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Monthly Digest - December 2003

After an SFA disciplinary committee cleared him of racially abusing Richie Byrne during an under-21 match at Tannadice, former Par Owen Coyle expressed his relief. Coyle, now with Airdrie United, received support from Byrne and Dunfermline at the hearing.
Dunfermline players out of contract at the end of the season may have to accept wage cuts if they want to continue their careers at the club. Jimmy Calderwood will advise each of the 11 Athletic players out of contract at the end of the season whether they have a future at East End Park and on what terms, within three weeks.
The Under 21s draw 1-1 away to Aberdeen. Gary Dempsey scores with a header.
The Dunfermline Under 19s lose in the Youth Cup 4-2 to Falkirk. Patrick Clarke and Kris Vaughan score.

The Pars have received offers from two Moroccan sides for miscreant Youseff Rossi, but won't be releasing him until the money is in the bank.

Talent Identification and Funding Manager Bobby Jenks leaves the club after twelve months as his contract is not renewed. The post had failed to bring in sufficient funding to pay for itself.
Date: 6th December 2003Opposition: Heart of MidlothianScore (H/T): 2-1 (1-1)
Competition: Sc Premier LeagueVenue East End ParkAttendance: 6,199
Scorers: [1-0] Derek Young (21), [1-1] Maybury (41), [2-1] Wilson (62)
Yellow Cards: Brewster, Derek Young (DAFC) Hartley, Maybury (Hearts)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, Tod, Wilson; Mason, Grondin (Bullen HT); Nicholson, Darren Young, Derek Young (Labonte 91); Crawford, Brewster (Hunt 62). Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Dempsey
Hearts: Gordon; Neilson, Webster, Kisnorbo; Maybury, MacFarlane (Valois 81), Hartley (Wales 87), Severin, McCann; McKenna, Weir Subs not used: Moilanen, Wyness, Berra
Referee: C Richmond
Some you win and some you lose, but on this occasion Dunfermline took all three points against a Hearts team that deserved a share of the points at least. Hearts were by far the better of the teams early on, and it was something of a surprise when DA took the lead. A long kick from Stillie was headed on by Brewster into the path of Stevie Crawford as he burst into the right side of the visitors box. Craw flicked a back heeler for Derek Young to hammer home from 10 yards out. As has often been the case the home side then failed to capitalise on their lead, and with half time approaching, Hearts equalised. From a free-kick 25 yards out, Paul Hartley stroked the ball left for Alan Maybury to drive a low shot into the bottom left corner of the net. It was an annoying goal to lose and almost a carbon copy of the first goal conceded the previous Saturday to Eric Deloumeaux. Just after the  break Weir broke away, and it took an excellent save by Derek Stillie to prevent the visitors from taking the lead. With Noel Hunt taking his place on the field to replace a limping Craig Brewster, Darren Young swung in a free kick from the left touchline that Scott Wilson rose to head in from the edge of the six yard box. From then on in it was mainly a backs to the wall performance from Dunfermline, and Hearts can claim to have been unlucky when Maybury hit a superb shot against the Pars crossbar. Mention must be made of referee Charlie Richmond who had an absolute stinker, although it must be said he was equally as bad for both teams. With Motherwell losing to Partick, the result moved Dunfermline up one place to fourth, three points behind Hearts.
Pos  Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Hearts 15 8 2 5 23 19 26
4 Dunfermline Ath 15 6 5 4 18 20 23
5 Motherwell 15 5 5 5 17 18 20
After the match Jimmy Calderwood was quick to admit that his team were lucky to end the match with all three points. "The result probably flattered us to be honest. I think a draw was a fair result in a battle without any flowing football. We will play a lot better than that and lose games. Big Craigie’s (Levein) team battled away as we knew they would. They have a lot of big lads there."
The Under 21s win against Hearts at East End Park1-0. The only goal of the game is scored by Billy Mehmet. Despite the freezing conditions, the artificial surface plays well.
The first Fans Forum took place in a packed Kingdom Suite. The panelists, included Jim Leishman, Jimmy Calderwood, John Yorkston, Gavin Masterton, John Ritchie and Hamish French. Subjects covered included the financial state of the club, tactics, Jimmy Nicholl's future, Youth development and over zealous stewarding. 
