1989: Dunfermline 1 Meadowbank Thistle 1
Memorable Match #55
Scottish First Division, East End Park
Saturday 13th May 1989
After consecutive promotions Dunfermline reached the Premier League in season 1987-88 but they lasted just one season in the top flight. Leishman’s touch did not desert him the following season in which the objective was to bounce right back up.
This time he could achieve something he had not managed first time around - the First Division championship. Needing just two points to clinch the title, the Pars froze and could only take one from the previous week’s home match against a Clyde side battling to avoid relegation.
Jim Duffy’s Falkirk were chasing the league’s only promotion place and the Pars still needed a draw in their final league match of the season. That match was against Meadowbank Thistle at East End Park another side who would raise their game to face the full time Fifers. Grant Tierney lined up against the team he started the campaign with.
A huge crowd of just under 13000 watched the capital side kick off attacking the goal at the home end and Neil Irvine came close with an early shot popped over the crossbar from 25 yards out.
After 20 minutes Ross Jack ran on to a long through ball but when an unfortunate bounce beat him the chance fell to 19 year old Raymond Sharp and keeper Jim McQueen turned the left footed shot from 15 yards out on to his crossbar.
At the other end Westie saved a Steve Logan free kick but there were few opportunities going the Pars way. News of Falkirk winning 1-0 at Forfar did little to dampen the nerves.
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Meadowbank Thistle 0
Dunfermline’s Graeme Robertson created a couple of close things. First his shot from distance dropped narrowly outside the far post and on the hour Robbo’s cross fell just behind the goal.
Disaster struck in 62 minutes when John McCormack sent Bobby Forrest wide right and his cross was headed home by Gordon SCOTT from inside six yard box. 0-1
Just when the Fifers seriously needed a goal striker John Watson claimed his sixteenth goal of the season. Ian Westwater’s long throw found Robertson on the right and he launched a long ball that Thistle’s Walter Boyd let though him and left to close in on goal. From eight yards out WATSON netted through the legs of the advancing keeper.
Archie MacPherson described it in his TV commentary “a goal that has brought something akin to the relief of Mafeking.” Things began to look even better as news came through of an equaliser at Station Park.
Scott made Westwater save dropping to his right but the Pars saw it out to great scenes at the final whistle. News of Brian Grant scoring another for Forfar to put them 2-1 up meant that the Dunfermline fans were celebrating even before the final whistle. When it sounded Jim Leishman and Iain Munro led the celebrations, the players were over the moon and they eventually went in to prepare for a lap of honour.
“We are the Champions” played as the players returned. Leishman was on his knees in middle of the park and then did his
famous aeroplane round behind the goals. The Eastenders theme tune continued through what were highly emotional scenes.
Back in the Premier League two points to spare. Dunfermline had won 22 of their 39 matches and they could not be caught even though Derek McWilliams headed in last minute equaliser for Falkirk.
DUNFERMLINE: Ian Westwater: Graeme Robertson, Bobby Smith (c), Norrie McCathie, Grant Tierney, Raymond Sharp (Mark Smith), Stuart Beedie, Paul Smith, Ross Jack, John Watson, Davie Irons
SUB NOT USED: Eddie Gallacher
YELLOW CARD: Tierney
MEADOWBANK THISTLE: Jim McQueen: John McCormack, Graeme Armstrong (c), Walter Boyd, Stewart Williamson, Dave Roseburgh, Stevie Logan, Neil Irvine, Bobby Forrest, Adrian Sprott, Gordon Scott.
YELLOW CARD: Boyd
REFEREE: Gerry Evans, Bishopbriggs
LEAGUE POSITION: 1st
- - Listen to Jim Leishman`s post match comments
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- 1996: Dunfermline 2 Airdrie 1
- 2011: Morton 0 Dunfermline 2
- 2006: Dunfermline 1 Livingston 0
- 2013: Dunfermline 6 Forfar Athletic 1
- 1988-89 First Division table