, yet unlike Davie Holt, Jim Kennedy, Davie Provan or Billy
Dickson he never wore the number 3 jersey for Scotland.
As for Hearts, their supporters became if anything more desperate. In 1971 more than 20,000
of them packed into Fir Park midweek to watch Hearts play Motherwell in the semi-final of
the Texaco Cup, a consolation tournament for teams unable to qualify for Europe. This was a
contest that had drawn a crowd of around 6,000 for the League fixture but after Donald Ford
netted the winner in extra time - Fordie for Scotland - the Hearts support were convinced
glory was within their grasp. Outside Tynecastle nobody much cared, though in the event
they were beaten by Wolves in the final. It took a 7-0 hammering from Hibernian in 1973
before reality sunk in.
Part 4 of Sammer Looks Back will be posted next Wednesday.
I am delighted to have long-time Pars fan, Sammer, as guest writer on Throwback for 6 weeks, during which he will give his own first-hand account of games he attended from the period 1964 to 1973. Here, in part 2, he looks back on a Pars v Motherwell game from 1966.
Dateline: 8th January, 1966
Match: Dunfermline 6, Motherwell 1
Charts: Keep on Running
You would think that a six goal win at home would be a landmark in any season, but not in 1965-66: Partick Thistle (twice), Clyde, Hamilton Accies and Falkirk were all hit for six. There were plenty of fives as well. Fergie was on fire, his name being chanted to a variety of handclaps, from the emerging Kop in the North Enclosure. If manager Cunningham had opened the throttle the previous season, then this was a turbo-charged Pars outfit. With Stein’s Celtic setting new standards this was never a Pars team in contention for the title although all our matches against the top teams were decided by a goal either way.
Motherwell lined up with: McCloy, Thomson, R McCallum, W McCallum, Martis, Murray, Cairney, Campbell, Delaney, McLaughlin, Weir.
The goal machine of season 1965/66 had come about partly through accident. The transfer of John McLaughlin, who played for Motherwell in this match, meant the number 9 jersey was up for grabs but there were no obvious takers. Manager Cunningham had initially tried Ian Hunter, made a panic buy for the gangling Hugh Maxwell, then, incredibly, a Brazilian was flown over from Sao Paulo to lead the line. Extravagant tales of ball-juggling and banana bender shots swept the town but Chico Filho’s first game at Cappielow turned out to be his last. Most Pars fans never saw him play. By mid-October, when the clocks were being put back, the forward line had yet to gel. There was the added problem of Edwards being out injured.
Jim Fleming, a journeyman footballer who had spent time at Luton Town and Partick Thistle, was the obvious replacement for Edwards. In fact, there lingered a suspicion Fleming had been signed as cover for Alex Edwards should the DAFC directors decide to cash in their chips and take the first big transfer offer from south of the border. But the centre forward problem was now becoming critical. Maxwell’s coltish caperings had so incensed the support they were baying for him to carted off to the nearest glue factory. Given this consumer resistance, Cunningham instead selected the promising Pat Wilson on the right wing and, purely as a stop gap measure, gave Fleming the number 9 jersey. What followed was scarcely believable.
455 564 615
This is not a padlock number nor a mobile number either. It is the number of goals scored by DAFC in the nine consecutive games after Fleming led the line. The forward line just clicked. What exactly Fleming brought to the side was hard to quantify at first, for he was not a prolific scorer. Then it dawned on us. He was an attacker who always made himself available for the simple pass, was strong enough to take a rattle from behind, then would play the right ball to a colleague moving into a good position. He had learned the basic football truth when your team is in possession: Get-Give-Go. It was as simple and as effective as that, allowing Paton and Ferguson to plunder defences for the remainder of the season. Motherwell were well beaten by half time. Ferguson opened the scoring at the Town End with a scissors kick early on, a flamboyant technique he’d used before. Ferguson’s goals during his years at EEP were of three types: the six yard box slide; the placed header; the low, skidding shot, taken on the run, across the goalkeeper.
These low shots proved troublesome to the tall Motherwell keeper Peter McCloy, and Paton gobbled up a rebound from one of them. Paton was the opposite in so many ways to Ferguson, a player with a sure touch who sauntered around and drifted into space unnoticed. You had the feeling he could have played in his slippers. Even when chances fell his way in the box, Paton would often take that extra touch to wrong foot the defender or goalkeeper before placing his shot just inside the post. Unlike Ferguson he could shoot from outside the box and a week earlier had placed a 25 yard curler into the top corner at Ibrox in a 3-2 win. After McLaughlin was ordered off for kicking Ferguson on the ground, Motherwell were put to the sword.
