SPL: RANGERS 1 DUNFERMLINE 0: 14/04/99
The days of having to queue for Dunfermline end tickets for Ibrox are probably still distant but really the visit to this massive stadium has to be a highlight of the season for the travelling supporter.
Dick Campbell brought Richard Huxford into the team at left back to look after the trouble called Kanchelskis and Andy Smith was made a substitute as Scott Thomson lined up on the right flank of midfield. The only other change from the starting team at Pittodrie was, back to fitness, Andy Tod replacing Jamie Squires.
Dunfermline were presented with a chance in the opening minute before Amoruso’s concentration was warmed up but David Graham failed to secure the dream start. Rangers then deposited themselves in the Dunfermline half for a spell McCann getting away from Marc Millar an effort that bounced nicely for him only to see his shot crash off the crossbar.
Guivarc’h pathetically failed to sink two glorious chances as Graham had a header saved at the other end and Scott Thomson sent a 36 minute drive wide of the target. A minute later the stadium erupted the music started up and the Pars fans sat quiet. Yes Rangers scored. Huxford was caught standing too far off Andrei Kanchelskis and the Soviet ran through between him and Dolan to dispatch a neat ball to Van Bronkhorst who slotted low past Butler’s near post.
Into the second period and the half was only 8 minutes old when its strong physical element continued with Amoruso felling David Graham. Referee Willie Young deemed the offence to be a high kick and took no action against the Italian who had already collected a yellow card in the first half. Andy Smith came on for Graham 12 minutes later as the young striker was clearly dazed.
Marc Millar caused a fright with a short pass back to Butler but Dunfermline were giving Rangers some worries. Driving goalward Scott Thomson was brought down by Wallace and the Englishman received a yellow card. There was clearly a shoot on sight policy and the attempts from Dair, Dolan and Petrie were no danger to the inside of the nets. The Pars post was rattled by a Hendry header but Dunfermline pushed up with an admirable attacking game plan.
In the end defeat was conceded but the narrowest of defeats did little harm to the Dunfermline goal difference. In fact with Hearts losing by 2 to Celtic the evening had a small positive reflection. Dunfermline’s confidence was not dented by this performance and the remaining matches are all winnable on current form.
Dunfermline stars were Butler, Graham and Shields. Stewart Petrie worked hard and took some hefty tackles. The fact that Rangers were so ineffective probably suggests that there were other good but less noticeable performances from a midfield who prevented Rangers from turning on their hidden talents. Disappointingly the Pars failed to play much down the right wing where Tony Vidmar was certainly the Gers achilles heel.
Dick Campbell said after the match that he was very annoyed that having come to Ibrox and playing such an attacking game that four good chances had been created but none were taken.
The Pars team were applauded off the park by the 300+ visitors and then it was off to find the car. It helps when you failed to find a parking space that you can desert it with a blond lady driver who can talk her way into the parking lot beside the floodlit pitches at the stadiums front door. And yes she even managed to find it after the match!
No one expected Dunfermline to win at Ibrox but surely Dunfermline are not First Division bound. Bring on the Killie.
DUNFERMLINE: Butler; Millar, Tod, Shields, Huxford; Thomson, Dair, Dolan, Petrie; Graham (Smith 65), Coyle.
Subs not used: Westwater, Squires, Fraser, Martin.
Yellow card: Huxford (31)
Referee W Young
League position 10th
Next match V Kilmarnock (home) Saturday 17th April 1999
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