1965: Rangers 2 Dunfermline 3
Memorable Match #93
Scottish First Division
Christmas Day 1965
Dunfermline overcame the loss of an early goal to produce a magnificent performance that silenced the bulk of the 30,000 crowd at Ibrox.
All of the Athletic’s players were outstanding, with the movement off the ball leaving the Rangers defence perplexed. Hugh Robertson scored twice from positions far removed from his usual left wing.
This wasn’t a case of defending and simply holding out for a narrow win during the second half of the Pars attacked constantly and could have taken a more commanding lead.
Such an outcome couldn’t have been predicted when FORREST, at the back post, headed Rangers into the lead in the first minute. It was a well taken goal after Willie Johnston was able to put in a cross as a result of a Provan-Watson combination. 1-0
The Pars got their heads down and battled back with vigour. Full backs Willie Callaghan and John Lunn set about extinguishing the threat from the wings, which they did with relish.
Twice Alex Edwards flashed low crosses across the face of the Rangers goal without a team mate able to turn them in. Johnston had a great chance at the other end when Maclean’s attempt to clear hit Callaghan but he shot wildly over.. In the 32nd minute ROBERTSON accepting a pass from Alex Ferguson to cut in from the right past two defenders and shoot past keeper Billy Ritchie at the far post. 1-1
Half time: Rangers 1 Dunfermline 1
After the break the Pars resumed where they had left off, with Ritchie saving from Edwards and Fleming. With nine minutes of the half played, Bert PATON took a pass from Jim Thomson and belted home an absolute beauty from 30 yards out. 1-2
Above: Harry Melrose (left) encourages Jim Thomson and Alex Edwards to leap over Alex Ferguson and Alex Smith.
Ahead for the first time, Dunfermline went all out for a third, earning four corners in quick succession. One of them saw experienced internationalist, Eric Caldow clear an Edwards header off the line.
A great surge down the left saw Lunn then send over an inch perfect cross that Fleming, standing almost on the goal line, incredibly headed back across goal and wide. However, the inevitable third goal came only two minutes later at the mid point of the second half.
Lunn fed a good ball through the middle to ROBERTSON, who sped through a gap in the home defence to shoot past Ritchie from the edge of the box. 1-3
With seventeen minutes remains, George McLEAN headed Rangers back into the game but the Fifers were not going to let this slip. As one newspaper commented, it was to be “a white Christmas with black stripes”!
This was Dunfermline’s first ever win at Ibrox. In sixteen previous league and league cup meetings, the Pars had lost 13 with draws coming in 1962/63 and twice in 1964/65.
Trainer Andy Stevenson commented about this match:-
“Willie Cunningham’s tactics against Rangers were 4-4-2 - two deep full backs to pull the Rangers wingers up the field. Alex Ferguson and Jim Fleming were upfront to split the defence. That was how Bert Paton scored the second goal because the front two had drawn the defence sufficiently for Bert to get in to score from midfield.”
As a consequence of this Pars win, Celtic went top of the First Division on goal average. Dunfermline remained third three points behind the leaders who had a game in hand.
RANGERS: Billy Ritchie: Eric Caldow, David Provan, Roger Hynd, Ron McKinnon, Bobby Watson, Willie Henderson, Alex Willoughby, Jim Forrest, George McLean, Willie Johnston
SCORERS: Forrest (1), McLean (73)
DUNFERMLINE: Eric Martin: Willie Callaghan, John Lunn, Alex Smith, Jim Maclean, Jim Thomson, Alex Edwards, Bert Paton, Jim Fleming, Alex Ferguson, Hugh Robertson
SCORERS: Robertson (32, 67), Paton (55)
REFEREE: RM Davidson, Airdrie
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- 1994: Dundee 4 Dunfermline 4
- 1988: Celtic 1 Dunfermline 0
- 2003: NEC Nijmegen 0 Dunfermline 1
- 1974: Dunfermline 3 Celtic/Rangers Select 3
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