|It must be the dream of every manager to sign the type of player who is happy just to be part of the team, but who is also skilled enough to be able to play in almost any position. And when a manager of the calibre of Jock Stein recognises those qualities by signing the player, and successive managers keep him in the squad, you know that you have a gem.|
Such a player was Jim Thomson, a man who contributed throughout the club's most successful period and yet who, because of his quiet and unassuming nature, is probably one of the least known of Dunfermline's great players of the 1960s.
Originally from Cairneyhill, Jim, who was a product of Valleyfield Juniors, signed for St Mirren as a youngster. He missed out on one of the Paisley club's greatest moments when he was injured for the 1959 Scottish Cup Final and then he was surprisingly freed in 1961.
Dunfermline had just won the Scottish Cup themselves, and Jock Stein immediately moved to bolster his squad by signing Jim. He made his debut against Dundee United at Tannadice on 22nd August 1961, in a match won 4-0 by the Pars.
Jim quickly established himself in the first team and took over the number 4 shirt once Ron Mailer had retired.
Whilst most of his appearances were as a defensive half back (or sitting midfielder in today's parlance), Jim played and performed well in a number of positions. Indeed, in those days when substitutes weren't allowed, Jim was sometimes required to take over the goalie's position when injury resulted in the keeper having to leave the field.
One of Jim's best remembered displays was in Dunfermline's European match against Stuttgart in Germany in December 1964, a goalless draw that ensured Pars' qualification for the next round. Jim in fact was a regular European for Dunfermline, playing in 23 matches including appearances in the famous victories over Everton, Valencia and West Bromwich Albion. Jim was a member of the 1965 team that lost so narrowly 3-2 to Celtic in the Scottish Cup Final.
In 1968, he played in the team that sensationally knocked the European Champions out of the Scottish Cup at Parkhead, but for Jim there would be great disappointment as he was asked to be 12th man, a non-playing travelling reserve, for the 1968 Cup Final.
Jim finally left the club in 1971 after 308 first team appearances, the 15th highest in the club's post-war history. After a brief spell with Raith Rovers he returned to East End Park where he spent ten years as a Coach under George Miller, Harry Melrose, Pat Stanton and Tom Forsyth before leaving in the summer of 1982.
After twenty years of service as a player and coach, Jim went on to have a successful painting and decorating business, but he remained a lifetime Pars fan.