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Monthly Digest - September 2001

Barry Nicholson and Stevie Crawford remain on the bench as Scotland draw 0-0 with Croatia. Meanwhile, Andrius Sekerla is withdrawn from the Lithuanian squad to play Italy with an injured ankle. 
However, against the Belgian Under 21s, Gary Mason plays the full 90 minutes to become the first Par to earn an Under 21 cap since Jackie McNamara 6 years ago. Barry and Stevie remain on the bench the following night, when the Scotland senior team loses 2-0 to Belgium, to all but end the national team's hopes of qualifying for the World Cup. 
One returnee from international duty with Morocco, is Youssef Rossi. JC names him in the starting line-up for the game against Celtic.
Date: 8th September 2001 Opposition: Celtic Score (H/T): 1-3 (0-2)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue: Parkhead Attendance: 57,936
Scorers: [0-1] Moravcik (9), [0-2] Sutton (45), [0-3] Moravcik (70), [1-3] Crawford (85)
Cards: De Gier, Doesburg (DAFC), Moravcik (Celtic)
Pars Team: Ruitenbeek; Doesburg (Nicholls 69), Dair (Hampshire H/T), SM Thomson, Rossi, MacPherson, McGroarty, Nicholson, Mason, Crawford, de Gier. Subs not used: SY Thomson, Nish, Skinner.
Celtic: Kharine: Valgaeren (Hartson 72), Balde, Tebily, Agathe, Lennon, Petrov (Healy 74), Moravcik, Thomson (Crainey 68), Larrson, Sutton  Subs Not Used: Gould, Mjalby.
Referee: J Underhill
After a couple of near misses, Celtic opened the scoring in 9 minutes, when a poor Marco Ruitenbeek clearance went straight to Moravcik, who scored from the edge of the box. Celtic increased their lead into injury time at the end of the first half, when Larsson back-heal found Sutton, and with the defence static, he knocked the ball past Ruitenbeek. Celtic's third came from a long cross field ball from Balde, which bounced once, and Moravcik volleyed from the edge of the box into the top right hand corner. De Gier had four efforts on target saved by Kharine. DA grabbed a consolation goal with five minutes to go, when Hampshire threaded the ball through for Crawford to shoot into the roof of the net. Although well beaten, there were a lot of positives that the Pars can take from the game. 
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
9 Aberdeen 6 2 1 3 7 9 7
10 Dunfermline Ath 6 2 0 4 11 13 6
11 Motherwell 6 0 3 3 7 14 3
Club captain Ian Ferguson plays 65 minutes of an Under 21 match against St Mirren. The Pars win 2-0, thanks to goals from Lee Bullen and Colin Nish. Not such good news is the injury that Justin Skinner sustained during the match.
Fergie fails to make it for the Hibs game, which comes a week too early for him. Chris McGroarty is doubtful due to a groin strain and a touch of flu, but Andrius Skerla returns.
Date: 16th September 2001 Opposition: Hibernian Score (H/T): 1-5 (1-3)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue: Easter Road Attendance: 11,035
Scorers: [0-1] Brewster (17), [0-2] Brewster (32), [1-2] Crawford (37), [1-3] McManus (45), [1-4] Luna (73), [1-5] Luna (82)
Yellow Cards: Nicholson, Crawford, de Gier (DAFC),  Jack (Hibs)
Red Cards: Nicholson (DAFC)
Pars Team: Ruitenbeek, Skerla, Rossi, Thomson; McPherson (Doesburg 78), Nicholson, Mason, Nicholls (Hampshire 72), Petrie (McGroarty 51), Crawford, de Gier. Subs not used: SY Thomson (GK), McLeish.
Hibernian: Colgan, Smith, Sauzee (Murray 74), Fenwick; Orman, De La Cruz, Jack, O'Neil, Laursen, McManus (Zitelli 63), Brewster (Luna 69). Subs not used: Caig (GK), Brebner.
Referee: H Dallas
A complete disaster! Dunfermline shot themselves in the foot in this game, thanks to some amateurish defending. Goal number one saw Scott Thomson napping, as Brewster got to the ball first to steer past Ruitenbeek. The second was a disaster for Skerla, who stopped the ball, which then fell nicely for Brewster to score. Crawford pulled one back with a neat flick that beat Colgan., but just before half time, a Sauzee free-kick found McManus, and the Pars were two goals behind again. Worse was to follow when Skerla lost control of the ball and allowed Luna to score Hibs' fourth. Ruitenbeek failed to cut out an O'Neil corner, and Luna headed home for number five. The icing on the cake, was Nicholson's dismissal in the 90th minute for a second yellow card.  
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
9 Dundee 7 2 2 3 7 13 8
10 Dunfermline Ath 7 2 0 5 12 18 6
11 St Johnstone 7 0 3 4 5 12 3
Fergie returns to the first team for the Livingston game. Missing out will be Nicholson (suspended), and Marco Ruitenbeek, who has an injured knee. The big keeper could be out for up to five weeks. SY Thomson will deputise. 
JC is admitted to hospital suffering from abdominal pains. Jimmy Nicholl takes charge.
