Pars head back to Hampden to take on Hibs!Author: Jason Barber Date: Monday, 23rd Apr 2007
With silverware having eluded Dunfermline since 1968, a rare opportunity to get to the Scottish Cup final takes place on Tuesday night as the Pars again play Hibs at Hampden Park.
Ten days after the sides met in the original cup semi final, the two teams again face off on Tuesday evening. The choice of venue has seen some rather heated debate since the sides drew 0-0 a week past Sunday, but Hampden it is as Dunfermline aim to get into their fifth Scottish Cup final.
Whilst fans of a certain young age may be forgiven in thinking that visits to Hampden, and indeed cup finals themselves, are pretty commonplace these days, Dunfermline have only ever played in six previous Scottish Cup semi final ties in their entire history. Five of those occurred during the halcyon days of the 1960s, with the more recent 2004 run to the cup final including the first semi final since 1968! Not that commonplace at all then….
For those of a certain age, or Dunfermline history buffs, the semi finals to date have been:
• DAFC v St. Mirren in 1961, won 1-0 after a 0-0 draw both at Tynecastle
• DAFC v Rangers in 1964, lost 1-0 at Hampden
• DAFC v Hibs in 1965, won 2-0 at Tynecastle
• DAFC v Celtic, lost 2-0 at Ibrox
• DAFC v St. Johnstone, won 2-1 after a 1-1 draw both at Tynecastle.
• DAFC v Inverness, won 3-2 at Pittodrie after a 1-1 draw at Hampden
• DAFC v Hibs, drawing 0-0 last Sunday and returning on Tuesday night.....
So, overall record to date at this stage in the Scottish Cup is played 6, won 4 and lost 2. If that winning ratio can be improved upon after Tuesday, then Dunfermline will be playing in their fifth final on May the 26th.
The cup run to date had seen all the matches played at home, with the third round pairing us against a team in relative “crisis” as Rangers sacked Paul Le Guen in the week leading up to the game. Iain Durrant took charge of his old side, and Dunfermline raced into an incredible 3-0 lead just after half time as Jim Hamilton, Stephen Simmons and Phil McGuire defied the goal drought that the team was enduring in the SPL at that time. Kris Boyd of Rangers grabbed two ultimately consolation goals, and Dunfermline progressed against the odds into the fourth round draw.
At the same stage of the competition, Hibs had a similarly tricky draw against Aberdeen away from home. The match was live on BBC tv and ended in a 2-2 draw, before the replay ended up being very one sided as Hibs ran out easy 4-1 winners.
Any thoughts of a more “easy” tie in the next round soon disappeared as a home tie against cup holders Hearts was drawn out. The match looked to be heading to a replay at Tynecastle, until Scott Wilson popped up with a header at the back post deep into injury time to put the Pars players and supporters into celebration mode once again! The cup runners up were also put out in the fourth round, as Hibs despatched Gretna 3-1 at Easter Road in a match that could have been a banana skin for John Collins’ side.
Quarter final draw saw Dunfermline drawn at home yet again, no complaints from anyone at East End Park by this stage I’m sure. Former Pars manager Dick Campbell brought his Partick Thistle side to Dunfermline in another game that many saw as a potential cup upset, with the first division side fancied by many to succeed where Rangers and Hearts both failed.
A Stephen Simmons’ double, culminating in that cigar celebration which sees him suspended for the semi final match, was enough to see off a tame Partick challenge and the last four beckoned for Dunfermline. Hibs joined us in the semi final draw after seeing off Queen of the South 2-1 down in Dumfries.
End result is the two teams meeting once again, only a week after the 1-0 home win in the SPL, and both will be quietly confident of a return visit to Hampden Park for the big finale to the Scottish season.
Plenty of tabloid press column inches have concentrated on the alleged fall out in the Hib’s camp following on from last weeks defeat, though Dunfermline have been quick to concentrate on the match itself to try and avoid being caught up in the tangled webs weaved by some this week. John Collins has similarly tried to deflect from such rumour and put the focus back onto an incredibly big match for both teams.