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.