There's little doubt that Istvan Kozma was one of the most talented Dunfermline players since the glory days of the 1960s.
When the Pars returned to Premier Division football in 1989, the Board understood that they would need to improve the quality of the playing squad if they wanted to stay there.This they did with dramatic effect when they signed Bordeaux midfielder Istvan Kozma for an all-time record fee of £540,000 in September 1989.The effect on the football was equally dramatic with the Pars playing some of the best football seen at the club for years.
Kozma, a regular in the Hungarian national side, was central to all of this with his intelligent play often regarded as being too clever for everyone - including his own teammates!Showing flashes of brilliance right from the start in a 1-1 draw against Motherwell on 9th September 1989, it was the visit of St. Mirren the following month that saw him really light up East End for the first time with an exquisitely taken hat-trick in a 5-1 win.The newly promoted team took inspiration from his example and played some great football in an eight match unbeaten run that culminated in the Pars hitting the top of the Premier Division, albeit briefly, for the first time.
Another memorable goal came against Dundee United, when he embarked on a forty-yard run that saw him beat two defenders before curling home a beautiful left foot shot.He seemed to read the game differently from his team-mates and at times his flicks and incisive passes caught them unprepared but he did link well with George O'Boyle and Ross Jack, their combined talents proving extremely popular with the support.
Thirteen of his forty caps for Hungary were gained while he was at Dunfermline, and his contribution to the game in Scotland was recognised when he was selected to play for the Scottish League in its Centenary Match against Scotland in 1990.Istvan helped the Pars reach their first major final since the 1960s when they played Hibernian in the 1991 Scottish League Cup Final.Unfortunately it proved to be a disappointing experience and with management changes Istvan's influence began to wane as he was moved out to the wing.As the Pars bubble started to burst and relegation loomed, Istvan was transferred to Graeme Souness's Liverpool for £300,000 in February 1992.
Istvan moved back to Hungary but returned to East End Park for Stewart Petrie's Testimonial in 2003 to a rousing reception from fans with memories of happy times and of the wonderful skills he had displayed as a player.