SFL First Division: MORTON 2 DUNFERMLINE 0: 06/05/00
This was a day that was more about off than on the park.
Morton fans held a pre match protest march against their unpopular Chairman Hugh Scott. To the astonishment of some of the media Dunfermline fans joined in the protest march. The car park was closed to mass the revolt and there were claims that their number had gone into four figures.
This Chairman attempted to buy Rugby Park in 1988 when he was a Killie fan with a view to building houses on it. Now in 2000 he has swapped the blue and white stripes for blue and white hoops but his aim still appears to be to make as great a personal gain out of Morton than anything else.
Some home fans resisted giving Hugh Scott any more funds by watching the match from the “hill” – the car park which overlooks the ground. Unfortunately Scott had taken moves late in the week to board up most of the open east end, forcing some protesters up trees for a view of their team. The boarding up resulted in the ground being much fuller than would have been expected. The official attendance was given at 979 but Hugh Scott is described in the “Cappielow Bugle” fanzine as having “compulsive liar’s lips” and I would estimate the attendance nearer twice that with Dunfermline taking around 600 through.
With the Cappielow Cowshed still untouched Pars fans were certainly willing to join ranks in vocal support of Hugh Scott’s removal.
Don’t know if the Chairman and Directors actually joined in the chants but they too didn’t seem to get much of a welcome from Mr Scott either. Surprise pre match tipplers in the Norseman Bar were Paul D’Mello, John Yorkston and various members of the Pars board. The movers and shakers seemed happy to mingle with the many Dunfermline folk in the Norseman and probably did as much good in PR terms with their supporters as Hugh Scott did against the Morton followers.
Discussions confirmed that Stevie Crawford was getting closer towards settling with DA. And so off to the match where Morton were taking seriously reports of sun causing skin cancer. On a nice sunny day the fans had to sit in the shaded South stand and watch the sun drench the empty west terracing. One of the many chants during that first half was “We’re going over there, over there” until at half time the terracing were possessed by the sunseeking supporters.
With a bit of good fortune this might be Dunfermline’s last game outwith the SPL for some time. This end of term outing to the tail of the bank saw the return (and departure?) of Ian Westwater with his first start since January and the last appearance on 300 for the Silver Fox, Hamish French.
Debuts for Mark McGarty and Kevin McLeish. Mark’s father played for Dunfermline in the 1968 Cup Final and so follows Willie Callaghan as a son following a famous father into the Dunfermline team. If Hamish hangs about much longer we might see a son playing in the same side as his father/grandfather!
Well the game was an absolute anticlimax. Probably the worst performance under Calderwood. One down after 8 minutes when Craig McPherson walked through our defence we never really looked like getting in on the occasion.
After 12 minutes Stewart Petrie got on to a lofted through ball but the keeper intercepted his cross before Owen Coyle could get to it. Mark McGarty had a good shot from about 30 yards out and again the keeper saved.
Lee Bullen looked to have won a free kick on the edge of the box after 25 minutes but instead was booked for diving. Ten minutes later a Jason Dair shot was spilled by the keeper but Crawford (with new bleached out hair) could only stab the ball wide left of the post.
Petrie had another cross that was falling to Coyle before Harry Curran appeared to head away the danger. Four minutes before the interval Justin Skinner almost waltzed the ball through the heart of the Morton defence but having beaten at least two men the keeper just rescued the ball before Skinner could shoot.
The second half was even worse than the first but in the sunshine it no longer seemed to matter. The home fans came and stood where Dunfermline had been seated in the first 45 and the songs were friendly and at times united by their mutual enemies.
Petrie 58th minute corner flashed across the box with no connection made before Harry Curran burst through top set up a shot which thankfully hit the upright. Back to the other end and a Petrie shot was deflected into the Morton net by an offside Stevie Crawford.
Westie tipped another Morton effort over the bar as Pars people chanted “there’s only one Harry Curran”!
Then with 76 minutes gone Harry swept a ball out right where two Morton men had oodles of space. The cross was converted by John ANDERSON and the Pars fans even clapped.
Let’s hope the Dunfermline cricketers do better against Greenock in Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie at McKane Park.
DUNFERMLINE: Westwater, Thomson (Reid 76), Skinner, Potter; McGarty, French (McLeish 81), Crawford, Petrie, Dair; Coyle (Templeman 70), Bullen.
Yellow cards: Bullen (25), Petrie (38)
League Position 2nd
Strip: Yellow away
Weather: Warm and Sunny
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