Dunfermline Athletic

1961: Dunfermline 1 St Mirren 0

Memorable Match #17
Scottish Cup Semi Final Replay
Wednesday 5th April 1961

1961 Scottish Cup Semi Final

The semi-final draw options were Airdrie, Celtic or Hibs, and St Mirren.  Rangers had gone out to Motherwell in the third round and Motherwell had lost to Airdrie in the Quarter finals.  When the draw was made Dunfermline drew St Mirren - the cup winners two years before. The semi-final was to be played at Tynecastle on 1st April.

10,000 fans travelled from Fife to see if the Pars could take the biggest step in their history by reaching their first ever Scottish Cup final.

The semi-final produced no goals but Dunfermline came out of it against the fancied and experienced St Mirren with the major share of the glory.  Nobody present could grudge them the chance to fight again.  Few would have complained had they managed to win.  The Pars produced most of the good football and they did it all with only 10 men for the last 35 minutes.

Their moment of tragedy came just 10 minutes after the interval.  Peebles crossed a high one into the goalmouth, Charlie Dickson rose for it with Jim Clunie and although Charlie got his header in - then he and Clunie clashed together.  Both slumped to the ground and the trainers fought to bring them round.  Clunie made it but Dickson was carried off and did not return.

The replay was never a classic encounter, but the Athletic played a sound tactical game. Played at Tynecastle on the Wednesday evening and the only goal of the game was scored against his own side by Rab Stewart, the Paisley club`s right half, in no way detracts from Dunfermline `s success for they were the superior team and in the end won deservedly.

Jock Stein made two changes to the team that played in the first game, bringing in Dave Thomson to replace the injured Charlie Dickson, and Tommy McDonald in place of Dan McLindon.

The opening spell of the game was fast and furious, with both sides being forced into making mistakes. The first real chance fell to the Saints, when a Henderson shot narrowly missed.

Following some fine passing play between the Pars forward line, Melrose found himself in a good position for a shot, but keeper Brown grabbed the ball on the ground. Then in 13 minutes, following a collision with Riddell, Alex Smith took a nasty head knock which needed stitches. It was some sixteen minutes before he was able to continue, with a plaster on his forehead.
With the Athletic defence forcing the Saints attack to remain deep, it was the Athletic who looked by far the better of the two teams at this stage.

George Peebles had a fine shot which was well held by Jimmy Brown. At the other end, Jim Rodger drove narrowly past after Eddie Connachan had punched the ball out. But overall it was the Pars who were making the better chances, and when McDonald passed inside to Thomson, he back heeled to Melrose, who set-up Peebles for a shot which had the crowd shouting `goal`, as it narrowly missed the target. At the Dunfermline end, Connachan had a fine save from Don Kerrigan.

With half-time approaching, the tackles were getting heavier, and referee Bowman had to have a word with the players to quieten things down.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 St Mirren 0

Right after the break, Dunfermline fell out of the game for a while, but not before a Smith drive went inches over the bar. Saints had several good efforts from Gemmell and Kerrigan which were well dealt with by Connachan.

In 67 minutes, the Pars were awarded a free kick near the corner flag. Melrose crossed the ball into the box, and Saints right-half STEWART attempted to clear the ball, but in the process managed to head against the underside of the bar, from where the ball crossed the line despite a last gasp effort by Wilson to clear. With the referee right on the spot, a goal was signalled, despite appeals from the St Mirren players. Pandemonium broke out on the terracing, as Dunfermline went into a fully deserved lead.

One goal up, and the Pars were fighting for every ball, and they had chances to increase their lead further. Thomson capitalised on a Clunie slip, but fell before he could take advantage. Melrose and Thomson both missed an inviting Mailer free kick.

As Saints became more desperate to grab a late equaliser, they gambled by moving centre half Clunie to centre forward for the last ten minutes. Right at the end, Connachan had a superb save from a Riddell drive, putting the ball out for a corner, which was subsequently cleared.

Then came the final whistle - Dunfermline Athletic were in the Scottish Cup Final, the biggest game of their 76 year history.

In the other semi-final Celtic who had beaten Hibs 1-0 in the quarter final replay, ran out 4-0 winners over Airdrie at Hampden.  So on Saturday, 22nd April, Dunfermline would play Celtic at Hampden Park in their first ever Scottish Cup Final.

Semi Final Replay Line Ups

DUNFERMLINE: Eddie Connachan, Cammy Fraser, Willie Cunningham, Ron Mailer, Jackie Williamson, George Miller, Tommy McDonald, Alex Smith, Charlie Dickson, Dave Thomson, George Peebles, Harry Melrose.
SCORER: Stewart (og 67).

ST MIRREN: James Brown, Bobby Campbell, John Wilson, Rab Stewart, Jim Clunie, Ian Riddell, Jim Rodger, Tommy Henderson, Don Kerrigan, Tommy Gemmell, Alistair Miller.

REFEREE: G Bowman (Clydebank)

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