Despite fears over the financial state of the club, vice chairman Gavin Masterton assured supporters at the Fans Forum that the board was doing all it could to ensure long term survival. Masterton revealed that the club's total debt currently totalled £3.2 million, with unsecured creditors amounting to just £150k. With the stadium owned by Stadia Management Ltd, whatever the financial future, the Pars will remain at East End Park for the next 125 years at least. Mr Masterton added that poor attendances and an early exit from the CIS Cup had cost the club hundreds of thousands of pounds, but the situation would be addressed with the player's wage bill being reduced by the end of this season with some new contracts being negotiated.
Former Par Colin Nish hit out at Dunfermline manager Jimmy Calderwood saying that he refused to allow the young striker to leave despite not giving him a new contract. Nish, who has just been awarded an 18 month contract with  Kilmarnock complained that Calderwood made him train with the youngsters for six months.
Hopes of removing Youssef Rossi from Dunfermline's books appear to be fading as money has still to be received from Moroccan outfit Raja Casablanca. 
Dunfermline will have Scott Thomson missing through injury for the Rangers game, whilst the visitors have something of an injury crisis on their hands with a number of players sidelined. Alex McLeish says he is not keen to play Shota Arvelrladze on the artificial surface at East End Park. 
Date: 14th December 2003Opposition: RangersScore (H/T): 2-0 (1-0)
Competition: Sc Premier LeagueVenue East End ParkAttendance: 8,599
Scorers: [1-0] Crawford (5), [2-0] Vanoli (83 og)
Yellow Cards: Ricksen, Malcolm (Rangers)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, Tod, Wilson, Bullen; Nicholson, Darren Young, Mason, Derek Young (Dempsey 66); Crawford, Brewster (Hunt 77). Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, McDermott, McNicol
Rangers: Klos; Ricksen, Berg, Ball, Vanoli; Capucho (Ostenstad HT), Malcolm, Hughes, Lovenkrands; Burke, Mols (Arveladze 72). Subs not used: McGregor, Ross, Gibson
Referee: A Freeland
After 32 years of waiting the Pars finally defeated Rangers at East End Park in a league game. After a tremendous performance Dunfermline were well worth their victory against a Rangers team that lacked leadership or any kind of creative spark. The opening goal came in just five minutes and the build-up couldn't have been simpler. Stillie cleared the ball downfield. Craig Brewster outjumped Michael Ball to head on to Stevie Crawford, who unleashed a dipping shot from the edge of the box that beat Klos. Euphoria! For the rest of the first half, the Pars were well on top, although restricted to a number of shots which lacked any real power. The visitors came back into the game in the second half, but even then Derek Stillie only had crosses to deal with as direct shots were thin on the ground. The Pars second goal in 83 minutes was a bizarre own goal by Paulo Vanoli. From a Nicholson free kick across goal Andy Tod's header struck Vanoli on the hand. With the referee ignoring obvious claims for a penalty, Vanoli makes the decision for him by coolly placing the ball beyond Klos and into the bottom corner of the net. The final whistle leads to scenes of unbridled joy amongst the home support. 
Pos  Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Hearts 16 9 2 5 25 20 29
4 Dunfermline Ath 16 7 5 4 20 20 26
5 Motherwell 16 5 5 6 17 19 20
Not surprisingly, manager Jimmy Calderwood was a delighted man after the match saying, "we got the break and took it on from there. I thought we deserved it in the end. That is the nice thing. It has been a long long time so hopefully our supporters can enjoy it. Anything you can get from Rangers and Celtic is a bonus and this is a big bonus for us."
Those players whose contracts expire at the end of the season will know soon if they are to continue playing for the club. Players with no future at East End Park will also be told so they can make alternative arrangements. One player being offered a further year's contract is veteran Striker Craig Brewster has been offered a one year contract by the club. 
Moroccan misfit Yousseff Rossi has officially signed for his former club Raja Casablanca. John Yorkston  confirmed that funds had been received from the Moroccan Club following a 3-week wait and that the player had finally been released. He was still contracted to the club despite not playing for the best part of two years.
