Scottish Cup 3rd Round: Dunfermline 1 Partick Thistle 0: 09/03/68

The Build-up

Since the previous round against Aberdeen, Dunfermline had lost both the league games they had played, 4-3 to Clyde, and 2-1 to Rangers at East End Park. The Rangers game was particularly galling, as their winner was scored with just five minutes remaining on the clock. Barrie Mitchell had given the Pars the lead, but ex-Par Alex Ferguson equalised, with Persson scoring the late winner. John Lunn had been sent off for retaliation in 65 minutes, after being fouled by Ferguson.

Partick`s route to the Third Round had seen them beat Kilmarnock 2-1 in a First Round replay after the first tie had been drawn 0-0, and then triumph 3-2 over Clyde in the second round.

Bobby Kinloch, signed after being released by Raith Rovers, went straight into the team to play Partick after Roy Barry`s appearance in front of the SFA`s Referee`s Committee, ended in a fortnight`s suspension and a forty pound fine.

The Match

If Dunfermline thought Partick Thistle were going to be easy opponents, they were in for a shock, as the Jags weren`t going to give in without a fight.

Thistle showed right from the start that they were up for the contest, and with just a minute on the clock, Kinloch`s tackle foiled Flanagan as he bore in on goal. Bent Martin then had to look lively to deal with a Rae drive. The keeper also had to save headers from Coulston and Rae. In between the activity at the Dunfermline end, a Mitchell header was the sole Pars effort that Niven had to save.

The Thistle attacks on the Dunfermline goal continued, and Rae found himself right through but Martin managed to knock his shot away. In 28 minutes, Paton sent Mitchell through and as Patrick Thistle keeper Niven advanced, he pushed the ball past the post, when scoring seemed to be the easier option.

Thistle replied immediately with a close-in drive that Martin saved instinctively. The assault on the Pars goal continued and Flanagan shot over before Martin grabbed the ball from Rae. The goalkeeper was in tremendous form but it looked like his luck had run out when after touching the ball away it was driven back in again, but thankfully Bobby Kinloch was on the line to clear. The danger went on, and Partick Thistle managed to hit the ball goalwards again, but this time the Danish keeper`s half save was fully cleared.

The Pars started the second half showing more determination and a Mitchell header gave Niven some trouble, before a Paton effort beat the goalkeeper, only to hit the post. Gardner could not reach the rebound.

After 64 minutes, Alex Edwards replaced Barrie Mitchell. He was immediately in action after Gardner passed to him when a shot might have been more productive. Paton then touched a bouncing ball over, when he got to a pass-back first.

Gardner missed badly when Paton had put him clear, but he shot wide when faced with the chance to close-in on goal. Then with just ten minutes remaining, Bert Paton scored the only goal of the game. A long ball to Paton was nudged onto Gardner who returned, for Paton to send it into the net.

Despite being behind, Partick weren`t out of it yet, and tried to get back on level terms, but the Athletic defence and Bent Martin in particular, held strong to see the Pars reach their fifth Scottish Cup semi-final in seven years.

The victory owed much to the heroics performed by the home defence, particularly in the first half when Thistle threatened to overcome the Pars on occasions. There were excellent performances from Kinloch, Willie Callaghan, Thomson, Lunn and man of the match, Bent Martin, who was at the top of his form.

Dunfermline: Martin, W Callaghan, Lunn, Thomson, Kinloch, T Callaghan, Lister, Paton, Gardner, Mitchell (Edwards), Robertson

Partick Thistle: Niven, Campbell, Muir, O`Neill, McKinnon, Gibb, Rae, McParland, Coulston, Flanagan, Gallagher (Duncan)

Referee: R.H.Davidson (Airdrie)
Attendance: 16,019

Postscript

The draw for the semi-final was not without some controversy. The original venue chosen for the game was Dundee`s Dens Park. However, as Celtic were due to play across the street at Tannadice on the same afternoon, the SFA decided to relocate the game to the second choice venue, Tynecastle.

After the game manager Farm paid tribute to 32 year old Bobby Kinloch for his performances in league and cup games, after he signed to provide emergency cover for injuries and suspensions. "Kinloch did a fine job as a stop gap centre-half. Fraser`s injury and Barry`s suspension exposed our limitations as far as reserve strength is concerned, and he might be needed again."

Whilst the first team were beating Partick Thistle, Jim Fraser made his come-back with the reserve side in their 2-0 victory over St Johnstone at Muirton Park.



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