Dunfermline Athletic

1959: Dunfermline 10 Partick Thistle 1

Memorable Match #30
Scottish First Division
Saturday 18th April 1959

In every match preview for a home match against Partick Thistle, the record scoreline 10-1 is alwaysa quoted milestone but there is just as big a story behind this match which was the final league game of the 1958-1959 season.

Dunfermline had a yo-yo existence during the late fifties. Promotion in 1955 was followed by relegation two seasons later and promotion again after only one season in Division Two. In 1958/59 First Division status was again in danger when April came around - Queen of South were already destined for the drop and the struggle to avoid joining them lay between Dunfermline, Falkirk and Aberdeen.

Above: Harry Melrose

In these days before goal difference, goal average would matter. On the morning of the match Dunfermline sat in second bottom spot with 26 points from 33 games, goals for 58 against 86, goal average 0.674. Falkirk were third bottom with the same 26 points, goals for 56, against 77 goal average 0.727. Next from the foot were Aberdeen on 27 points, 61 for, 65 against average 0.938. Just above them were Raith Rovers and Stirling Albion on 28 points - their goal averages 0.853 and 0.828.

Falkirk were at home to Raith Rovers and Aberdeen`s last match was against League Championship favourites Rangers at Ibrox.

Athletic with the inferior goal average, had to make sure of a big win in their last league match against Partick Thistle at East End Park. This match now famous for its score-line, ensured First Division football for yet another season.

The ten goals boosted the goal average to 0.782 but in the end that didn’t matter. Falkirk drew 2-2 with the late John White missing a penalty and Dunfermline ended up with one point more than Falkirk who were relegated along with Queen of the South. Keeping clear of relegation, Aberdeen won at Ibrox but Rangers still won the league as a consequence of Celtic defeating Hearts!

The match at East End Park saw a goal rush with the home side seven goals up at half time. Architect of this amazing feat was the often maligned centre forward, Charlie Dickson with five assists and one goal.

Harry Melrose established himself as Scotland’s top-scoring winger with six goals to his credit, two of them from the penalty spot. The dash of George Peebles, the energy of Alex Smith and the subtleties of Jimmy Watson completed a five star forward line.

Marshalled by Harry Colville, the defence was seldom in trouble, and Norrie Rattray and Ron Mailer had freedom to play in a manner that gets results.

Above - how Twitter would have told it and the morning league table

After Dickson had twice split the Jags’ defence wide open and only over-anxiety had prevented a score, SMITH banged in the first in 8th minute.

Dickson then square passed one to MELROSE who first timed it into the net. Next as a result of a Dickson pass MELROSE just had to pick his spot to make it 3-0.

Then in 25 minutes a Dickson ball split the Thistle defence and SMITH glided in the fourth. Thirteen minutes past before the next goal when Watson headed on a Peebles cross for MELROSE to smash an unsaveable shot past keeper Ledgerwood. 5-0

When Kennedy in the box to prevent a Dickson pass reaching its target, MELROSE scored from the penalty spot. No one could deny DICKSON was worthy of a goal and in 44 minutes he outjumped the keeper to a Peebles cross and headed into the net. At the break the scoreline was barely believable.

Half time: Dunfermline 7 Partick Thistle 0

Frank DONLEVY got a goal back for the visitors just three minutes into the second half but 14 minutes later his keeper misjudged a PEEBLES lob and it was 8-1.

Peebles supplied the ball for MELROSE to net the next and he took his personal tally to six from a penalty in 89 minutes. 10-1

Harry’s six goals were an all time record for the Scottish League by a winger, the only other winger who scored more was Arbroath’s John Petrie with 13 in their record setting 36-0 Scottish Cup win over Bon Accord.

The other amusing anecdote from 18th April 1959 was the reactions at Ibrox when it looked as though their defeat to Aberdeen had cost them the league title. Imagine the scenes as boos turned to cheers and celebrations all because Celtic had defeated title rivals Hearts at Parkhead.

DUNFERMLINE: Eddie Connachan: Bain, John Sweeney, Norrie Rattray, Harry Colville, Ron Mailer, George Peebles, Jimmy Watson, Charlie Dickson, Alex Smith, Harry Melrose.
SCORERS: Smith (8, 25), Melrose (17, 22, 38, 41 pen. 79, 89 pen.) Dickson (44), Peebles (62)

PARTICK THISTLE: Tommy Ledgerwood: George Muir, Doug Baird, Kennedy, Jimmy Davidson, Frank Donlevy, Johnny Mackenzie, Davie McFarlane, Andy Kerr, George Smith, Davie Wilson
SCORER: Donlevy (48)

REFEREE: JA Bissett, Edinburgh

Above - how Twitter would have told it and the final league table

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