The eleventh Dunfermline Athletic Hall of Fame recently inducted two more legends – Ross Jack and Gary Mason.
Ross Jack spoke to the website and told us that he was “so proud” to have been bestowed such an honour, he explained:-
“It was talked about before covid that I was going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, then things went on the back burner due to the pandemic. I was absolutely so thrilled to get the call from Chris Wishart recently to say it was going to happen. I wasn’t going to miss it for the world because this is an immensely huge accolade for me and I’m so proud to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.”
Inverness born, Ross’ first taste of football was at Ross County but by the time he was 14, Everton had shown interest in him. He signed a professional contract for manager Billy Bingham just before his 18th birthday and was given his Everton first team debut on 6th March 1979 in a league match against Middlesbrough. Despite scoring on his debut, he was never given another chance.
His career developed however at Cardiff, Norwich and Lincoln City before joining Archie Knox’s Dundee side in season 1985/86. On 23rd October 1987 Ross was signed for Dunfermline Athletic by Jim Leishman for a transfer fee of £15,000. Ross re-counted:-
“He came to watch me in the reserve game for Dundee. I scored a couple of goals and when I came in he sold the club to me and the rest is history.
“I was so pleased to play for a club like this and it is not until you come into the bowels of the place and you know the history, what they achieved and the people who played for them in the past, who managed them and it is just an incredible club to play for. I was so fortunate.
Just like James McPake has warned, Ross said that the test for the team after its first success was to go and do it in the next league, then the next league.
“I had brilliant times here and John Watson and I agree that we can almost remember every minute at Dunfermline. Good, bad or indifferent, we had fantastic times here. The support is loyal and they get behind you if you work hard, l just have great and fantastic memories.”
“John and I were very fortunate to play in these leagues so it’s a test for James and the boys to go to the next level. He needs to keep doing what he has been doing, he hasn’t done much wrong since he has been here. The boys have got to believe.
“We didn’t think Dunfermline could do it and we went to the top of the league so there’s loads of synergies there, loads of parallels and I just hope that the boys can keep believing in themselves. They have done superb all season, the unbeaten run has been incredible and I just hope that they can kick on from here.”
Ross enjoyed the most successful period of his football career while at Dunfermline, starting with a remarkable Scottish Cup win against Rangers in February 1998. He combined athleticism, aerial ability and speed with a goalscorer instinct and in season 1988/89, scored in eight consecutive league games as Dunfermline took the First Division title.
A firm fans’ favourite, Ross finished that season as Dunfermline’s top goalscorer with 18 goals. He won the B&Q Superskills Player of the Month in February 1989, was voted top player in the First Division by the SPFA, and won the Supporters Club Player of the Year award.
Ross formed a striking partnership with John Watson and that friendship continues to this day:-
“John and I are close. We are into fishing and our fishing means more to us. I’m out at least one day every week and we both love our angling, we are both trout fishermen. We reminisce about the good times and talk about the new things that are going on in our lives but we have one thing in common, Jim Leishman was brilliant for both of us.
“I just took to this club, they took to me. It wasn’t all plain sailing at the start, I had a tough time but as soon as I got one or two goals and the crowd got behind me you feel on top of the world. You can go on and achieve so many things. I was just so fortunate. I made the most of my career, I was never a brilliant footballer but I had great players around me. John and I had the first partnership but the service that we had from other players in the team, it made our job upfront, I wouldn’t say easy but less difficult and we were so lucky to play with a great bunch of players over our time here.
“Probably one of the biggest unsung heroes was Ray Farningham, he was a fantastic midfield player who was as hard as nails. We had Stuart Rafferty, Stuart Beedie, Bobby Smith, Mark Smith, we had so many good players around that time. Paul Smith, David Irons so many quality players who helped me achieve what I did at this club.”
On 18th July 1991, Ross was transferred to Kilmarnock for a fee of £45,000. He had made 131 starts plus 13 sub appearances for the Pars and scored 55 goals. Ross currently sits in 22nd place in Dunfermline’s all-time goalscoring list. He remained with Kilmarnock for two seasons before moving briefly to Montrose as Player-Manager and then finally to Ayr United.
Ross Jack now lives in Fortrose on the Black Isle and holds down two positions as Head of Youth at Inverness Caley Thistle and manager of Highland League, Rothes.