Dunfermline Athletic

Andrius Skerla off to Russia?

Author: Jason Barber Date: Sunday, 21st Aug 2005

Here we take a look back over the Dunfermline career who was Mr Reliable for the vast majority of his Pars career.

Mr Rossi was not the dream team partner he was meant to be

Signed for £160,000 from PSV Eindhoven in July 2000, Skerla was one of the first players brought in by Jimmy Calderwood after promotion to the Premier League that summer.

Along with Youssef Rossi and Barry Nicholson, Skerla was one of the big money buys that were made as Dunfermline splashed the cash in order to make an immediate impact in the SPL.

Andrius started his career at his local side, FK Vilnius, and helped them to a Cup Final victory over Inkaras Kaunas in May 1997.

Skerla in 2002

Struggling to reach similar heights on the fringes of the PSV Eindhoven team, he took the chance to become a first team regular at East End Park.

His first season at the club, 2000/01, saw him start 41 games for Dunfermline. He also scored his first goal along the way, with a late goal against Celtic in the Scottish Cup which paved the way for a last minute equiliser from Nicholson.

The slow return to fitness from Youssef Rossi never saw the "dream team" centre half partnership fully blossom, with Justin Skinner joining him in the side more often than not.

2001/02 saw another 40 starts for Andrius, with another solitary goal along the way (this time the opener in a 3-1 home win over Motherwell)

Perhaps the first name on the team sheet each week at this stage, Andrius was also earning caps for his national side at the same time. He would go onto become the second highest capped player whilst at Dunfermline Athletic.

39 starts followed in 2002/03, without the obligatory goal this time. With a new goalkeeper behind him, Derek Stillie, numerous more centre halfs seemed to come and go alongside Skerla with each passing game. Andre Karnebeek, Lee Bullen, Jason Dair, Scott Walker, Scott Thompson and Scott Wilson all partnered Skerla in defence during that particular season.

The highlight of his Dunfermline career was to come at the end of 2003/04 season. Having qualified for the UEFA courtesy of reaching the Scottish Cup final against then champions Celtic, Skerla took part in the showpiece final in his 42nd game of the season.

His one, and only, goal of that campaign came in the 40th minute of that final against Celtic in a moment that will live with Pars fans for many a year to come. One nil up at half time thanks to Skerla`s looping effort, the second half collapse obviously cancelling out such a high soon after unfortunately.

Mr "Prolific" then went onto open his account for 2004/05 season in a similar high profile moment. Equilising in Reykjavic against FH Hafnarfjordur with just two minutes to go, sent 800 Pars fans delirious!

Unfortunately, an uncharacteristic error in the return match at McDiarmid Park saw the part time Icelandic team go through with two late goals of their own. Enough said about that particular evening though....

THAT goal in the cup final!

A proposed transfer to Russian club, Rubin Kazan, collapsed after funds failed to materialise. Skerla said his farewells to the Dunfermline support at half time during the midweek game against Motherwell in March of this year. He was soon back in the team for the final few games of the season though when Leishman`s return saw Dunfermline somehow stay up when all looked doomed. Skerla scored his second goal of the season during the famous 5-0 win over Dundee that set the club up for their late escape from the drop.

For the stattos then, Skerla started 199 games for Dunfermline, whilst coming off the bench only once in his five years at the club. This was against Hibernian on the opening day of this season! Five goals was his return, though the two mentioned above will be remembered for a long time to come.

He is also now the second most capped Dunfermline player, with 18 caps to his name whilst here.

DAFC.net wish Andrius all the best for his future career.

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