February 2007: For the first time in almost 50 years, Saturday afternoons on the BBC did not feature sports programme Grandstand, its final episode being shown the week before. A litre of petrol cost 87p: within 12 months, that would increase to over £1 per litre. In other news, North Korea agreed to being a de-nuclearisation programme (sound familiar?) while in the UK singles charts, Mika was number 1 with 'Grace Kelly'. The View had the number 1 album with 'Hats Off To The Buskers'.
Season 2006/07: By early February, Dunfermline were enduring a poor season in the Premier League but had a Scottish Cup fourth round tie against Hearts to look forward to. It's that game we cover here, against our opponents this Saturday.
DUNFERMLINE 1, HEARTS 0
SCOTTISH CUP FOURTH ROUND
SATURDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2007
Dunfermline took on Scottish Cup holders Hearts in front of a crowd of 9597 at East End Park. The Pars had defeated Rangers in the previous round, while Hearts had brushed aside Stranraer 4-0 in the same round. The holders were favourites to progress, with Dunfermline on an 11 game run without a win in the Premier League and struggling at the foot of the division.
The game began with Hearts putting immediate pressure on the Pars' goal. After 3 corners in succession in the opening minutes, Hearts then claimed for a penalty when Saulius Mikoliunas went down in the box. Despite having more possession, Hearts could not carve out any decent goalscoring chances. In a rare attack, Pars defender Phil McGuire found space inside the Hearts box but a poor touch prevented him from testing Hearts keeper Stevie Banks.
The second half began with Pars winger Adam Hammill chipping the ball to the back post. Stevie Crawford headed the ball goalwards but it struck the back of Hearts defender Lee Wallace and was cleared. Hearts then had a chance when Michael Pospisil's shot was well gathered by Dorus De Vries. The Pars keeper was to save his team on another 2 occasions, palming away a Mikoliunas effort and then tipping over a Pospisil header.
Hammill then broke upfield for Dunfermline and his cross narrowly missed Crawford at the back post.
The game seemed to be heading for a replay at Tynecastle until the 89th minute when Hammill crossed the ball into a crowded penalty area. Pars captain Scott Wilson powered through a ruck of players to bullet a header past Banks and put Dunfermline into the quarter finals.
Dunfermline defeated Partick Thistle in the quarter finals and then Hibs in the semi final after a replay. The team's League form improved (1 defeat in 7 games from mid-March to early May) but a loss at Inverness in the second last League game saw them relegated. The Cup Final was then played, 2 weeks after the crushing disappointment of relegation. Opponents Celtic won 1-0 on what was a flat occasion. The Pars had negotiated a difficult path through the rounds to the final but barely threatened the Celtic goal that day at Hampden.
Pars line-up v Hearts (player in background image - Dorus De Vries):
February 1971: Ex-Beatle George Harrison was number 1 in the UK charts with My Sweet Lord, the nation's favourite tv programme was The Benny Hill Show, while a litre of petrol cost 9p. Life in Britain in 1971 was changing, modernising, with decimal currency introduced in February that year, but with hardship a concern for many: unemployment levels were higher than at any time since World War 2 ended. In sport, Arsenal won the Double (League title plus FA Cup) an achievement matched in Scotland by Celtic. Dunfermline, meanwhile, were enduring their worst League campaign in over 10 years. Today we look at a game from that season, against our opponents this Saturday, Dundee United.
DUNFERMLINE 3, DUNDEE UNITED 1
SATURDAY 27 FEBRUARY 1971
Hard times had fallen on Dunfermline Athletic. The highs of the 1960s had swiftly been replaced by a dramatic decline in fortune as the 1970s began. Warning signs had been there in the 1969/70 season, when the Pars finished in ninth position, their lowest placing in 9 years. Season 1970/71 began with no victories in the opening 16 League games. In mid-December, the long overdue win finally came, 4-1 against Airdrie, which started something of a mini-revival: the following week, Ayr were defeated 5-0 By the time they faced Dundee United on 27 February, the Pars had won 4 out of 8 games, pulling away from the relegation places.
Dunfermline lined up against Dundee United with a few survivors of the 60s golden era still in the team - John Lunn, Jim Fraser, Alex Edwards, Barrie Mitchell, Pat Gardner and Hugh Robertson. It was Mitchell who opened the scoring, getting on the end of a Joe McBride cross in the 10th minute and shooting home past United keeper Hamish McAlpine. It looked as though that lead would be taken into the half time break but an error from John Cushley allowed United's Alan Devlin to equalise in the 44th minute.