This Dunfermline side played an expansive game, making full use of the width of the park. Both Edwards and Robertson were playmakers rather than wingers who took on the full back, but they operated in very different styles. Edwards’ game was about distribution, whether working a tight triangle to release Callaghan on the overlap, sweeping across field ball to switch the play, or flighting a ball between the central defenders to pick out a forward run. Robertson was more a give-and-go type, a small, stocky player with a cheerful grin who had probably the fastest feet in the game. Hughie Robertson was playing tiki-taka Iniesta style back in the mid1960s; he had such a short, staccato stride that he could never be boxed in, even when he seemed trapped on the touchline. He liked to come inside to link up play and unlike Edwards he was a regular scorer throughout his career, slotting several vital goals at Ibrox and Parkhead.
Both were involved in the later goals. Edwards pulled back a fast corner to Callaghan, running in from the corner of the box, and his steered header was eventually stroked into the net by Paton. Edwards himself was put through wide right, tried to fox McCloy by clipping the ball inside the near post, and when his effort rebounded from the woodwork Fleming lashed the rebound home via the underside. Robertson tidied up by netting a typical goal,continuing his run after making an initial pass and sweeping home.
This was vintage turbo-Pars, and had Tommy Callaghan played instead of Thomson, then the score might well have been more. The Pars scored 94 League goals by the end of the season, for the second time running a higher total than Rangers. Ferguson scored 31 of those, making him Scotland’s joint top scorer with McBride. That was as many as the entire Pars team managed five years later. In all competitive games Ferguson managed 39. In all games, the Pars scored 131 times. Within two years both Smith and Ferguson had found their way to Ibrox where they enjoyed limited success, partly due to being played out of position. After the trauma of Berwick, Smith was pushed up as a support striker and played in the 1967 ECWC final. Like Smith, Ferguson finished his first season as top scorer at Ibrox, in a Rangers side which only lost one league game, but he was played as a number 9 and never really settled. McCloy also became a Ranger, had a long career, and managed to win a ECWC medal in 1972. His massive punts from hand have no doubt accelerated research into Alzheimer’s. And what about poor, forgotten Chico Filho, the one game wonder? A happy ending as it turns out. Filho had a decent career in the French lower division before becoming a respected national youth coach, working with Eric Cantona and Thierry Henry. Filho eventually teamed up with his one-match striking partner Alex Ferguson, as a youth coach at Old Trafford.
Part 3 of Sammer Looks Back will be posted next Wednesday.
Following Auld Boab's 6 weeks as guest writer on "Throwback", I am delighted to have another long-time Pars fan, Sammer, take over the reigns for the next 6 weeks. Sammer will give his own first-hand accounts of games from the period 1964 to 1973. Here, in part 1, he looks back on a Pars v Hibs game from 1964.
Dateline: 11th August, 1964
Match: Dunfermline 2 Hibernian 0
Charts: House of the Rising Sun
A new season is about optimism, possibility, rebirth. This was the first home game of season 1964/65, a midweek League Cup tie with Jock Stein’s Hibernian, and there was no Charlie Dickson. Saturday had been no aberration. He was dropped. The man who had taken the number 9 jersey on his debut, the very month I was born, and worn it ever since. The man who had routed George Young, embarrassed Bobby Evans, unsettled Brian Labone. The man who had walked round Haffey in ’61 and brought a whole town out onto the streets that unforgettable April night. The man who had scored in the very first game I ever attended. The man I had seen bang in five goals in a cup tie. This seemed more like death than birth. A pensioner wearing a bunnet tried to console me.
Charlie’s feenished, son. He’s feenished.
I’d heard the talk. Talk that Charlie’s bounding, ostrich stride had lost a little spring, as had his legendary leaping for crosses. Of an injury he could not shake off. So now, it had come to this. Charlie’s time was up.
To replace Dickson, Cunningham had bought three replacements- McLaughlin, Ferguson and Kilgannon - players who had decent scoring records but mostly in the lower division. The Ferguson swap for Dan McAlindon received some grudging approval: That’s better value. The support had never really taken to McAlindon, picking up on a wild rumour that he only got selected because he was married into Stein’s family.