Despite press reports that Neil Warnock, manager of English First Division club Sheffield United, was at the Rangers game to watch Stevie Crawford, chairman John Yorkston stated that no approach had been made for the striker. 
Former Par Gus MacPherson is named as the new manager of St Mirren, after an unbeaten run as caretaker boss.
As a reward for their win over Rangers the Pars playing staff headed to Dublin for a day trip.
Scott Thomson will miss the trip to Easter Road through injury. 
Date: 21st December 2003Opposition: HibernianScore (H/T): 2-1 (2-0)
Competition: Sc Premier LeagueVenue Easter RoadAttendance: 9,085
Scorers: [1-0] Brewster (40 secs), [2-0] Brewster (36), [1-2] Riordan (64)
Yellow Cards: Wilson, McDermott (DAFC), Doumbie, Brown (Hibs)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, Wilson, Tod, Bullen; Nicholson Derek Young (McDermott 59), Darren Young, Mason; Crawford Brewster (Hunt 75) Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Dempsey, McNicol
Hibernian: Andersson; Whittaker, Kouo-Doumbie, Murdock, Smith; Brown, Brebner, Thomson, Riordan; McManus (Dobbie 79), O'Connor Subs not used: Hyldgaard (GK), Reid, Nicol, Baillie
Referee: I Fyffe
Fielding the same team (and subs) that won handsomely against Rangers, Jimmy Calderwood's Dunfermline picked up their fourth win on the trot at Easter Road with another good performance. The Pars took the lead in just 40 seconds when a corner was headed towards goal by Wilson, only for Andersson to punch the ball against Crawford. The ball then fell in front of Craig Brewster who prodded home from a couple of feet. Stillie had to make a good save from Whittaker to prevent the ball crossing the line as play raged from end to end. With nine minutes left to half time Craig Brewster doubled his tally for the afternoon. A Skerla pass up the centre of the park was headed on to Crawford. Holding the ball up, Craw rolled it to the left for Brewster who sent a wonderful shot into the top left corner of the net from 30 yards out. Crawford had a great chance in 51 minutes, but his shot was deflected for a corner. Hibs pulled one back through Riordan after a poor Stillie clearance was seized on. With thoughts of the two goal lead thrown away at Motherwell uppermost in the supporters minds, Dunfermline were lucky to survive three reasonable penalty claims by Hibs. Another day and the referee's decisions could easily have gone the other way. 
Pos  Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Hearts 17 9 2 6 26 22 29
4 Dunfermline Ath 17 8 5 4 22 21 29
5 Livingston 17 5 6 6 18 19 21
Once again it was a happy, but relieved Dunfermline manager that faced the press after the game. "It was a good three points for us but annoying because the last twenty five minutes we shouldn't have got ourselves into those problems. With the quality that we have got all we need to do is stay focussed and get quality balls up to those two up front and they will score goals. We never did it and we kept giving the ball away. Giving stupid free kicks away and they have been told, it happened to us at Motherwell."
Craig Brewster rejects the one year contract offer made to him saying that he is not prepared to take the 50% wage  reduction on offer. Should he not accept any revised deal put to him, Brewster has the option of returning to Greece. Meanwhile Brew considered his second goal of the afternoon against Hibs to be as good as any he has scored in the past. 
Disappointingly the third round draw for the Scottish Cup pairs Dunfermline with Dundee United. United captain  Derek McInnes gets his excuses in early by saying he doesn't want to play on the artificial surface. The SFA tell Dundee United that they have no option. 
The Under 21s continue their fine form with a 2-1 win over Hibernian at East End Park. Noel Hunt and Gary Dempsey are the scorers.
Scott Wilson reveals that several senior Dunfermline players may be on the verge of quitting following the reduced contract terms being offered. As well as Craig Brewster being offered a further year, Wilson, Stillie and Bullen have been offered two-year contracts and Ruitenbeek has also been made an offer. Mark McGarty is expected to leave the club. Meanwhile, both Jimmy Calderwood and John Yorkston appeal to stay away supporters to return to increase the Pars average gate of 6,000. 
