SPL v Rangers
DUNFERMLINE 0 RANGERS 6 Date: 01/09/02
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League
Attendance: 8948, Kick Off: 15:00
After the disappointment of Tynecastle last week Jimmy Calderwood was looking for a victory to lay the ghost of various poor records against Rangers: 35 Premier League matches without one Pars win and thirty two and a half years since the last league home victory over Rangers.
The Gers were the last team to win at East End Park back in January and the Pars made three changes for their return to East End Park. Gus MacPherson was out injured while Jason Dair and Gary Dempsey move to the bench to make way for Sean Kilgannon and Scott Wilson who started for the first time for the Pars against his old team mates.
Rangers made one change Argentine World Cup star, Claudio Caniggia came in for the injured Peter Lovenkrands.
After a minute`s silence in respect for former Dunfermline Chairman, Mel Rennie who died earlier in the day it was Rangers who kicked off playing towards the Norrie McCathie Stand.
Within 30 seconds there was a dangerous break up the Rangers left. Lee Bullen`s clearance rebounded back off Ronald De Boer and the Dutchman sped up the wing to send over a good ball to Arveladze on the edge of the six yard box. Andrius Skerla made a great tackle to avoid an early setback.
The Pars settled down and things briefly looked promising when the Fifers got two shots in in the 8th and 9th minute. Firstly Hampshire`s pass to Bullen was sent over for Crawford to try a flick over his head to Brewster. The attempt failed but still Nicholson managed a shot that was wide.
Stevie Crawford managed a good shot set up for him after Brewster controlled, beat off Moore then passed from the centre of the park. Klos could not hold the effort but no danger followed from the corner.
When things were looking bright for Dunfermline Rangers put the lights out. A terrible mix up in the centre of the Pars defence with Scott Wilson and Lee Bullen leaving the rolling pass from Ricksen run through for CANIGGIA. Claudio rounded Marco Ruitenbeek on the six yard box to tuck the ball away from the left.
Two minutes later despite the attentions of markers Bullen and Skerla Caniggia and De Boer managed to set up Arveladze and he had a good shot turned around the post by Marco.
The Georgian had the ball in the net in the 14th minute but he was offside and his good 25 yard finish was ruled out. Strong play from Nicholson in midfield created an opportunity for Thomson but the skipper`s chipped shot from the edge of the box was over the crossbar
Nipper was being pushed forward to try and tighten up the midfield as Jimmy Calderwood played one against one at the back. A clearance out of defence was latched on to by Stevie Crawford and he raced upfield before unleashing the ball left for Kilgannon whose shot was turned away for a corner.
There was further optimism in the 24th minute when Brewster again controlled a long pass and sent the ball through for Gay Mason. The former Man City man was closed out by the covering back Ferguson and Muscat.
Another warning came the home side`s way two minutes later when Marco did well to get a hand to a powerful Ricksen shot. The Spaniard ARTETA then opened his goal scoring account. Receiving the ball from Caniggia Arteta turned and fell as Bullen flew in to tackle without result. The Rangers no.23 picked himself up and placed a fine shot into the top right corner of the net from all of 20 yards.
Dunfermline`s only response was a Brewster header from a Nicholson cross and a shot from Crawford that Malcolm blocked. Ruitenbeek pulled off another fine save from Arveladze after another Caniggia break. The resulting corner from Arteta brought about a good header from Moore that Ruitenbeek again saved brilliantly to diving his left.
Four minutes from half time a Fernando Ricksen goal put the match beyond Dunfermline. An Arveladze shot was tipped over the crossbar by Marco but when the corner came in from the left Wilson headed clear and was left to chase it. RICKSEN collected the ball and drilled it between Mason and Thomson low into the bottom left of the goals.
Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Rangers 3
The second half opened with Arverladze firing in a shot that Ruitenbeek saved with his feet, followed quickly by a break down the left by the same player that ran through the six yard box to de Boer and Barry Ferguson eventually despatched the ball over the crossbar.
Brewster picked out Crawford in the 55th minute but the recently recalled Scotland striker delayed too long and didn`t get in a shot. The ball was played back to Barry Nicholson but he lost possession. Play switched to the other end and Scott Wilson was forced into a dodgy tackle on Shota Arverladze. The player took the ball and the man and Referee McDonald awarded a penalty.
Barry FERGUSON took the spot kick and tucked it away in the bottom right of the goals with Ruitenbeek being sent the wrong way. Two minutes later Rangers scored again and it was 5-0. Arteta swung over a free kick from the right side, the ball evaded a number of players but landed at Lee Bullen`s feet. Taken by surprise the ball rebounded off Bully and CANIGGIA hammered home his second of the afternoon.
Jimmy Calderwood sent on Jason Dair and Gary Dempsey for Lee Bullen and Barry Nicholson but there was no way this Rangers machine was going to wind down. A Sean Kilgannon free kick was headed on target by Scott Thomson but Rangers Stefan Klos made a diving save.
Crawford quickly had another chance to impress when Dair`s pass to Brewster was played across the Rangers box for Stevie but his 63rd minute effort went over the crossbar. Two minutes later Dair was harshly yellow carded for his challenge on Arteta and the Spaniard fired over the set piece. The ball broke off Scott Wilson`s shoulder but Marco produced yet another fine save.
Things were ragged in the home defence and Ricksen`s ball across the six yard box was fortunately missed by Caniggia. The Argies hattrick was not far away however. A 67th minute corner on the right was cleared only as far as de Boer on the right of goal. He struck over a ball that CANIGGIA met and despatched into the Pars net to make it six and completed his hattrick.
The Pars were lucky not to be facing a 73rd minute penalty after Wilson handled in the box and their counter was a sole shot from Dair and a 85th minute move from Hampshire to Brewster down the right followed by a good cross into the penalty box that Crawford had a flying effort at without making contact.
The final whistle could not come quickly enough. Dempsey had a last minute shot that predictably fell just wide before Dougie McDonald called a halt to the torture. Yet another embarrassing Pars performance in front of live national television.
Maybe someday the Pars will find a way to avoid humiliation in Old Firm games and that day cannot come quick enough. If it had not been for the heroic`s of Marco Ruitenbeek the score might have reached double figures. As it was the six goal losing margin was the worst home defeat from Rangers since 1958. Who needs records!
Ladbrokes Championship: v Falkirk, Tuesday 2nd January 2018, kick off 3.00pm