The teams were:
1 .Herriott 1. Wilson
2. Callaghan 2. Fraser
3. Lunn 3. Leishman
4. Smith 4. Stanton
5. McLean 5. MacNamee
6. Millar 6. Stevenson
7. Edwards 7. Hogg
8. Ferguson (30) 8. Hamilton
9. McLaughlin (44) 9. Martin
Attacking the Halbeath End, this was a new, lively Pars side, displaying a hunger Hibernian struggled to match. The team appeared younger than before. Gone was the post-war austerity look of Dickson and Peebles who you could imagine in army fatigues, rifles on shoulder, cheerfully doing some square-bashing as a Sergeant Major bellowed across the courtyard. Sinclair, Edwards and Ferguson were sharper, wore Italian suits, sported smart haircuts, probably listened to The Shadows or The Beatles rather than Shirley Bassey or Frank Sinatra.
It was a well-balanced team too. George Millar dropped back to cover McLean, thoroughbred Alex Smith was joined by workhorse Melrose in midfield, Edwards developed play from wide right, Sinclair went direct on the left. Full backs Callaghan, with pace, and Lunn, with power, pushed up in support of attacks. Here was a more attacking approach than the cagey, measured style that had been developed under Stein. Cunningham’s Pars, playing open, attacking football, were now over-powering the Hibs’ tactical master. The Pars’ thin black and white stripes, flashing under the floodlights, seemed to emphasise an electric quality to their approach play, to exaggerate their speed of movement and thought.
Both Ferguson and McLaughlin had scored on their debuts and there were to score again this evening. McLaughlin was a burly centre forward who could play with his back to goal and was quite prepared to mix it with Big Bad John MacNamee, a centre half who tested physical courage before he got around to skill. Ferguson was slim, restless and looking to dart through the channels while keeping away from MacNamee. When Edwards slipped a ball round the side of the left back, McLaughlin ran into the space before flighting an inviting cross into the 6 yard box. Ferguson was already up waiting, like all good headers of a ball, having split the central defenders. He headed down, powerfully, in text book fashion, to Wilson’s left and the crowd roared their approval of a genuine striker. It looked uncannily like a header from Charlie D. There was never any doubt after that- Ferguson would score goals.
Just before half time his striking partner McLaughlin, around the penalty spot, pulled down a sharp pass from Melrose on his thigh. As the ball came off the ground, McLaughlin put his left foot through it and the ball exploded into the roof of the net. A spectacular strike, and from his weaker foot too.
There nobody could hit a baw like that since Wardhaugh.
And from under the bunnet. Aye, and he was feenished when he come.
So, 2-0 at half time and 2-0 it ended.
Hibs did not just have a good manager, they had some very good players. Stanton, Cormack and Willie Hamilton were international quality. Hamilton, sweating profusely under the floodlights, probed, twisted, dribbled, earning purrs of admiration from the terraces, many fans recalling a performance he had given at EEP in his Sheffield United days, the first floodlit match at EEP. Neil Martin was to score 100 league goals both sides of the border, MacNamee and Jim Scott (along with Sinclair) won the Fairs Cities’ Cup with Newcastle a few years later. However, the evening belonged to Cunningham’s invigorating Pars side. This was our taster of the greatest season Dunfermline Athletic would have in their history, of a team which so nearly won the double of League and Cup.
In hindsight, George Miller’s transfer to Wolves early in the season probably cost us that Double. You don’t sell your captain if you want to win trophies. Then again, with DAFC paying the highest wages outside the Old Firm, and with no big European gate the season before, the money was simply too inviting to turn down. It took two players - Jim Thomson as a defender and Tommy Callaghan as a driving midfielder- to replace Miller. That reduced the options up front, although unusually for the time, Cunningham rotated his players to keep the team fresh. Kilgannon and Paton came in and delivered goals, as did Melrose who bagged all five when played as a striker against Falkirk. Peebles was a reliable option on either wing while Smith could be deployed deep or behind the forwards.
This team went on to score 83 League goals yet remained as tight defensively as Stein’s sides, Cunningham’s credo being that attack was the best form of defence. The quality of football displayed at EEP in victories over Hearts (3-2), Rangers (3-1), Celtic (5-1) and in the semi final defeat of Hibs (2-0) was surely as good as any Pars side has ever produced and it was first displayed that warm, August evening in 1964. Next month came two major events: the opening of The Forth Road Bridge saw the traditional, much loved ferry boats removed from service and Harold Wilson became Prime Minister, promising the white heat of modernisation. It seemed like old news. I had the feeling I’d seen them both already.
Part 2 of Sammer Looks Back will be posted next Wednesday.
