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Monthly Digest - May 2003

Dunfermline are reported to be interested in signing Australian Patrick Kisnorbo, after the defender spent a week with the Pars on trial. 
More injury worries for JC as Andrius Skerla returns from Lithuania with a broken nose. The injury crisis means places for the first time on the bench for youngsters Scott McNicol and Ian Campbell.
Date: 3rd May 2003 Opposition: Celtic Score (H/T): 1-4 (0-3)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue East End Park Attendance: 8,923
Scorer: [0-1] Larsson (21), [0-2] Petrov (28), [0-3] Petrov (31), [0-4] Thompson (58 pen), [1-4] McNicol (80)
Yellow Cards: Brewster (DAFC)
Pars Team: Ruitenbeek, Dair (McPherson H/T), Nicholson, Mason, Crawford, Brewster (McNicol 68), Walker, Kilgannon, Dempsey, Bullen, Grondin (Hunt H/T). Subs not used: Murdoch, Campbell
Celtic: Broto, McNamara, Valgaeren (Lambert 10), Balde, Larsson, Thomson, Laursen, Agathe (Fernandez 68), Lennon (Smith 79), Petrov, Maloney. Subs not used: Marshall, Crainey 
Referee: A Freeland
Although this was a much better performance from Dunfermline, it ended as most games against the Old Firm in recent years have, in defeat. Dunfermline had the best of the opening 20 minutes with Dempsey and Walker both forcing Broto into making tremendous saves. Then as usually happens, Celtic took control and Larsson plus two Petrov goals put Celtic three up in a period of ten minutes. The Athletic tightened up in the second half, but Celtic were awarded a penalty after Barry Nicholson brought down Larsson in the box. Thompson converted. Stevie Crawford had a header well saved by Broto (who had a superb game), before Scott McNicol came on as a substitute to score with a shot from the edge of the box which hit the bar before crossing the line. A consolation, but well received by the Pars support all the same. 
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Kilmarnock 35 16 8 11 45 46 56
5 Dunfermline Ath 35 13 5 17 49 61 44
6 Dundee 35 10 13 12 45 51 43
The Celtic game marked the first appearance of the new Dunfermline home strip which is all white with a very thin pin stripe.
The Pars Under 21 team lose once again in their final game of the season at home to Livingston. Clark, Nish and an Alan Walker own goal were the scorers. The young Pars finish the season in bottom place.
Dunfermline appear to be on the verge of signing Darren and Derek Young from Aberdeen. The brothers have rejected a new contract at Pittodrie after apparently being offered more money to come to EEP. 
Dunfermline win the Fife Cup defeating a young Raith Rovers team 4-1 at EEP. Craig Brewster (2), Barry Nicholson and Stevie Crawford are the scorers.
Gus MacPherson is unveiled as St Mirren's new player/assistant manager. He will take up his new position in time for the new season.
Stevie Crawford is given an ultimatum by chairman John Yorkston, sign the new contract on offer or go on the open to transfer list. It is understood that the player wants a four year extension, whilst the club is only prepared to offer two years.
Date: 10th May 2003 Opposition: Dundee Score (H/T): 2-2 (0-1)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue Dens Park Attendance: 5,411
Scorer: [0-1] Lovell (16 pen), [1-1] Crawford (54), [1-2] Lovell (58), [2-2] Bullen (90)
Yellow Cards: Wilson, MacPherson (DAFC), Khizanishvili (Dundee)
Pars Team: Ruitenbeek: MacPherson (MacNicoll 68), Bullen, Wilson, Walker; Nicholson, Mason, Grondin (Dair HT), Kilgannon; Crawford, Brewster. Subs not used: Stillie, Campbell, Clark
Dundee: Speroni; MacKay, Wilkie (Mair 62), Khizanishvili, Hernandez, Lovell (Carranza 78), Milne (Novo 66), Nemsadze, Smith; Burchill, Brady. Subs not used: Langfield, Rae
Referee: C Murray
Despite the final result DA were lucky to get away with a share of the points at Dens Park. Cup finalists Dundee took the lead with a Lovell penalty after Wilson had brought down Birchill in the box. That was the only goal of the half, but it gave Dundee a deserved interval lead. Dunfermline started the second half with more urgency, and in 54 minutes, Brewster flicked the ball through for Crawford to run onto, and knock past Speroni for the equaliser. Although the Pars almost took the lead immediately, it was Dundee that scored four minutes later when Lovell scored his second slotting the ball past Ruitenbeek from six yards. With DA pushing up in search of the equalisr, Ruitenbeek twice had to act as sweeper to clear danger, and just when it seemed like another away defeat was on the cards, Dunfermline equalised. With almost the last kick of the ball Lee Bullen volleyed home substitute Scott McNicol's cross to give the Pars an undeserved draw.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Kilmarnock 36 16 8 12 45 50 56
5 Dunfermline Ath 36 13 6 17 51 63 45
6 Dundee 36 10 14 12 48 53 44
Scott Thomson has an operation to try and resolve the ankle problems that have plagued him since the winter break. Andrius Skerla also undergoes an operation on his nose.
