Throwback features different Pars memories, games, players and seasons. This week, I look back at my own top 5 Pars games in my 26 years as a Dunfermline fan. I have only included games I was at.
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Dunfermline 2, Rangers 0: after an outstanding goal from Stevie Crawford in the first half, the second goal is possibly the most famous own goal ever scored for Dunfermline. Rangers defender Paulo Vanoli turned the ball past his own keeper Stefan Klos sparking mayhem in the home end. That evening I went onto dafc.net and using the tune to "That's Amore" wrote lyrics that began, "When the ball's in the net, and it's not Hunt or Mehmet, it's Vanoli...."
Dunfermline 2, Raith 1: 1-0 down at half time to our rivals, had the result stood they would have led the First Division (now Championship) with 2 games remaining. Martin Hardie, who had already scored several goals in the weeks leading up to this game, equalised and then with 12 minutes remaining took a free kick that has gone down in Pars legend. "That's never 10 yards......"
Dundee 4, Dunfermline 4: The First Division's top 2 teams met at Dens Park and with minutes remaining, the home side were 4-2 ahead. Hamish French pulled a goal back from the penalty spot then with time running out, Dunfermline captain Norrie McCathie launched himself at a cross and powered a header into the net. An incredible game.
Dunfermline 4, Clydebank 3: The first game after Norrie McCathie's tragic passing, emotions were running high as the Pars went 3-0 up. Visitors Clydebank, who had lost Davie Cooper in tragic circumstances the year before, came back into the game and eventually made it 3-3. The Pars players looked shattered. Craig Robertson, the new club captain, then scored a piledriver to win the game. The outpouring of emotion was felt all around the ground.
Dundee United 0, Dunfermline 1: A few months after the Clydebank game, the Pars were battling it out with Dundee United for the First Division title. With 2 games remaining, the league trophy was in a car outside Tannadice as a United win would have given them the title. Dunfermline went ahead through Stewart Petrie, who was later harshly sent off. The 10 men Pars team held on to win, against the odds, before winning the league in the final game the following week. The players did this for Norrie, and although the number 4 jersey had been retired after his death, it was still possible to imagine him in the penalty area that day at Tannadice, clearing the ball and leading his team to a magnificent victory.
Dunfermline 2, St Mirren 0
December 16, 2000
Season 1999/2000 saw Dunfermline return to the Premier League after a 1 season absence, promoted after finishing runners-up to St Mirren in the First Division. A rivalry between the clubs developed at that time as a result of this, with the Pars determined to prove that they were the better side.
Dunfermline went into this Premier League game in December 2000 on a disappointing run of only 1 win in 6 games. The team were adapting to life back in the top division with a much changed squad under manager Jimmy Calderwood.
The BBC report from the game noted that although both teams had chances, "Dunfermline showed far greater composure and converted the chances that mattered."
Scott Thomson put the Pars ahead in the 37th minute. Stevie Crawford's shot was saved by Saints keeper Ian McCaldon but the rebound fell to Nipper whose firm shot gave the keeper no chance.
In 73 minutes, Chris McGroarty doubled Dunfermline's lead after his mazy run through the visitors' defence ended with him placing the ball past McCaldon.
Thomson almost got a third Pars goal in the final minute but his well struck shot hit the post.
The win kept Dunfermline in 9th position, with 23 points, and began an 8 game sequence where only 1 defeat was suffered. Saints fell to 11th, on 12 points.
I am pleased to have input from Scott "Nipper" Thomson about this game. Scott kindly replied to a message I sent him asking for any memories he had of the game and of that period. Many thanks to him for taking the time to give his input. Here's what he had to say:
"I can't remember much about my goal but I remember wee Chris' goal as he danced around a good few men and tucked it away nicely...he was as surprised as us when he finished it....we were comfortable the whole time and knew we were a better team and squad than them and we were still disappointed that we had lost the league to them and went up as runners up to them."
Ruitenbeek, Skinner, Skerla, Rossi, Nicholson, Ferguson, Thomson, Moss, McGroarty, Crawford, Hampshire.
The Scottish League campaign of 1964/65 kicked off with boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson invited to a Pars game and staging a ceremonial kick off. The game, against Rangers at Ibrox, took place on 19 August 1964 but in the presence of Sugar Ray, neither team was able to land a knockout blow, with the game finishing goalless.
Dunfermline finished the season in 3rd place, only a point behind title winners Kilmarnock. This was the closest the Pars got to winning the Scottish League title. The team also reached the Scottish Cup Final, losing to Celtic. In Europe, the Pars reached the third round of the Fairs Cup (now Europa League), losing out to Athletic Bilbao in a play-off game after the teams were level after playing home and away. The Pars team that lost the play-off game was:
Herriot, W. Callaghan, Lunn, Thomson, McLean, T. Callaghan, Edwards, Smith, Kilgannon, Melrose, Peebles.
Club legend and (still) highest ever goalscorer Charlie Dickson made 1 appearance for the club that season, in the League Cup against Rangers on 16 September 1964, and it was to be his last. He made a total of 340 appearances for Dunfermline, scoring 215 goals. He moved to Queen of the South, scoring 21 goals in 35 games.
Alex Ferguson was Dunfermline's top scorer in 1964/65 with 22 goals in 45 appearances. This was Fergie's first season at East End Park, but despite being top scorer, he was not selected for the starting 11 that lost the Scottish Cup Final to Celtic. The following season, Fergie scored 39 goals in 48 games, and followed that with 29 goals in 44 games in his third and final season with Dunfermline, in 1966/67. He then moved to Rangers having scored 90 goals in 3 years for the Pars.
The great Sugar Ray Robinson, meanwhile, was on a tour of Europe in 1964, taking on fights in various venues, his best days long behind him. Two weeks after the photo at the start of this article was taken, Robinson, fought, and lost, to British boxer Mick Leahy in an exhibition fight in Paisley Ice Rink. At 43, Robinson remained a huge attraction for audiences but was no longer fighting to the standard of his younger days when he won 6 world boxing titles between 1946 and 1960.
Sugar Ray Robinson photo credit: found at 'Picture This Scotland' Twitter page (link: twitter.com/74frankfurt).