Auld Boab is a long-time Dunfermline fan who has agreed to share some of his Pars memories each week. Over the past 6 weeks, he has looked back on the 1950s and 60s era with a different theme each week (Local Boys, Defenders, Goalkeepers and Wingers) and then his top 3 Pars players from the period. Last week, he focused on players 2 & 3 in his top 3. This week, in his final article for Pars Review, he writes about his favourite player.
Auld Boab, near exhaustion as he was, had a shine in his eyes when he began to recall his numero uno:-
"Where on earth do I begin when I remember the top man, Charlie Dickson? Well, let’s try at the beginning. In the early fifties, we had a great centre-forward called Jimmy Millar, an ox-strong holder of the ball with finishing ability which belied his solid appearance. But so good was he that Rangers snapped him up, and in the search for his successor, Pars turned to Penicuik Athletic and in early 1955, signed their rangy centre-forward, Charlie Dickson, who went straight into the first team for the next game V Stenhousemuir at Ochilview. When Charlie arrived at the ground for his debut, he received a telegram from Jimmy Millar, wishing him good luck. How classy was that?
Many fans travelled through to see our new signing. My journey was in the back of Bruce and Glen’s delivery van, with ten other fans, all seated on cushions on the floor, backs against the van interior on either side, no seat belts in those days! Bruce and Glen was the class grocer in town, situated post-war in Bridge Street, on the north side across from the town clock, but in the early fifties, the shop moved to the south side of Bridge Street, near the Glen Gates, where it remained until it was squeezed out by the large supermarkets in the 70s. Both shops were characterised by the exotic aroma of freshly ground coffee, allied to polished wood. Whatever your requirements, a smart white-aproned man behind the counter would go and collect your order, awaiting the completion so that the cost could be totted up. This gracious style of shopping was, of course supplanted by the arrival of self-service supermarkets
Our first sight of our replacement for Jimmy Millar was a lanky gangling lad, fast, keen, sprightly, like an adolescent leveret. Subsequently in his career, Charlie never did anything the easy way, and his very first goal for us in his very first senior game was a harbinger of what was to come. Somehow, a ball from left-winger Anderson struck the bar and fell, squirming, to find Charlie all alone on the 6-yard line, with what should have been an easy tap-in. But the ball was bouncing awkwardly for an excited Charlie to control, and at waist-height, too low to header, too high to knee in; with instinct rather than a considered option, Charlie moved the ball forward, partly waist, partly chest, partly thigh, and worked the ball into the net before any defender could react. Unexpected, unconventional, two words which came to define Charlie’s playing style. A second goal followed later via Charlie’s head, a very promising debut, (with George O’Brien inside him, Joe Mackin in goals), followed the very next week by his sterling performance in that Gentleman George Duthie match V Partick in the Cup - though Charlie did not score, he ran the Partick defence ragged, and created the chaos for our goals and the two winning penalties. The Dunfermline Press described his having come through his home debut ‘with flying colours’. So, a favourite was launched!
Charlie’s Dunfermline stats are impressive. 340 appearances for Dunfermline, 215 goals, the highest tally in our annals. But how do I give a picture of him to our younger fans who never saw him? How can I put the finger on what made him so loved by the fans? I can but try.
He was all heart, fast, bouncy, never-say-die, chasing everything to the final whistle. He was awkward on the ground, with ball control which, frankly, was poor, but his unorthodoxy enabled him to beat defenders, plus round keepers when they represented the last line of the defence. On any number of occasions, he could beat a centre-half with his speed, deceive the keeper with an unconventional change of direction, only to sclaff the ball past the post of a yawning empty goal. With other players, such an outcome might lead to hoots of derision, but with Charlie, everybody would laugh, knowing the next train was just two minutes away round the corner, and sure enough the goalie would fumble a shot from midfield, and who was there to poke it home? Charlie! Or Peebles would break down the wing, sling over a cross begging to be headed home, and who was there? Charlie!
Indeed, Charlie was the ultimate in his use of the head to score goals. He jumped high, and also jumped long, covering yards in the air to meet a cross, most regularly from that right wing. And his headers were accurate, timed to perfection, hardly ever over the bar, rarely stopped by the keeper, but more often projectiled into a space in the goals. He always seemed to know where to be to meet a cross, unlike our forwards in recent years who have by-passed prolific service from Ryan Williamson; indeed, Williamson has been criticised for the quality of his deliveries, but Charlie Dickson would have exercised his striker’s sixth sense, and would have known exactly where to situate himself to apply the finishing touch.
