SPL: CELTIC 1 DUNFERMLINE ATHLETIC 2: 16/08/97
This was one of the events that inspires songlines, for if you know your history Pars victories at Celtic Park are scarce. On a beautiful summers afternoon, a wonderfully inviting playing surface and 45000 supporters the scene was perfect for Celtic’s opening Premier League home fixture. But what followed was a huge disappointment for the Celtic supporters and the exact opposite for the Pars faithful who had travelled through with little optimism in the hope that Celtic would not do too much damage to the team’s confidence.
Manager Paton had watched Hibs defeat Celtic and claimed to have sussed them out. Wim Jansen had said he was not yet going to change anything despite losses to Hibs and FC Tyrol. Bert’s tactics were supreme; fielding an unchanged side the Dunfermline bench comprised three outfield players (Den Bieman, Fraser and Fleming) because the manager knew that the heat would tire his players. Celtic missed the presence of Di Canio, Van Hooijdonk, Cadette and even Paul McStay. Still the fact that Dunfermline played much better than they did against Motherwell and thoroughly deserved to win should not be forgotten.
Shields, Tod, Barnett and Colin Miller played as a flat back four, Curran and French played in the midfield with Moore and Petrie on their flanks; Bingham and Andy Smith ran their hearts out up front. There were no failures for the Pars everyone putting in good performances. Allan Moore seemed to have the beating of Tosh McKinlay and Ian Westwater was commanding in goal. The match programme described Ivo Den Bieman by saying that he had played in every position for Dunfermline and had the minds taxed into when he might have played centre forward but that was the role he assumed when he came on as sub and gave the Celtic the kind of annoyance they just did not appreciate at that stage of the proceedings.
The early chances fell to Celtic with Jackson failing to score from Henrik Larsson’s cross in the 12th minute. Westie and the defence somehow kept the ball out. The Pars should have had a penalty eight minutes from half time but Referee Clark who was having quite a good game for Celtic contrived to give a corner. Jonathon Gould clearly pulled Bingham down in the box but no penalty. Two minutes later the Old Firm misery struck the Pars again as Celtic were awarded a penalty. Hamish French got the slimmest of touches on Larsson’s leg as he chased a Blinker pass inside the box. Andreas THOM converted and Paradise erupted with relief.
One down at half time it took the Pars only 42 seconds to get back on level terms. Allan Moore gathered the ball on the right, in front of the Dunfermline support, and crossed for BINGHAM who seemed to have lost the chance but turned magically to score.
Stewart Petrie twice and David Bingham again had the opportunities to put the Pars ahead and then with the Celtic supporters already leaving the ground, Ivo and Moory got the better of the left flank of the Celtic defence and the mercurial winger set off into the penalty box to be brought down by Mackay for a deserved penalty. Hamish FRENCH marched up and placed the ball in the same spot as he had done against Ayr the previous week. With fourteen minutes left Celtic then discovered that the Dunfermline side had perfected their defending. Ivo Den Bieman was straight through late on but having rounded the defence found that he could not remember how to shoot.
The final whistle came after a full five minutes of injury time and the Pars party started.
This will go down as one of the matches of the Pars season. The Pars support burst out into full song as they applauded the black and white heroes and the exit stairways boomed with Pars songs.
DUNFERMLINE: Ian Westwater, Greg Shields, Colin Miller, Andy Tod, Dave Barnett, Harry Curran, David Bingham (Ivo Den Bieman 66), Andy Smith (John Fraser 85), Hamish French, Stewart Petrie (Derek Fleming 71).
Yellow Cards: Petrie (7), Smith (40), Moore (45), Curran (54).
Referee: M Clark (Edinburgh)
Next match Coca Cola Cup v St Mirren (home) 7.45pm Wednesday 20/08/97
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