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.