Dunfermline Athletic

Jim MacLean Captain DAFC 1965 Scottish Cup Final

Saturday, 27th Nov 2004

At the 2004 Hall of Fame Jim MacLean the Pars skipper in the 1965 Cup Final looked back on his days at East End Park.

After 40 years Jim pointed out that his name was always mis-spelt and he was a Mac and not a Mc! Speaking exclusively to this website he said:-

"I played a few games with Roy Barry. I remember a game against Dundee. Our goalkeeper tried to be too fancy and Roy came back and tackled Andy Penman. It was a just a tackle but the bone came right through and that`s when I discovered just what a tackler he was.

"When I left Ayr United they were on the slide. I knew it was a bigger team I was coming to. Ayr had brought a central defender called McGuiness from St Mirren. he had previously come up from England and I knew I was on the way out.

"I was slightly surprised when Jock Stein came after me because I wasn`t getting a game for Ayr yet here was this Dunfermline team who had just won the Cup. Ayr were in the old Second Division and big Jock used to go to our midweek games with Sean Fallon and Neilly Mochan.

"When Stein signed me he took me up to Dunfermline for six weeks for pre season training. Looking back I was shy and had no confidence. He took us to look at four bungalows in Dunfermline. when me and the wife saw the first one we said we`d take it but he said `No, No, you`ll look at the other three. He made me feel like I was George Best. That was why Jock Stein got the best out of you because he made you feel as though you were important and gave me more confidence.

"I was lucky that there were injuries. When I arrived Jim Stevenson broke his leg and Jackie Williamson went out of the game with a knee injury. that`s how it goes."

Jim MacLean is in no doubt that Jock Stein left a great team when he left in March 1964 to join Hibs. Willie Cunningham took over and in 1965 Dunfermline should have won the League title:-

"I `m decrying Big Willie but if Big Stein had been there we would have done it. He could gee you on with an extra two quid if you win."

Hard to believe now that £2 would have made a difference but 1965 was as close as Dunfermline have ever come to winning the Scottish League Championship. Dunfermline defeated Rangers 3-1 at East End Park on a Wednesday night and with two matches to go Hearts had to take three points to lift the title, if they didn`t and Dunfermline won there`s against St Johnstone and Celtic, both at home then the title would have come to Fife. A 1-1 draw with St Johnstone ended the dream and Kilmarnock went on to win the title beating Hearts in the last match and lifting the title on goal average. The Pars on 49 were one point behind the top two with a superior goal average. The Pars third position, three points ahead of Hibs did qualify for them for the Fairs Cup.

"We liked getting the Scandinavian sides. they weren`t easy but you got through. You wouldn`t like to get them now. It was the Spaniards that always did us."

Captain of the 1965 Cup Final team Jim MacLean

Forced to retire at the age of 30, Jim ran a pub in Paisley for 12 or 13 years Jim moved to live in Spain in March 2003:-

"It was Christmas and I was 30 when I had to give up. Centre halves at that time played until they were 35 or 36. I was suffering for about a year. I should never have been playing but I didn`t think it was that bad. Big Willie was the manager at the time and I said this hip of mine is killing. I could play because the adrenalin it flow when the game came. I got by but I couldn`t train right. I needed to train because I wasn`t a clever player."

A Bridgeton boy who had started his career at Strathclyde Juniors was bitterly disappointed to lose 3-2 to Celtic in the 1965 Cup Final Jim MacLean but feels that Jock Stein`s knowledge of the Dunfermline team was the telling advantage. Celtic were to finish the season 12 points behind the Pars 8th in the league and against anyone else would have had problems.

"We were 2-1 up at half time and we had a really good defence but Big Stein knew everyone of us. I know he was putting a lot of people through the middle so we didn`t know which one to watch. I had that whispered to me, I don`t know if its true or not. He knew our two backs were fast and he wouldn`t get much change out of them."

Jim`s memory of the team allowed him to pick out keeper Jim Herriot as being commanding and Alex Smith as possibly the best football player he played with. "He was clever, one touch like a continental."

Four hip replacements later (three on the left and one on the right) Jim was back supporting the Pars for the 2004 Scottish Cup Final and still looks out for Dunfermline scores.

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