Scottish Cup: CELTIC 4 DUNFERMLINE 0: 13/02/99

OUT BUT NOT DOWN

There was one Henrik Larsson too many for Dunfermline. The Swede hit his second successive hat-trick as Dunfermline were dumped out of the cup for the second year running by Celtic. Failure to keep Larsson under control was the principal reason for the level of defeat. By the time he was withdrawn mid way through the second half the tie was over as a contest.

A mad quarter of an hour just before half time saw the Pars leak four goals which stunned everyone in the ground. Yet those who only read scorelines will conclude wrongly that bottom of the league, Dunfermline were totally over run by Celtic. Not so.

All three of the recently suspended Pars men were available for the cup tie but Dick Campbell left out Scott McCulloch (because as he revealed at lunchtime, McCulloch is still suspended for next week’s game) and brought in Scott Thomson at left back. Starting places for Stewart Petrie and Marc Millar meant the impressive young hope Chris McGroarty was left on the bench with Richard Huxford and Colin Nish.

Dunfermline started well playing westwards away from the 1000 or so noisy Pars supporters in the south east stand. Immediately Stewart Petrie ran through the makeshift Celtic defence and should have done better than fire straight at Jonathan Gould in the Celtic goal.
George Shaw pinged over a corner that Petrie tried to find Andy Smith with. The clearance landed for Hamish French whose drive just failed to be turned into goal by the outstretched Smith.
Riseth conceded another corner and Andy Tod connected with George Shaw’s cross to bring out a great save from Gould.
The opening 25 minutes really was all Dunfermline with the midfield picking up everything to throw back at Celtic. It seemed that the team’s pre-match lunch at the Garfield Hotel had featured lots of rare meat.

As we have cruelly witnessed on previous visits to Celtic Park all the fierce pressure from the Pars failed to register goals and the tame and battered Celtic ventured forward after 25 minutes for Larsson to score with their first visit to the Dunfermline goalmouth. McKinlay crossed from the left and Larsson timed his leap to get a free header past Butler.

Five minutes later McNamara headed into the Pars penalty box and as he attempted to round Andy Tod the defender restricted the former Pars star’s progress. Referee Eric Martindale handed Celtic a penalty. Larsson hit the centre of the net as Butler dived to his side, 2-0.
There might have been hope if Athletic could have got one back then and they did have a chance before Harald Brattback shot in low from the edge of the box to make it 3 with just 38 minutes gone.

Just to kill the tie off Larsson drew the keeper and lobbed a fourth into the net three minutes later.

The second half could have turned into a St Valentines massacre but Lee Butler save the blushes and kept a clean second half sheet assisted by a Brattback penalty going wide of the keeper left hand post. Marc Millar got himself into a scoring position but predictably the chance went adrift.

By the end many of the visiting fans had left, not all of their own accord it has to be said. The Celtic Park stewards and police were a law unto themselves with steward number 50 being their man of the match. The authorities succeeded in conjuring up more civil unrest than even Andy Goram could ever have managed at Parkhead. Heavy handedness and total inability to take the heat out of the situation following Celtic’s 31st minute penalty led to the ejection of scores of unhappy Pars men and left children terrified to leave their seats for a pie or pizza until well into the second half.

Dunfermline may be out of the Scottish Cup but they face 12 cup finals between now and the end of the season. The side demonstrated at Celtic Park that they do have ambition and skills. They need a bit more luck, sturdier defending and above all goals. On Saturday`s evidence the fat lady might not be singing until well into the month of May.

Dunfermline: Butler, Millar (McGroarty 79), Tod, Shields, Thomson; Shaw (Nish 66), French, Ferguson (Huxford 65), Petrie; Graham, Smith.
Yellow Cards: Petrie (29),Tod (37),.Shields (89).

Referee Eric Martindale (Glasgow)
Attendance 47194

Next Match V Kilmarnock (away) Saturday 20th February 1999



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