1988: Dunfermline 2 Rangers 0
Memorable Match #71
Scottish Cup Fourth Round
East End Park
Saturday 22 February 1988
After convincing wins over Dunfermline in the League Cup and the Premier Division this was Rangers third match at East End Park in the 1987-89 season. Dunfermline’s 2-0 win in the Scottish Cup second round replay against Second Division Ayr United on 3rd February, was their only win in their last eleven games.
Nevertheless the Pars would defeat Rangers in the Scottish Cup for the first time and the achievement of Jim Leishman’s team was all the more remarkable since it came at at a time when the Ibrox team was full of high profile international players. This included Richard Gough signed from Tottenham Hotspur for a club record fee of £1.5m.
31 year old keeper Dave McKellar, was playing just his second game for Dunfermline since signing from Hamilton Accies in January. The previous season he had been in goals at Ibrox when his former club’s 1-0 win had knocked Rangers out of the Scottish Cup. That trophy would elude Graeme Souness throughout his time in charge of Rangers.
It was the team second bottom of the SPL against second top as Dunfermline kicked off attacking the goal at the town end but it wasn’t long before the Gers created danger. Davie Cooper made a good early run up the left punctuated by a fine pass towards Ian Durrant in the left side of the Fifers box but thankfully John Holt made a great interception.
The latecomer Rangers fans were still being escorted along the trackside when a slick pass from Craig Robertson sent Mark SMITH up the right wing and the despite efforts of Danish internationalist Jan Bartram to stop the cross, the crossed ball sailed into top left corner with just a horror filled wave from Chris Woods as he failed to keep it out. Only the fifth minute and the 23 year old who had been signed from Celtic in 1987, had given the Pars the lead. 1-0
Rangers responded from a Cooper free kick from 25 yards out. The effort rebounded back off the defensive wall and Graham Roberts powered in a good low shot that McKellar did well to take.
The Pars were tested when a Mark Walters cross was headed back across goal by Gough only for Durrant to head over the crossbar at the left post. Norrie McCathie then kept out Durrant, conceding a corner that Cooper sent over from the left. Gough’s header was deflected away from Walters by Holt only for Durrant to get a chance at the left post that the Pars kept out.
A short pass back by Gough then put Woods in trouble as Mark Smith’s pace 25 yards threatened to get him around the keeper but in tumbling the Pars winger the English internationalist’s challenge was deemed to have been deliberate. A yellow card was shown to the keeper and centre back Roberts for dissent. From the resultant free kick Bobby Smith could only win a corner.
Rangers pushed for an equaliser before half time but there was to be yet more drama, and again it involved Mark Smith. Robertson was able to win possession just inside his own half. His pass to Bobby Smith was moved on for Stuart Beedie to drill the ball into the Rangers half. Mark Smith was chasing on to take advantage when out off the ball he was taken out by John Brown.
The home fans were chanting ‘off’ as the referee consulted his linesman and the conclusion was to show Brown red. The enraged 26 year old had to be restrained by Ray Wilkins but Rangers were down to ten men.
The first half had been all about Mark Smith, apart from his goal he was at the heart of everything that caused Rangers problems.
Half time: Dunfermline 1 Rangers 0
Before the restart Scott Nisbet came on for Davie Cooper but again it was the home side that took the early initiative. Ross Jack evaded the offside trap and Woods had to parry away a well struck shot.
In the third minute of the second half Dunfermline increased their lead from a Beedie corner. As the ball came in from the left, inevitably it was Mark Smith who flicked the ball on for John WATSON to meet with a perfectly timed diving header. 2-0
There was plenty of time left for the ten man Rangers to react but Dunfermline pulled out all their defensive qualities to keep them out. McCathie made an important block after McKellar could not hold at Durrant feet.
Gough was pushed upfront with Watson tracking back to mark him. When Bartram delivered a dangerous ball into the box seeking Gough, Watson defended well intervening in front of McKellar.
There was fear in the home ranks when Trevor Francis was introduced to the cup tie with 20 minutes remaining but he would not be the trump card they required and the closest Rangers came was a Nisbet header that slipped over the crossbar.
The match ended with the Fifers on the offensive and it was Dunfermline’s first victory over Rangers since 27th April 1972, a victory that saw them through to meet Hearts at Tynecastle in the last eight.
Mark Smith had been involved in everything that was significant to the game and it was no surprise that he was awarded the Superfit Man of the Match Award.
DUNFERMLINE: Dave McKellar: Graeme Robertson, Norrie McCathie, Vetle Anderson, John Holt, Bobby Smith: Mark Smith, Craig Robertson, Stuart Beedie: Ross Jack (Eric Ferguson), John Watson
SUB NOT USED: Billy Kirkwood
SCORERS: M Smith, Watson
YELLOW CARD: McCathie
RANGERS: Chris Woods: Richard Gough, John Brown, Graham Roberts, Jan Bartram: Davie Cooper (Scott Nisbet HT), Ray Wilkins, Derek Ferguson, Graeme Souness (Trevor Francis 71), Ian Durrant, Mark Walters
YELLOW CARD: Woods, Roberts
RED CARD: Brown (43)
REFEREE: Alan Ferguson, Giffnock
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