A successful period on the pitch that was to prove a longer-term financial albatross for Dunfermline Athletic Football Club, 2004 was the culmination of the Jimmy Calderwood years. A Pars team containing players including Andrius Skerla, Craig Brewster and Stevie Crawford would finish 4th in the Premier League and reach the Scottish Cup Final. Today's 'Throwback' looks at the semi final of the Scottish Cup, where we faced our opponents this Saturday, Inverness.
PARS 3, INVERNESS 2
SCOTTISH CUP SEMI FINAL
20 APRIL 2004
The Scottish Cup semi finalists for season 2003/04 were Celtic, Dunfermline Athletic, Livingston and Inverness. When the semi final draw was made, Pars fans would have been happy to have been drawn against the only non-Premier side of the final 4, Inverness. The Highlanders were not to be under-estimated, leading the First Division and so it proved in the Hampden semi. A curiously flat occasion ended in a 1-1 draw, with the goals coming from 2 veteran strikers: 37 year old Craig Brewster equalising for Dunfermline after 35 year old Paul Ritchie had put Inverness ahead. The replay was to be held at Pittodrie, 4 days later, and would be a completely different type of game.
Jimmy Calderwood made 2 changes from the team that started at Hampden - Scott Wilson and Gary Dempsey replacing Andy Tod and Richie Byrne. Utility man Lee Bullen was at left back, with midfielder Gary Mason at right back, due to the absences of the cup-tied Greg Shields and the injured Scott Thomson.
Just as in the game at Hampden, Paul Ritchie gave his team the lead, this time scoring in the 6th minute, taking a long range pass from ex-Par David Bingham and shooting past Derek Stillie. The lead lasted until the 24th minute when Darren Young converted Lee Bullen's cross for the equaliser.
Craig Brewster was denied in the 30th minute, firstly when Inverness keeper Mark Brown saved his header and then when his shot on the rebound hit the post. Just before half time, Brown tipped over a Brewster shot from 20 yards.
The second half began with Steven Hislop almost giving Inverness the lead when his shot hit the bar. Team mate
After 63 minutes, Brewster put Dunfermline ahead when his run into the box ended with a well-placed shot across Brown and into the corner of the net.
The came a goal that would go down in Pars history.
68 minutes: gathering the ball outside the Inverness penalty box, Barry Nicholson weaved his way past 3 defenders before slipping the ball into the net, with a goal that would be compared to that scored by Archie Gemmill for Scotland against Holland in the 1978 World Cup. 3-1 to the Pars and a place in the Scottish Cup Final almost assured.
Inverness scored a second goal deep into injury time from David Bingham's penalty kick but there was no time left for any late drama - Dunfermline had won and qualified for the Scottish Cup Final for the first time since 1968.
17,000 Pars fans were in Hampden Park for the Final on 22 May 2004. After a looping Andrius Skerla header had given Dunfermline a half time lead, Henrik Larsson, in his last game for Celtic, turned the game in the second half with 2 goals on the way to a 3-1 Celtic victory. Manager Jimmy Calderwood and assistant boss Jimmy Nicholl left to take up the vacant management posts at Aberdeen, in what signalled the end of five seasons of continuous progress for Dunfermline. The team qualified for the UEFA Cup through both their League position and as Scottish Cup runners-up; however the European adventure ended at the first hurdle in August 2004 under new manager Davie Hay. Calderwood's team gradually broke up amid talk of financial problems at the club.
Inverness, meanwhile, would win the First Division title by a point from second placed Clyde, to secure top flight football for the first time in their history after joining the Scottish League in 1994.
Pars line-up v Inverness (player in background image - Gary Mason):
1994: the year Britpop dominated the UK music charts, with Oasis and Blur both releasing their debut albums, both reaching number 1. Also enjoying huge popularity was Labour leader Tony Blair; by December 1994 his Labour Party had a 39% lead over the Tories in the latest opinion polls. As Christmas approached, Spurs boss Gerry Francis was named Premiership Manager of the Month, while in Scotland Rangers topped the Premier Division, with their rivals Celtic having lost the League Cup Final on penalties to First Division Raith Rovers in late November. Dunfermline, also of the First Division, were aiming for promotion and went into a home game against Ayr United on 10 December in second place in the table.
DUNFERMLINE 6, AYR UNITED 0
SCOTTISH FIRST DIVISION
SATURDAY 10 DECEMBER 1994
After narrowly missing out on promotion to the Premier Division in his first season in charge, Pars boss Bert Paton retained the bulk of his squad for another attempt in season 1994/95. The season began with Dunfermline undefeated in the opening 12 games, before a 4 game sequence starting in mid-November that produced 2 defeats, a draw and only 1 victory. Next up was a home game against Ayr United. Almost exactly 1 year before - on 14 December 1993 - Dunfermline had hammered Ayr 6-1 at East End Park. The game featured here today would end in a similar scoreline with Paton's team at their very best.
The first goal of the game came after 9 minutes. Attacking the away end, Ivo Den Bieman's long throw was handled in the penalty box. Hamish French took the resultant penalty and put Dunfermline ahead with a shot into the corner of the net. Den Bieman was involved again in the second goal, in the 36th minute. The Dutch winger's cross was not cleared properly, with the ball then falling to French who headed in from close range.
Half time: Pars 2, Ayr United 0
Early in the second half, Ayr keeper Stuart McIntosh was injured after a collision with Pars midfielder Paul Smith. After playing on with a heavily strapped leg, the keeper eventually had to be replaced by young reserve keeper George Grierson. Unfortunately for the substitute keeper, his first involvement was when he failed to catch a Stewart Petrie cross. Ivo Den Bieman was in the right place to take advantage of the error, shooting home from 5 yards after 72 minutes.
Four minutes later, Pars sub Andy Tod squared the ball to Jackie McNamara for the Pars' fourth goal. McNamara's shot took a deflection off an Ayr defender but still found the net. It was the fullback's first goal for Dunfermline.
The fifth goal started with McNamara's pass to Den Bieman, whose perfectly placed cross was headed in by Tod inside the 6 yard box, with 81 minutes gone. In the 88th minute, Hamish French completed his hat trick, gliding through the Ayr defence and passing the ball into the net from 10 yards.
Dunfermline would end the season on a 16 game unbeaten run that still wasn't enough to win the title; once again, they were pipped to the automatic promotion place by one of their biggest rivals. In 1993/94 it had been Falkirk who finished a point ahead; 1994/95 ended with Raith Rovers winning the First Division by the same 1 point margin over Paton's team. The Pars had the consolation of the newly-introduced promotion play-offs but were beaten over 2 legs by Aberdeen. Paton's third season in charge, 1995/96, would see Dunfermline win the division in a season of heartbreak and remarkable team spirit.
Pars line-up v Ayr (player in background image - Derek Fleming):
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.