Jimmy Calderwood is unhappy that his team is expected to play Kilmarnock on the day of the FA Cup final, and would have preferred the game to have been moved forward to the Friday evening.
Date: 17th May 2003 Opposition: Kilmarnock Score (H/T): 2-2 (2-1)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue East End Park Attendance: 6,896
Scorer: [1-0] Crawford (5), [2-0] Mason (11), [2-1] McDonald (26), [2-2] Boyd (92)
Yellow Cards: Bullen (DAFC), Canero, Dindeleux, Di Giacomo (Killie)
Pars Team: Stillie, Bullen, MacPherson (McGarty 70), Scott Wilson, McGroarty (Grondin 87), Mason, Nicholson, Dair, Kilgannon (Dempsey 45), Crawford, Brewster.Subs Not Used: Ruitenbeek, McNicol.
Kilmarnock: Marshall, Fowler (McLaren 60), Dindeleux, McLaughlin, Shields (Hay 33), McDonald (Di Giacomo 56), Mahood, Fulton, Canero, Boyd, McSwegan.Subs Not Used: Stewart, Locke.
Referee: M McCurry
Dunfermline got off to a great start finding themselves two goals up in eleven minutes. The first came from a Jason Dair corner, with top scorer Stevie Crawford heading home at the near post. Number two six minutes later came after Chris McGroarty's cross was met by Gary Mason whose shot went in off the post. With Dunfermline coasting, Killie got back into the game with a fluke goal. A McDonald cross cum shot deceived Stillie and went off his back post. In the second half with play raging from end to end, the Pars had plenty of opportunities to put the game beyond the visitor's reach as Brewster, Crawford and Nicholson all squandered good chances. Two minutes into time added on, the inevitable happened when Boyd diverted a cross past Wilson and Stillie for the equaliser.   
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Kilmarnock 37 16 9 12 47 52 57
5 Dunfermline Ath 37 13 7 17 53 65 46
6 Dundee 37 10 14 13 50 59 44
Post match Jimmy Calderwood felt his team's performance against Kilmarnock was just like their season, good first half, but poor second.
At a press conference on the Monday, JC announced that striker Stevie Crawford had signed a two year extension to his contract, which will keep him at EEP until the summer of 2006. New signings Derek and Darren Young from Aberdeen were also unveiled, and it was revealed that 19 year olds Anthony Storrie, Alan Labont and Billy Mehmet had all signed for two years from Midlesborough, Newcastle and West Ham respectively. New one year contracts have also been offered to Under 21 players Scott McNicol, Mark McGarty and George Fotheringham. 

With new players arriving, a number of players with a year left on their contracts have been told that they will not be offered new contracts at the end of next season, and placed on the open to transfer list. The players are, Chris McGroarty, Sean Kilgannon, Steven Hampshire, Jason Dair, Scott Walker, Andre Karnebeek Davie Nicholls, David Grondin and Kevin McLeish. Those players who have been transfer listed will still be available for selection whilst at the club. Additionally, Jim Hamilton has been told that he will not get a contract next season, Ged Brannan has returned to Wigan after being on loan, and Gus MacPherson leaves to take up a coaching role at St Mirren. Under 21s Colin Nish, Dean Fleming, Richie Carson, Gordon Findlay, Brian Blair and Ross Harrower have also departed. 

