Winter, 1982: Dunfermline Athletic find themselves near the foot of the Scottish First Division. After 12 League games, the Pars had one just once; today we look at the 13th fixture in that season's League campaign, against our opponents this weekend, Alloa.
ALLOA 2, PARS 2
SCOTTISH SECOND DIVISION
6 NOVEMBER 1982
Pars boss Tom Forsyth had been appointed in September 1982 following the dismissal of Pat Stanton and a short period under interim (and future Alloa boss) Jimmy Thomson. Forsyth, a dour disciplinarian, had failed to improve on the results of his predecessors. By early November, the First Division League table looked like this (image taken from a scrapbook I kept from the period):
Alloa were enjoying a good season under manager Alex Totten, sitting sixth in the table and defeated only once at home. The Wasps team featured ex-Par Kenny Thomson, who had been released by Dunfermline in the summer of 1982, prematurely in the opinion of many, after 12 years' service. Thomson would go on to play a further 10 seasons in the Scottish League, retiring aged 41 in 1992.
The Alloa team were on top for most of the first half and went into a 2-0 lead with goals from Alan Holt and Davie Houston. The Pars defence were unable to cope with Alloa's wingers - Arthur Grant on the right and Stuart Munro on the left, and Hugh Hamill was lucky to only receive a yellow card after he pulled back Munro after the winger out-paced him and was about to run in on goal.
After barely threatening the Alloa goal, Dunfermline pulled a goal back in the 25th minute when Rab Stewart crossed for Bobby Forrest to head home.
The second half began with Dunfermline pressing for an equaliser. Stewart had claims for a penalty turned down after the ball struck Thomson's hand in the Alloa penalty box. Grant Jenkins seemed certain to get the Pars' second after a mazy run through the Alloa defence which ended with a shot that was hit wildly past the post.
The equaliser came after 61 minutes and it was something of a gift from the Alloa defence. Wasps keeper Donald Hunter miskicked a clearance, which was gathered by Stevie Morrison, who struck the ball firmly past the Alloa keeper.
Stewart almost got a winner for Dunfermline but narrowly failed to connect from a Morrison pass. Alloa were still a threat and Munro's dangerous run down the left ended with the winger passing to David Lloyd, whose shot was well saved by Hugh Whyte. Despite more Pars pressure, there were no more goals.
In the weeks following this game, the Pars' miserable run of results continued, including an embarrassing 6-0 defeat against the Wee Team on 3 January. The season ended with only 7 victories in total, and the team were relegated to the Second Division. Tom Forsyth stayed in charge until October 1983 when he was sacked after a poor start to the Second Division campaign. The next Pars boss would be a 29 year old ex-player who, in time, would turn the club's fortunes around completely after so many years in the doldrums: Jim Leishman's era would see Dunfermline return to the top flight and banish the memory of the disastrous Stanton and Forsyth seasons.
Pars line-up v Alloa (player in background image - Hugh Whyte):
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.
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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