Date: 22nd September 2001 Opposition: Livingston Score (H/T): 1-2 (1-0)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue: East End Park Attendance: 4,516
Scorers: [1-0] Crawford (8), [1-1] Bingham (74), [1-2] Wilson (82)
Yellow Cards: Rossi, Petrie (DAFC), Xausa, Lowndes (Livingston)
Pars Team: SY Thomson; Skerla (Bullen 76), Skinner, SM Thomson, Rossi, MacPherson, Mason, Ferguson (Nicholls 71), Petrie; Crawford, de Gier.  Subs not used: Harrower, McLeish, Fotheringham
Livingston: Broto, Rubio, Andrews, Bollan, Hart, Lovell, Tosh, Aurellio (McCulloch 86), Bingham, Xausa (Wilson 69), Lowndes (Caputo 31). Subs not used: McEwan,Anderson
Referee: I Fyffe
After a fighting first half display, when they could have been three or four goals up at the break, the Pars were once again left to rue the fact that they hadn't killed the opposition off. After taking an early lead when Crawford headed home a MacPherson lofted cross cum shot, further good chances fell to Crawford and de Gier. Livvy keeper Broto pulled off some remarkable saves to deny the Pars. In the second half, with comeback captain Ian Ferguson withdrawn, former Par David Bingham picked up a through ball in the centre, and slotted home the equaliser past Thomson. The Livingston winner was a personal disaster for Justin Skinner. Caught in possession out by the touchline, he attempted to play the ball out for a goalkick, but only succeeded in giving possession to the opposition. The ball was centred to Barry Wilson, who had the easiest of tasks to score. 
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
9 Dundee United 9 2 2 4 8 16 8
10 Dunfermline Ath 9 2 0 6 13 20 6
11 Motherwell 9 1 3 4 9 17 6
The defeat against Livingston takes the run of SPL defeats to six, the worst since 91/92, when Ian Munro and Jocky Scott were in charge.
JC returns to EEP on Monday following his short spell in hospital.
The injury toll following the Livingston game makes grim reading. Out are Rossi (broken nose), Ruitenbeek (knee), SM Thomson (stomach), Skinner (ankle), MacPherson (ankle) and Hampshire (back)
Date: 26th September 2001 Opposition: Alloa Athletic Score (H/T): 3-0 (1-0)
Competition: CIS (League) Cup Venue: East End Park Attendance: 2,796
Scorers: [1-0] Nicholson (37 pen), [2-0] Mason (57), [3-0] Mason (75)
Cards: None
Pars Team: SY Thomson, Doesburg, Skerla, Nicholls, McGroarty; Nicholson, Ferguson (Dair 41), Mason, Petrie (Bullen 57); Crawford (Potter 75), de Gier.  Subs not used: Harrower, Fotheringham
Alloa Athletic: Soutar; Clark, Seaton, Watson, Thomson, Valentine, Curran, Walker (Christie 78), Irvine (Hutchison 66), Raeside (Little 66).  Subs not used: Anderson, McQueen
Referee: A Freeland
A relatively straight forward victory for the Pars, against a determined Alloa team. DA took the lead after Petrie was pulled down in the box. Barry Nicholson netted from the spot. Fergie limped injured off to be replaced by Jason Dair. Gary Mason put the Pars two up with a shot from the edge of the box. The third goal was a superb drive by Mason from about 25 yards. 
Stevie Crawford and Barry Nicholson are called up to the Scotland squad for the Latvia game on 6th October. No Under 21 call ups for Chris McGroarty or Gary Mason.
The third round of the CIS Cup, sees the Pars drawn at home against Inverness Caley Thistle.
The injury crisis continues. Now added to the list is Ian Ferguson (hamstring). Youssef Rossi may postpone surgery on his broken nose until the close season. A decision will be made following a hospital assessment on Wednesday. However, if the operation required is of a relatively minor nature, then he will undergo surgery immediately, which could result in a ten day lay-off. 
Date: 30th September 2001 Opposition: Kilmarnock Score (H/T): 0-2 (0-1)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue: East End Park Attendance: 3,983
Scorers: [0-1] McLaren (28), [0-2] Dargo (80)
Cards: de Gier, Skerla (DAFC), Dindeleux (Kilmarnock) 
Pars Team: SY Thomson; MacPherson (Nish 63), Doesburg, Skerla, Petrie (Nicholls 81); Bullen (McLeish 85), Nicholson, Mason, Dair; Crawford, de Gier.  Subs not used: Harrower (GK), Potter.
Kilmarnock: Marshall; Canero, Innes, Dindeleux, Baker, McCutcheon (Di Giacomo 74), Mahood, Sanjuan, Mitchell, Dargo (Fowler 92), McLaren.  Subs not used: Stewart (GK), Hessey, Calderon.
Referee: S Dougal
Another game, and another defeat. Killie's first came from a free-kick some 25 yards out. Andy McLaren drove the ball through the Dunfermline defensive wall to open the scoring. With DA pressing forward to try and equalise, Kilmarnock broke away in 80 minutes, and substitute Di Giacomo pushed the ball to Dargo, who had the easy task of scoring. Despite the scoreline, there were some encouraging signs, however ending the seven game losing streak is going to be difficult.  
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
10 Motherwell 9 2 3 4 12 19 9
11 Dunfermline Ath 9 2 0 7 13 22 6
12 St Johnstone 9 0 3 6 7 19 3
The disgraceful booing of Justin Skinner as he made the half-time nifty fifty fifty draw has been widely condemned by the majority of right-thinking supporters.
After just 14 months with the club, Junior Mendes has had his contract terminated by mutual consent. He is believed to be returning to Plymouth Argylle on trial, where Paul Sturrock is reported to be keen to sign the former St Mirren player for the remainder of the season.