Dunfermline travel to Celtic Park (again...) for season openerAuthor: Jason Barber Date: Monday, 29th Jul 2002
Well the final countdown is now on for the return of Scottish Premier League Football. This coming Saturday, Dunfermline Athletic will venture out into a new season hoping to surpass the efforts of previous Pars teams making their 3rd consecutive appearance in the top league. Here we look at the first game on the fixture list.
Dunfermline have been given the tricky task of visiting the champions, Glasgow Celtic, for their opening fixture. The SPL may have lined us up as potential 'cannon fodder' but Dunfermline will be quietly confident of making their mark early on in the new season.
Celtic have not got their troubles to seek and it might be the best time to play them, rather than wait until they get into full flow.
Of course, the many recent visits through to Parkhead have not been too healthy for the goals against column. A 3-1 defeat was followed by consecutive 5-0 drubbings there last season. A home game against them might be nice....
We have to go back to August 1997 for the last victory for Dunfermline. Wim Jansen's first home game in charge saw his troops lose 2-1 to the Pars with Davie Bingham and a Hamish French penalty (yes, they DO sometimes get awarded to the away team....) wrapping up the points for DA.
Stewart Petrie is the only member of the squad left from back then, though most of the Pars team have only bitter memories against Celtic to draw from.
The Celtic line up we will face on Saturday is still unknown. Their defence has been injury ravaged and Craig Brewster could find himself in an aeriel battle with either Bobo Balde, Johann Mjallby or even striker/defender Chris Sutton. Whoever he faces, this will be a crucial battle which will affect Dunfermline's chances of a result.
Hopefully, the early collapses that have featured in recent visits will not re-occur this time. Youssef Rossi will not be around to press the self destruct button this time, making at least one less likely reason for a heavy loss. Marco Ruitenbeek will have to gain confidence in these fixtures, losing numerous goals every time he drives along the M8 cannot be good for mental preparation. Perhaps Derek Stillie will start the season as number one?
So, Dunfermline will hopefully going into this game without too much baggage from previous visits. The new signings will be out to impress from the outset and Barry Nicholson will be looking to re-discover the form which made him the Sunday Mail Starcheck winner for 2001/02 (i.e. most consistent player over the season)
Dunfermline have won at Parkhead before, they will hopefully do so again. No better time than to make the media finally sit up and take notice by beating the champions on their own doorstep, with or without TV cameras.....
Don't forget to vote for the first Dunfermline player to score this season! Hopefully we will have a winner this Saturday evening!