Jimmy Calderwood launches a blistering attack on misfit Youssef Rossi, calling him a pest who upset the changing room. JC also revealed that he had to send the Moroccan off during training matches to stop him injuring his team-mates.
For the Partick game Scott Thomson is declared fit again. Fringe players Sean Kilgannon and Billy Mehmet are both injured.
Date: 27th December 2003Opposition: Partick ThistleScore (H/T): 1-4 (0-1)
Competition: Sc Premier LeagueVenue FirhillAttendance: 4,377
Scorers: [0-1] Thompson (38), [0-2] Grady (57 pen), [1-2] Brewster (60), [1-3] Ross (89), [1-4] Grady (91)
Yellow Cards: None
Red Card: Thomson (DAFC)
Pars Team: Stillie; Bullen, Skerla, Wilson, Thomson; Nicholson, Darren Young, Mason (Tod HT), Derek Young (Dempsey HT); Crawford, Brewster (Hunt 60). Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, McNicol
Partick: Arthur; Lilley, Murray, Masaschi; Mitchell (Panther 69), Rowson, Andy Ross, Fleming (Ian Ross 87), Milne; Thompson (Bonnes 83), Grady. Subs not used: Budinauckas, Taylor
Referee: C Murray
Scott Thomson was the only change to the starting line-up that had done so well against Rangers and Hibernian, with Andy Tod dropping to the subs bench. It was clear early on that this was going to be anything but a happy return for the club captain as he was continually beaten for pace and found out of position. After a fairly even opening half hour, when Dunfermline had the better of the few chances on offer, Thistle took the lead in 38 minutes. With the defence playing at statues, Fleming's fierce cross found the in rushing Thompson who headed past Stillie. Despite the Thistle player looking suspiciously offside, the linesman's flag stayed down. With Gary Mason and Derek Young being replaced at half time by Demspey and Hunt,. Dunfermline started the second half in a more positive manner. However after 57 minutes Scott Thomson pushed Mitchell to the ground as he prepared to score. Thomson received a red card for his troubles, and from the resultant penalty Grady made the score 2-0. Three minutes later Brewster pulled one back from a Bullen cross, which was the last action for the big striker as he was promptly replaced by Hunt. With Dunfermline eagerly chasing an equaliser all roads led to the Partick goal and although there were some close calls, nothing resulted. With one minute left on the clock, what was left of the Pars defence were caught out by a three man Patrick break-out. Ross netted from six yards. The goal prompted a mass exit from the Pars faithful, and one minute into time added on Grady put the final nail into the coffin lid with number four. All in all another afternoon to forget in Maryhill.   
Pos  Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Hearts 18 9 3 6 26 22 30
4 Dunfermline Ath 18 8 5 5 23 25 29
5 Livingston 18 5 7 6 19 20 22
Not surprisingly Jimmy Calderwood was an angry man after the game. "It was a disgraceful performance. They have let themselves down, their club and their supporters. On days like this a manager's job is hard to take. It is nothing to do with tactics; you need hunger to win a football game and we had players out there who never had the hunger. The sending off and the third goal sums up our defending. He nutmegged two defenders that is kid stuff."
Former Arsenal defender David Grondin is the latest Dunfermline Athletic player to be told he will not be offered a new contract. The frenchman learns of the decision via the press. Defender Mark McGarty and midfielder Andy McDermott had already been told that the Pars cannot afford to keep them and winger Sean Kilgannon, who has 18 months left of his contract remaining, has been told to find himself a loan deal for the rest of the season. Chris McGroarty will return to East End Park after the weekend as First Division leaders Clyde could not afford to extend his loan agreement
The Under 21s emulate their senior team and lose 3-1 to Partick at East End Park. Noel Hunt scores the Pars only goal in 90 minutes. Richie Byrne is red carded for a very soft foul in the box. that lead to a penalty from which Thistle scored their second goal.
With pitches frozen across the country it's business as usual for the Pars who are able to continue training on East End Park's artificial surface.
After some good performances in the Under 19s and Under 21s Patrick Clarke is rewarded by being given full Under 21 status.