1961 Cup Run Menu

 

1st April 1961

SCOTTISH CUP SEMI FINAL
By Brian Donovan

The Build-up

Following the Alloa game, the Pars had experienced mixed fortunes in the league. Excellent victories against Partick Thistle (2-1. Scorers: Mailer, Melrose) and St Johnstone (5-1. Scorers: Peebles (2), Melrose (2), Dickson), were followed by a 2-1 defeat against Celtic at Parkhead. Harry Melrose scored for the Pars to give then the lead in 19 minutes, but goals from Fernie and Byrne secured the victory for Celtic. The results left Dunfermline sitting in 12th place in Division One, with Semi Final opponents St Mirren 2 places higher.

The tipsters were divided on which team would progress to the final. In many minds, a draw seemed the most likely outcome, despite the fact that current league form suggested that the Buddies may have a slight advantage.

St Mirren's passage to the semi-final had been impressive, although their third round tie against Third Lanark had required a replay, before Saints won through convincingly:

1st round Bye

2nd round Dundee United (a) 1 - 0

3rd round Third Lanark (h) 3 - 3

Replay Third Lanark (a) 8 - 0

Q-Final Hearts (a) 3 - 0

In the Athletic camp, following their convincing victory against Aberdeen in the Third Round, there was an air of optimism about the team. Jock Stein's preparations for the game included a full scale practice match under the East End floodlights, as well as tactic talks, and specific training aimed at offsetting the Paisley team's strengths, and playing on their weaknesses.

Match Report

Dunfermline Athletic (0) 0 St Mirren (0) 0

This match may have had no goals, but there was no lack of excitement or drama, as both teams battled for a chance to appear in the Scottish Cup Final on 22nd April.

In 8 minutes, a Rodgers cross bounced on top of the bar forcing Jim Fraser to clear sharply. Then Peebles released Smith, whose shot hit the keeper and came back to Melrose, who missed his chance. Melrose then brought out the best in Saints keeper Brown, with a fierce drive.

Peebles and Dickson then proceeded to rip open the Saints defence, and when Dickson's cross came over, McLindon dummied it, but Smith's back heel was blocked. Kerrigan, then burst through at the other end to give Dunfermline a scare, but Connachan blocked his shot.

In 17 minutes, St Mirren had a real chance to open the scoring when a long pass from Stewart found Miller, who crossed low into the path of Bryceland. Fortunately he swung at the ball, and missed it completely. The Saints then had another chance, when Bryceland put Don Kerrigan through. Having beaten Williamson and Cunningham, he shot towards goal, but Connachan deflected the ball away with his foot.

Dickson managed to evade Wilson and Riddell, but McLindon missed from his cross. At the Dunfermline end, Rodger was on target with a cross come shot, but George Miller was in the right position to block. That was the last action of the first half, and as the referee blew his whistle, the Pars had every right to feel confident about their chances in the second half.

Just after the interval, the Pars had an excellent opportunity to open their account when Mailer broke down the right and crossed. McLindon headed the ball onto Smith, who side footed the ball onto the bar.

Ten minutes into the second half, Charlie Dickson headed a ball that had Jimmy Brown the Saints goalkeeper well beaten, but it flew just over the bar. However, whilst in mid air, Dickson was challenged by Clunie, and Charlie now lay lifeless on the pitch. Trainer Jimmy Stevenson attended the player and called for a stretcher. Charlie was taken off with concussion, and later moved to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Dickson's departure was a big blow to everyone associated with the Pars, but now playing with 10 men for the remaining 35 minutes, it made the determination of the team that much greater.

Once play resumed, McTavish had a great shot well saved by Connachan. With 12 minutes left on the clock, Bryceland netted for Saints, but the goal was chalked off due to offside. With the Buddies now in the ascendancy, they toughened their approach to the game, and things got a bit rougher. Bryceland then missed two golden opportunities, and Connachan was by far the busier of the two keepers.

Towards the end, a Saints corner saw Clunie collide with Connachan, and with the keeper lying flat on his back, the referee allowed play to continue for some seconds. Thankfully Connachan recovered, and the game ended goalless, with the teams having to meet again on the Wednesday evening (5th April) to determine who would play Celtic in the final.

Dunfermline: Connachan, Fraser, Cunningham, Mailer, Williamson, Miller, Peebles, Smith, Dickson, McLindon, Melrose.

St Mirren: Brown, Campbell, Wilson, Stewart, Clunie, Riddell, Rodger, Bryceland, Kerrigan, McTavish, Miller

Referee: G Bowman (Clydebank)

Postscript

An estimated 10,000 Athletic supporters made the trip across the river to Tynecastle by car, bus, ferry and train. The enthusiastic supporters waved banners reading 'Dunfermline for the Cup', or replicas of the Scottish Cup itself.

As the teams took the field, well-wishers from both sides ran onto the pitch. One even presented Charlie Dickson with an Easter Egg.

Match reports in the early sixties did not include the plethora of statistics that we take for granted today. However, for the semi-final game against St Mirren, the Dunfermline Press provided a full set of statistics that illustrated the advantage the Pars enjoyed over their rivals:

Pars

Saints

Free Kicks Conceded - 1st half

5

8

Free Kicks Conceded - 2nd half

5

7

Shies won

30

32

Corners won

7

8

Bye kicks won

10

17

Offside against

6

4

Scottish Cup Semi Finals - 1st April 1961

Hampden Park

Airdrieonians

0

Celtic

4

   

Tynecastle

Dunfermline Athletic

1

St Mirren

0

31,930

4,821