Leaving the club after 22 years to concentrate on his PARS Personal Health business interests is first team physio Pip Yeates. His duties will be taken over by Paul Atkinson.
Stevie Crawford is called into the Scotland squad for the friendly against New Zealand, and the European Championship Qualifier against Germany.
At a meeting at Hampden, the ten non-Old Firm clubs withdraw their resignation from the SPL. At the same meeting, the SPL chairmen voted against promoting First Division Champions Falkirk to the top division. 
With the SPL championship all level on points and goal difference, Dunfermline find themselves in the unenviable position of playing Rangers on the final day of the season. The media predict a whitewash.
Ahead of the Rangers game, the injury list takes on a familiar feel with Andre Karnebeek, Andrius Skerla, Scott Thomson, Jim Hamilton, Noel Hunt, and Steven Hampshire all set to miss out once again.
Date: 25th May 2003 Opposition: Rangers Score (H/T): 1-6 (1-3)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue Ibrox Attendance: 49,731
Scorer: [0-1] Mols (3), [1-1] Dair (11), [1-2] Caniggia (16), [1-3] Arveladze (30), [1-4] de Boer (65), [1-5] Thompson (67), [1-6] Arteta (93 pen)
Yellow Cards: MacPherson, Wilson, Bullen (DAFC), Ferguson (Rangers)
Pars Team: Stillie; MacPherson (Walker 60), Bullen, Wilson, Dair; Nicholson, Mason, Grondin (Dempsey HT), McGroarty (McGarty 77); Brewster, Crawford. Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, McNicoll
Rangers: Klos; Ricksen, Moore, Amoruso, Numan; Ferguson, Arteta, Caniggia (McCann HT); Mols (Thompson 63), de Boer, Arverladze. Subs not used: McGregor, Malcolm, MacLean
Referee: S Dougal
Dunfermline were always gong to be on a hiding to nothing in this game, as Rangers looked to win the league title on their home ground. After just three minutes, it looked as if the visiting support's fears were going to be realised when Mols shot home via the post to give Rangers the lead. A minute later and there was a narrow escape as a de Boer diving header went narrowly wide. However after 11 minutes, Crawford, Brewster and Bullen all combined to create an opening for Jason Dair to send a terrific drive from outside the box past Klos and into the net, to put DA back on level terms. Unfortunately any hope of an upset soon evaporated as Caniggia sidefooted a rebound past Stillie. After half an hour Arveladze headed home for Rangers third. Dunfermline managed to hold on for the remainder of the half without conceding any more goals. Into the second and a Brewster shot brought out a superb save from Klos. Rangers went straight up the other end, and de Boer headed a McCann cross into the net for Rangers fourth. Thompson got number five from close range, and three minutes into time added on, the home side were awarded the obligatory penalty which made the final score six-one. Despite the heavy defeat, it wasn't a bad performance by DA, and for spells they could have caused Rangers a real problem. 
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Kilmarnock 38 16 9 13 47 56 57
5 Dunfermline Ath 38 13 7 18 54 71 46
6 Dundee 38 10 14 14 50 60 44
Speaking immediately after his team had finished second in the SPL championship, Celtic's Chris Sutton amazingly accuses Dunfermline of lying down to Rangers, saying "I think everybody could have virtually predicted the result at Ibrox before kick-off. Well, many people did. It is disappointing from the players who have put the effort in. We knew they'd lie down and they have done." The remarks caused outrage, and although the striker later issued a half hearted  apology through his agent, the SFA are considering charging the player with bringing the game into disrepute.
After returning from a holiday in Magaluf, chairman John Yorkston and Head Coach Jimmy Calderwood hold a press conference to discuss Chris Sutton's comments. Accusing Celtic of paranoia both Chairman and Head Coach call for Sutton to make a full personal apology, something the player does later in the day via the Celtic web site.
Stevie Crawford plays the full 90 minutes for Scotland against New Zealand at Tynecastle. Although Stevie scored with an 11th minute header from a James McFadden corner, Scotland could only draw 1-1 with the Kiwis. 
As the season draws to an end, at East End Park a marquee is erected on the playing surface and a sportsman's dinner is held in aid of Youth Development. The now traditional end of season open day also takes place on the pitch.