Dunfermline 1 St Johnstone 1
On Wednesday 14th April 1965 Dunfermline inflicted a 3-1 defeat on a Rangers side that included the likes of legends John Greig, Jim Baxter, Willie Henderson and Davie Wilson. In doing so they took a step nearer what could be a remarkable league and cup double.
Having already secured a place in the final of the Scottish Cup where Willie Cunningham’s team would face Celtic, the win over fifth placed Rangers left the Pars second top, two points behind Hearts each with two matches to play and level on points but with a superior goal average to Kilmarnock.
The Fifers last two matches where both at home against St Johnstone and a mid table Celtic. Hearts would play Killie on the final day.
It was the Saturday prior to the Scottish Cup final when St Johnstone visited East End Park. After a midweek win over Rangers, Dunfermline were expected to coast through this match against their lowly placed opponents. Instead they sank to the depths of despair. The single point they got ended their Scottish League championship bid but sadly it was all they deserved.
The Fife attack put on unbelievably poor display. Often in the earlier part of the season they had been guilty of missing chances, here they didn’t even start to make them until near the end. Definitely not the stuff champions are made of.
Saints with nothing at stake played a commendably cool defensive game but they lacked penetration and failed to make openings.
Dunfermline’s early attacks carried plenty of sting. Bill McCarry was forced to head over his own bar in the second minute then an Alex Smith left footer raged inches wide.
Quarter of an hour had gone before the first sign of real Saints aggression. Jim Herriot was shocked to see an Ian Hawkshaw drive dip just over the bar. That shock was nothing to what cropped up in 24th minute when HAWKSHAW, seemingly yards offside, was allowed to fasten on to a McFadyen slip and put the Perth men one up. 0-1
The home forwards weren’t showing up well. It was left to the Pars attacking left back John Lunn to set up the equaliser with a fine dribble and pass to Alex FERGUSON who beat McVittie on the turn. 1-1
Half time: Dunfermline 1 St Johnstone 1
The news of Hearts half-time lead at Pittodrie did nothing to encourage Dunfermline and it was the visitors who came closest soon after the break.
John Flannigan then Bobby Kemp in two lightning breakaways were stopped by the desperate tackles of Willie Callaghan.
Before long however Mike McVitie’s goal area was being invaded by black-and-white jerseys with the big threat coming from home wing halves Alex Smith and Tom Callaghan. Between them, they had a total of five shots saved at full stretch by Saints’ brilliant keeper, who also produced fine efforts to foil Jackie Sinclair and Harry Melrose. Not surprisingly McVittie was Saints outstanding player with McCarry, McKinven and Willie Renton also prominent.
A sad day for Dunfermline, for whom only Herriot, Lunn and Smith could claim any real credit. This did not augur well for the cup final.
As far as the league was concerned Dunfermline had 47 points but Hearts win took them to 50 points. The final fixtures saw Kilmarnock snatch the title on goal average with a 2-0 win at Tynecastle. The Pars defeated Celtic in the final league game to finish one point behind the other two. Had Dunfermline taken two points against St Johnstone, the title could well have been theirs since they had the best goal average of them all.
DUNFERMLINE: Jim Herriot: Willie Callaghan, John Lunn, Alex Smith, Jim Maclean, Tom Callaghan, Alex Edwards, Alex Ferguson, John McLaughlin, Harry Melrose, Jackie Sinclair.
ST JOHNSTONE: Mike McVittie: Charlie McFadyen, Jim Richmond, Bill McCarry, Ron McKinven, Bobby Dickson, John Flanagan, Ian Hawkshaw, Gordon Whitelaw, Willie Renton, Bobby Kemp.
REFEREE: AJ Crawley, Glasgow
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