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):