Five minutes into the second half, Joe McBride put Dunfermline back in front after some good link up play between Alex Edwards and Hugh Robertson. McBride was a prolific goalscorer throughout his career (226 goals in 338 games) and was denied a place in Celtic history when injury prevented him playing in the European Cup winning team of 1967, after he had scored 36 times before Christmas in the 1966/67 season. He continued to score goals to the end of his career, with Dunfermline being his second last club, retiring aged 34 in 1972 after a final season at Clyde.
The Pars went 3-1 ahead in the 65th minute. Billy McLaren's shot was saved by McAlpine and then tapped into the net by Hugh Robertson from a few yards out. Robertson then had a chance to make it 4-1 from the penalty spot but he was wildly inaccurate with the kick, the ball going high over the bar. It mattered little as the Pars ended the game comfortable winners.
Unfortunately the good run of form ended with that victory. The remaining 9 League games saw the team win just 1 more game, avoiding relegation on the old 'goal average' rule. The following season, 1971/72, they were to finish last and were relegated.
Pars line-up v Dundee United (background image - Joe McBride):
Thanks to 'Auld Boab' for his help with this article.
Dunfermline went into this Premier Division fixture on a run of 5 games without a win, and only 1 win in the past 9 games. The season started with upheaval at the club, after the hugely unpopular decision by the board of directors to remove Jim Leishman from the manager's role, replacing him with his assistant Ian Munro. Victories over Celtic and Hearts could not disguise the noticeable change in atmosphere on the EEP terracing. Attendances dropped in the aftermath of the change of manager and the team lacked sparkle.
DUNFERMLINE 3, ST JOHNSTONE 2
SATURDAY 23 MARCH 1991
By early spring, Ian Munro had begun to experiment with his line-up, safe from any relegation threat as the Premier Division was set to expand from 10 to 12 clubs for the start of the following season and so no clubs were to be relegated. Yugoslavian international defender Milos Drizic was brought in and would make only 6 appearances for the Pars over his 15 month stay. One of those games was against St Johnstone in March 1991, in what would be a rare victory at the time.
Drizic, making his debut, lined up in a 3 man central defence alongside Norrie McCathie and Davie Moyes, with fullbacks Tommy Wilson and Ray Sharp pushed forward to provide width.
St Johnstone's team included 1 former Pars player - Ian Heddle - and 4 players who would later join Dunfermline - Lindsay Hamilton, Harry Curran, Allan Moore and Roddy Grant
Ross Jack, Dunfermline's only natural striker in a team that was flooded with midfielders, almost opened the scoring in the first half only to see his shot cleared off the line. Two minutes before half time, St Johnstone took the lead when Don McVicar's 20 yard free kick flew past Andy Rhodes. Dunfermline equalised a minute later when Ian McCall's corner kick was headed home by Moyes.
The flurry of goals continued early in the second half. In the 46th minute a move started by McCall saw his pass dummied by Istvan Kozma, with the ball reaching Paul Smith who scored from 5 yards out. Kozma then set up McCall for the Pars' third goal after 51 minutes. The Hungarian's pass was collected by McCall, who rounded Saints defender Sweeney and finished to make the score 3-1 to Dunfermline.
McDonald hit the post for St Johnstone before McCall appeared to have scored Dunfermline's 4th goal, a curling freekick that was disallowed due to Jack apparently encroaching into an offside position as the kick was taken. Jack the hit the post, in what was a lean spell for the striker, having last scored in what had been Dunfermline's last win before this game, against Hearts in February.
Future Pars winger Allan Moore pulled a goal back for Saints in injury time but Dunfermline held on to record the win.
The winless run that had preceded this victory would be repeated after this game, with Munro's team gaining just 1 point from the next 6 matches as the season limped to an inglorious end. Dunfermline finished the season in 8th place, 1 place below St Johnstone.
St Johnstone returned to EEP 2 weeks after this defeat to face Dundee United in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup. A crowd of 16,560 saw United win 2-1.
WHAT WAS GOING ON - MARCH 1991
UK petrol cost 45.4p per litre.
Hale and Pace were number 1 in the UK singles chart with "The Stonk".
The number 1 UK album was "Out of Time" by REM.
March 1991's most popular films at cinemas included "The Doors" and "New Jack City".
Rangers topped the Scottish Premier Division with 44 points, 3 ahead of Aberdeen, despite losing 3-0 to fourth place Celtic (on 33 points) on March 24.
Arsenal were 2 points ahead of Liverpool at the top of England's First Division (the Premiership/Premier League brand would not be introduced until 1992).
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).
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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.