Charlie was never greedy, but proved to be a prolific penalty-winner, and a great provider, laying on chances for his fellow-forwards. Bill Shankly spoke in the recent programme about instructing a forward to drop hand grenades - that was exactly what Charlie did! With his unorthodoxy and tireless running, he created merry mayhem in the opposition box, exactly the conditions for his colleagues to thrive. We used to speculate that defences could not possibly know what Charlie would do next, when Charlie himself had no idea what he would do next!
I hope I have given our younger readers some kind of picture of Charlie in action, so let me turn now to his memorable games. That famous 1955 Cup victory over Partick Thistle in the Cup, Charlie’s second game for us, when he created confusion, at times clapping his hands to rouse his team-mates! And then, at the end of season 1956/7, ending in relegation by a single point, we played Rangers at home in our final match, losing 4-3 to a last-minute goal! Centre-half for Rangers, playing his last League game before retiral, was big George Young, Scotland’s celebrated Captain, who by this time was slowing, and dependent on his experience to handle centre-forwards, though he was still playing for Scotland; but he had never met in his career anyone like Charlie Dickson, who proceeded to run rings round him. Before the match, George may have been sad at the prospect of hanging up his boots, but post-match after the roasting Charlie gave him, turning him every which way, George must have been delighted with his decision to go!
Then against Partick once more in that memorable 10-1 Melrose game in April 1959, Charlie scored only one (with his inevitable head), but the Press described ‘Dickson the irrepressible who by his enthusiasm and unselfishness, made five of the goals possible’. Then Jock Stein’s very first game in charge, March 1960, and Charlie scored in ten seconds V Celtic (hope the turnstiles were working!) to send us to a shock 3-2 win, and on the march to win our last six games to avoid relegation. On to the Cup Final V Celtic, when Alex Smith’s speculative lob, nearly secure in Haffey’s hands, was chased at speed by Charlie, and while he did not get a touch on the ball, his attempt was enough to deceive Haffey into letting the ball squirm through past him; but while most keepers might have retrieved the situation with an about turn, Haffey was not quick enough, for as he turned, Charlie was already through to tap it home before leaping high into the air in celebration. A Cup-winner!
But highlight of Charlie’s career has to be that double hat-trick (who nowadays ever scores a double hat-trick?) against St Mirren at East End in January, 1962, on a snow-covered pitch. Seven of my favourites were playing (Connachan, Mailer, Miller, Peebles, Smith, Dickson, Melrose) - some team! Here is the cavalcade of goals (and misses!):-
14th minute - Melrose nods home a McDonald corner;
20th minute - Charlie nets after a keeper fumble of a Mailer shot;
Pre-half-time - Charlie misses two easy chances;
46th minute - Charlie misses another good chance;
47th minute - Charlie nods home a Melrose shot rebound off the goalie;
53rd minute - Charlie beats three men before shooting home;
55th minute - Charlie scores from a Peebles cut-back from the bye-line;
87th minute - Charlie heads home another cross from Smith on the right;
89th minute - Charlie side-foots ball in from a left-wing cross from Peebles.
By which point, we were all freezing on the terracings, but could not bear to leave such a memorable spectacle, the pinnacle of Charlie’s career, and his best-ever game for the Pars. He always took such joy in his goals, not by running straight to the crowd like Higgy to receive the fans’ acclaim, nor by wheeling away like an aeroplane, Faiss-style, but by leaping gleefully in the air with his arms up, before turning to embrace, and be embraced by his team-mates (while still upright, trotting back to the centre - no rolling-on-the-ground orgy in those days!).
Like Mailer and Duthie, Dickson played the game in the finest spirit, and a quiet modest pleasant nature meant that he was incapable of any shoddy or vindictive action on the field. He sadly died in Whitburn in 2013 aged 79, but he remains an Athletic icon, a man whose name inevitably brings a smile to the face of anyone who saw him. What a wonderful way for a wonderful player to be remembered - with a smile!
Charlie Dickson in a word - ENTERTAINMENT!”
Auld Boab slumped back, “My dram now, my boy, make it a Lagavulin, with a wee splash of water. And, Michael...... remember...... a large one!”
(Now that Auld Boab has shared some reminiscences with us for now, we have another guest writer lined up who will take us through his memories of the next decade, 1965 to 1975. Coming soon!)
(Some of you may recognise the writer's identity but for the purpose of the articles he has agreed to write for Pars Review, he has asked me to refer to him as "Auld Boab").
Many thanks to Auld Boab for his fantastic series of articles over the past 6 weeks.