2001: Dunfermline 2 Celtic 2
Memorable Match #11
Tennents Scottish Cup Fourth Round
Saturday 17th February 2001
Rarely can sponsors benefit so immediately from their involvement in sport but after this match the Dunfermline pubs were popular places as hundreds of Pars fans toasted their heroes and relived the events of yet another exciting cup tie at East End Park.
The Pars had looked out of the Scottish Cup in midweek when they trailed St Johnstone 2-0 with thirty minutes remaining. A tactical adjustment to his offensive by Pars boss Jimmy Calderwood switching to a 2-4-4 formation, had paid dividends with three goals to earn the home tie against Celtic.
The tie was to be drawn and a replay required but that is only part of the story. Eight goals in the space of eight days all scored in front of the Norrie McCathie Stand and the prospect of two more matches against Celtic in the space of 5 days.
When Jimmy Calderwood predicted during the SPL winter break in Morocco that there were "exciting times ahead" even he could not have believed that he would be sending the East End faithful out punch drunk on the hysteria of two fantastic cup ties.
Calderwood`s heart searching selection -" as hard a decision as I have ever made" meant that Lee Bullen, Stewart Petrie and Jason Dair were put back on the bench to make way for Andy Tod, Ian Ferguson and Gary Mason. Toddy started his first match for Dunfermline since 25th March last year with a role to mark Chris Sutton. Moroccan internationalist Youssef Rossi would try to stifle the threat of Didier Agathe.
Dunfermline settled and Celtic were kept well away from the Pars goal. Celtic`s first shot at goal in the 10th minute was sent way wide right by Paul Lambert. A Neil Lennon cross was nodded down by Sutton despite Tod`s shadowing to Alan Thompson but Marco Ruitenbeek was good enough.
A good tight match developed and no one was giving much away. The ball was getting swung around but there were no real chances at either end. Barry Nicholson was busy at both ends; not long after forcing Rab Douglas to clutch one of his crosses he was in the thick of it in the home penalty area belting away a Thompson cross from out left that Sutton almost converted.
When Willie Young brought the first half to an end on the 45 minutes, Dunfermline had succeeded in keeping Celtic out with a good closing down game that meant that Celtic had managed only three efforts at the target in the entire first half.
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Celtic 0
Barry Nicholson and Scott Thomson took the kick off at the start of the second half as Dunfermline set out to eliminate the favourites.
Larsson fired an effort over the Pars crossbar before in 52nd minute things looked serious. Bobby Petta accepted a Sutton knock down and advanced in on goal. He shrugged off the efforts of Mason to stop him and it was left to Ruitenbeek to save from 18 yards.
Tod had been pushed up for two free kicks and there was a mad scramble back as Celtic retaliated with a break that ended with Larsson wide to the left of the Dunfermline goal.
Larsson and Thompson combined to let Petta in again and Mason stopped him with the visiting fans trying to persuade Willie Young that a penalty was deserved.
When Rossi went on a run up the left; his cross was headed by Scott Thomson but deflected over the crossbar for a corner. The McCathie Stand erupted with strains of "away, away, away" but nothing came of the corner.
Next Moss and Thomson played a good move up the left which ended with Moss setting up Ferguson for a blast over the bar. Lee Bullen was introduced in place of the green booted Dijkhuizen with 63 minutes gone. Next minute Mason had to lean on Petta and yet again a penalty claim was dismissed by Referee Young.
But on 66 minutes a free kick on the left looked to be well under control in the Pars defence until in his trademark fashion LARSSON popped up from behind Vega to net the opener. Dunfermline attacked but were almost caught out by an Agathe break on the right with Rossi stranded upfield and lived even more dangerously when five Celtic players seemed to burst towards Ruitenbeek with scarcely any cover. Fortunately when Lambert crossed the offside flag went up although Petrov`s header came back off the crossbar.
Fifteen minutes from the end an Ian Ferguson free kick almost dropped for Tod. Dair and McGroarty were introduced for Mason and Moss and things were getting heated on the Celtic bench as John Robertson was warned by the referee.
Eight minutes were left when Dunfermline won their third corner of the half. Nicholson took it short to Skinner on the corner of the penalty area. The Englishman skied the ball into the area in front of goal. Jason Dair`s shot was blocked but as the ball broke Andrius SKERLA stuck out a foot and the ball was in the back of the net.
The volume was turned up as both sets of fans tried to inspire their sides to find a winner. Bullen sent a great ball in for Thomson but his shot just bent to the outside of the post. Again deploying the tactic that saw him through against St Johnstone, Calderwood went for the victory with Tod put right up front but he got an injury that left him dazed in the centre circle.
Then the opening was made by Celtic. Lennon found Sutton on the edge of the six yard box slipped it to LARSSON and he cleverly executed what looked like the proverbial nail in the coffin despite the close atttentions of both Rossi and Skerla.
Two minutes left and Dunfermline kicked off for the third time. Ruitenbeek was out directing his defence from the half way line and Celtic were caught offside when things could have got worse for Dunfermline. With the last throw of the dice Chris McGroarty went on one of his runs that took him diagonally towards Bullen. The substitute touched it back to NICHOLSON who took the pass and buried the shot from 20 yards out into the bottom left corner of the net.
91 minutes 32 seconds on the stopwatch; there had been no treatment stoppages only a little time for Lennon tying his bootlaces so the final whistle came and the Pars fans were ecstatic. A great performance with Skerla and Nicholson excelling; Scott Thomson did really well and the subs Bullen and McGroarty made significant contributions.
Sammy the Tammy had a really amusing pre match routine building a cardboard fort and holding up a card saying "Welcome to Fortress East End Park". The Celts were made fully aware of the fortification, now Dunfermline just needed to find one that could travel. On Wednesday 7th March at Celtic Park a 4-1 win sadly saw the Hoops progress.
DUNFERMLINE: Marco Ruitenbeek: Andrius Skerla, Youssef Rossi, Andy Tod, Scott M Thomson, David Moss (Chris McGroarty 78), Ian Ferguson, Gary Mason (Jason Dair 69), Justin Skinner, Barry Nicholson, Marinus Dijkhuizen (Lee Bullen 53).
SUBS NOT USED: Stewart Petrie, Scott Y Thomson (GK)
SCORERS: Skerla (83), Nicholson (90).
YELLOW CARDS: Tod (23), Ferguson (89).
CELTIC: Robert Douglas,, Tommy Boyd, Joos Valgaeren (Olivier Tebily 67), Ramon Vega, Paul Lambert, Neil Lennon, Bobby Petta (Stilian Petrov 67), Alan Thompson, Didier Agathe, Henrik Larsson, Chris Sutton
SUBS NOT USED: Lubomir Moravcik, Tommy Johnson, Jonathan Gould (GK).
SCORER: Larsson (66,88).
REFEREE: Willie Young
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- Photos from Dunfermline v Celtic 17th February 2001