Look ahead to Ibrox trip...Author: Jason Barber Date: Thursday, 21st Nov 2002
After breaking a few hoodoos so far this season, Dunfermline this week will attempt to smash the worst one of them all, trying to beat Glasgow Rangers
The stark facts make horrific reading. Not since 1972 have Dunfermline beaten Rangers in a league match. The famous cup tie in 1988 has been the only source of joy in this fixture for almost two generations!
Dunfermline ended up being relegated in 1971/72 season, only two years after their last european campaign. The clubs fall from grace was complete and a long barren spell was about to start.
There had been a brief glimpse of hope when the club travelled to Ibrox on the 27th April 1972. Nothing less than victories in their last two league games would do if the club was to stay up.
An incredible game saw an eighteen year old defender by the name of Jim Leishman pop up in the 80th minute to crash home the winner!
A topsy-turvy game had seen Dunfermline score through Mackie and Thomson, as well as a Sandy Jardine own goal. Rangers had matched the fighting spirit from the Pars and the game was poised at 3-3 with just 10 minutes to go.
Unfortunately, no TV footage exists of the game. However, Leishman swears to this day that his goal was a 30 yard thunderbolt! Perhaps some older Pars can clarify if this was actually the case?
That result has remained as the last Pars victory for over 30 years now, a sore one for any Pars fan.
This current squad showed in the recent CIS Cup tie that they ARE capable of matching Rangers on the park. If similar determination and effort can be applied once again, then a shock could be on the cards.
Jimmy Calderwood has shuffled his pack for recent games, adapting the starting line up to suit the tactics required for each match. However, the line up against Dundee and the introduction of Mason and Dempsey against Hearts would lean most people towards the strongest team of the moment.
Changes are again likely this week, Calderwood has an almost fully fit squad to choose from and his selection will be vital. He has not been in the habit of joining other managers in playing defensive line ups hoping to snatch a point from the Glasgow clubs, no doubt he will be looking to try and match them again this week.
Derek Stillie did enough to show he is deserving of another starting place this week. Marco Ruitenbeek failed a late fitness test last week and may well only be on the bench this time round. Stevie Crawford will have hopefully returned intact after his game in the rain over in Portugal. His seventh cap did not afford him too many opportunities to shine, but he certainly showed enough effort to gain pass marks.
Here is to another hopeful venture into the den that is Ibrox. One of these days, a result WILL come. The prospect of going 8 points clear in third place in the SPL will be more than enough reward for the players should they be the ones to finally achieve that elusive victory....
COME ON YE PARS!