Scottish Cup v Rangers
DUNFERMLINE 1 RANGERS 1 Date: 23/03/03
Fixture: Tennent`s Scottish Cup
Attendance: 9875, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: John Underhill, Weather: Sunny 12ºC
Out went Kilgannon, Bullen and Walker and in McGarty, McGroarty and Mason as Dunfermline made three changes from the previous Sunday`s SPL match at Kilmarnock. Rangers kicked off into the bright Spring sunshine but it was Dunfermline who were brighter in the opening minutes. The Pars started with determination and a drive forward by Craig Brewster teed up Gary Mason with a shot from 22 yards that Stefan Klos saved reasonably comfortably.
Next a Chris McGroarty run up the left fed Nicholson the ball via Crawford but Barry couldn`t control it and although the ball fell for McGroarty his shot was charged down.
In the 12th minute Derek Stillie went well out right to prevent a header back going out for a corner. The clearance went straight to the opposition and they passed it out for Ronald de Boer who shot from the touchline and sent the ball rolling wide of the right goalpost.
Next minute Caniggia`s cross to the far post saw McCann sneak in front of McGarty to head wide. Rangers continued to push and Ged Brannan put in a vital tackle on the top of his penalty area after de Boer pinched the ball off Scott Wilson as he tried to shield the ball out at the right corner flag and then sent the ball over to Caniggia.
Crawford swung play up to the other end, stepping over Malcolm`s sliding challenge to send over a ball that Moore stabbed away and then Craw returned it only to be headed out again.
In the Rangers box Brewster and Crawford tried hard to get through the Rangers defence before a Konterman pass from in front of the Rangers dug out sent Ricksen up the right. The Dutchman`s cross in was headed behind by Mason for the first corner of the game in the 22nd minute. Konterman was up over McGarty to head wide left.
Midway through the first half Dunfermline took the lead when Craig Brewster accepted a long header from Mason. Back to goal about 20 yards out the tall striker fed the pass back for David GRONDIN to fire low and hard into the far side of the goal.
Rangers forced corners and free kicks as they looked for an equaliser which duly arrived in the 31st minute. Konterman passed from the halfway line to de Boer. The Dutchman turned and left Gus MacPherson in his slipstream as the burst sent CANIGGIA through to despatch the ball passed the advancing Stillie from 15 yards out.
A Wilson foul on De Boer resulted in a free kick 30 yards out. Ferguson blasted it into the four man defensive wall. On 37 minutes with McCann behind him McGarty corner from Caniggia cross. Arteta took the corner short and Wilson belted a clearance when the ball came over.
Next minute a great ball from Mason sent Crawford speeding down the right with Muscat closing him down. Berti Vogts watching from the Directors box then witnessed his Scotland strikers shot narrowly deflected through the six yard box and outside the left goalpost.
Brewster headed away a Rangers corner five minutes from the interval then Bert Konterman`s shot was blocked and Stillie performed heroics as McCann`s cross found de Boer and his header looked a certain goal until the Pars keeper dived to his left.
Within a minute Stillie was diving to his right to deny Muscat and then Klos matched the goalkeeping show with a good blocking save on Crawford following a driving run down the right.
Rangers may have had the lion`s share of the possession but the Pars had the chances to dismiss statistical analysis.
Half Time 1-1
Early in the second 45 Ricksen`s challenge on Brewster won a free kick just outside the penalty area on the left side. Nicholson`s ball reached Brannan but he headed on to Moore who got the ball away.
Gus MacPherson dumped Arteta off the ball but no whistle from John Underhill which no doubt spurred Ricksen into thinking that he could get away with a strong tackle on Crawford. A yellow card was pulled out however for that one.
Barry Nicholson was substituted by Hunt as a recurring neck injury ruled out the ex Rangers man.
Two more yellows were shown four minutes later when Ferguson pushed away Noel Hunt after Muscat had tangled with the Dunfermline sub. Surprisingly it was Muscat not Ferguson who was shown the card as well as Hunt.
Crawford next headed on to Brewster who turned and shot wide right on 62 minutes. In the 64th minute the third Dunfermline corner of the match was easily dealt with by Konterman.
In the 69th minute Chris McGroarty did well to prevent Caniggia`s second when de Boer broke down left, slipped it wide for McCann to deliver a great ball into the six yard box. Rangers were coming back into the game after a good second half push from the Pars. De Boer was causing the problems but the defence held strong as Rangers had their ninth corner of the game.
McCann`s cross in the 72nd minute was headed into the side netting by de Boer.
Derek Stillie`s fine 76th minute save from Ferguson won Rangers a 12th corner and then another which Moore headed down at the far post. It was frantic stuff as both sides tried to reduce the need for a replay on 9th April.
In the 82nd minute Arteta took a corner from the right which Konterman headed on to produce a diving header from Arveladze remarkably cleared the crossbar. The ball was bouncing about the Pars penalty area but the defence kept clearing.
A 86th minute free kick came to nothing after Moore had completed the set of yellow cards for the Rangers back four. There were claims for a penalty when Arteta went down in the box as Brannan tackled.
The referee did react however in the 89th minute when a high tackle, studs in from Barry Ferguson took Noel Hunt out on the left touch line. Out came the red card and Rangers were forced to play out the two added minutes with ten men.
A well won replay after a fine contest which saw a great first goal for David Grondin and the return of the fighting Fife spirit that seems to have been so lacking since the winter break. Alex McLeish`s parting comment was "at least we are still in the Cup!"