Dunfermline Athletic

Ian Cowan

Tuesday, 15th Nov 2016

Dunfermline Athletic were saddened to learn the death of former player, Ian Cowan.

Born in Falkirk on 27th November 1944, Ian Cowan was a fifteen year-old winger with Camelon Juniors when he signed professional terms with his home-town club in February 1960. After a handful of first-team appearances, he was given a free transfer at the end of Falkirk`s promotion-winning 1960/61 season.

Reinstated to junior level with Rutherglen Glencairn, Ian was there for a very brief time before being snapped up by Partick Thistle in August 1961. In just over four seasons at Firhill he played in close to one hundred matches, including three of the four Inter-Cities Fairs Cup ties that Thistle contested in 1963/64.

Having been switched to inside-forward, he moved on to St. Johnstone in October 1965 and made 24 appearances before returning to his first senior club, Falkirk, in the summer of 1966. Playing alongside former Pars goalkeeper Eddie Connachan, Ian was again a first-team regular before injury ensured that he missed most of the 1967/68 season.

He was still recuperating when George Farm paid £4,500 to bring him to East End Park in July 1968. With all his experience Ian was still only 24 but joining the Scottish Cup winners meant that he was never likely to be anything other than a squad player. Although his first-team debut came fairly quickly, as a substitute in the 10-1 Cup-Winners` Cup thrashing of Cypriot club Apoel at East End, he had to wait until 4th January 1969 to play in the league, again coming off the bench in a 3-1 defeat at Celtic Park.

Two weeks later he made his only starting appearance for Dunfermline, coming in for the injured Barrie Mitchell in a 2-1 loss at St. Johnstone. The following season he played three times as a substitute though he did score his only goal for the Pars in a 1-1 draw at Dundee.

After just six appearances for the Athletic Ian was released in 1970 and headed south to join Southend United. He made only three league appearances before travelling abroad, first to Belgian club Ostend KVG and then to Hong Kong Rangers.

On coming home in December 1972 Ian signed for Albion Rovers, his last senior club before returning to the junior grade with Whitburn the following summer.

When his football career finished Ian had a taxi business and worked at Grangemouth Docks. He had lived at Grangemouth most of his life and was a regular at Falkirk matches as a member of their Former Players Association.

Ian’s cousin Gregor Abel is much better known to Pars fans and Gregor gave us his own memories of Ian as a player: “Ian was an out and out winger and was recognisable with his curly hair and his ‘cowboy legs’. His best spell in the game was when he was at Firhill with Partick Thistle who had a good team at the time with the likes of Davie McParland. He didn’t do as well as he’d hoped at Dunfermline because they paid what was a lot of money for him at the time but he didn’t get many games.”

“Ian was a great entertainer and was never happier than when he was singing or playing his mouth organ. His son must have taken after him because he works as an Elvis impersonator.”

In recent times Ian’s health has been poor and deteriorated quite quickly recently before he sadly passed away on Tuesday. The sincere condolences of everyone at East End Park go out to Ian’s family and in particular his wife Lotty and their two sons.

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