Today we look back at a game from November 1998 between the Pars and our opponents this weekend, Dundee United. Both teams were managed by legendary former players - Pars' 1960s icon Bert Paton for Dunfermline and ex-United striker Paul Sturrock for the Tannadice team.
DUNFERMLINE 2, DUNDEE UNITED 1
SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 15 NOVEMBER 1998
A superb crowd of 10,704 for this Sunday match saw United opened the scoring in the 3rd minute. Billy Dodds took a pass inside the box, turned his marker Greg Shields and laid the ball off to Alex Mathie. The United striker curled a shot into the top left hand of Pars keeper Lee Butler's goal. Butler got a hand to the shot but could not prevent it going in.
Dunfermline equalised after 26 minutes. Andy Smith passed to Edinho inside the United penalty box. The Brazilian passed to Gavin Johnson and from his cross Andy Tod looped a header into the United net.
The Pars then took the lead in the 35th minute. A free kick 25 yards from goal was struck by Scott McCulloch, low and hard into the bottom corner, with United keeper Sieb Dijkstra (all 6'5'' of him) diving full length but unable to reach the shot the whistled past him at the post. It was fullback McCulloch's only goal in the 40 appearances he made for Dunfermline. Three months after this game, he left the Pars to sign for United for a fee reported to be around £300,000.
With 4 minutes remaining in the first half, Mathie hit the post for United. Dunfermline held on to go into the break 2-1 ahead.
Andy Smith almost extended Dunfermline's lead after barely 2 minutes into the second half. A freekick found Smith unmarked, 8 yards out but his header was saved by Dijkstra, who also blocked the follow-up shot from Smith.
Mathie came close to equalising for United after 60 minutes. His close range flick was cleared off the line by Greg Shields. Play was flowing from ened to end and in the 68th minute, Smith's header from another Johnson cross narrowly missed the goal with Dijkstra beaten.
United were given a chance to draw level after 74 minutes. A backpass was picked up by keeper Butler and a freekick awarded to United on the 6 yard line. The entire Pars team lined up across the goal line, with Butler centre, rushing to block the shot from Billy Dodds and then clearing. It was to be the last clear cut chance of the game.
This would be one of only 4 victories in the Premier League that season for a beleaguered Dunfermline squad. After achieving a fifth place finish on their return to the top division in 1996/97, the Pars fell to eighth the following season and then last place in 1998/99. The goals conceded total in 1998/99 - 59 - was 6 less than in the fifth place 96/97 season but too many games were drawn (16) and the team scored just 28 League goals. Bert Paton resigned in January 1999 after 5 and a half seasons in charge and was replaced by his assistant, Dick Campbell but there was to be no upturn in results and the team slipped back into the second tier.
Pars line-up v Dundee United, with squad numbers (player in background image - Greg Shields):