FROM The Scotsman 29 April 1968: Dunfermline beat Hearts by three goals to one in a qualifying match for the European Cup for Cup Winners at Hampden Park on Saturday. Being in an uncommonly surly mood, we prefer to give the confrontation at Hampden such a designation rather than elevate it to the status of a Scottish Cup final.
It is terrible being a traditionalist.
The truth is that we cannot see why we should be obliged to give the match status if others neglect to do so. In saying that, there is no intention to detract from the performance of Dunfermline, who took the trophy for the second time in seven years and at Hampden did their bit to make the affair at a national festival of football as it ought to be. Others were more remiss.
Particularly culpable were the Scottish Football Association who fell down badly on the staging of the affair. Surely this should be a show game and the very term implies that it should be staged with professional showmanship.
The SFA’s idea of making it a spectacular was to turn over the pre-match entertainment to a newspaper who earned a bit of publicity and had wee boys and girls running races round the track and they had cyclists and more mature runners and the Cameronians. It badly needed someone to get the crowd into the mood as used to be done in the old days when a showman led the crowd in community singing.
At the end the cup was stuck into the hand of the Dunfermline captain and then he and his team were hustled down and the supporters, the lifeblood of the game, were treated abominably by being refused a look at their heroes with the trophy.
We know the SFA attitude on this but cannot condone it. There was once a wee bit of trouble at a final between Celtic and Rangers, so everybody has got to suffer. Surely it is not beyond their powers to devise a safe means for a team with a trophy to walk along the centre line and show off the trophy in the centre circle.
This trophy is what the competition is all about and if the Scottish Cup is to maintain its status then it must be the centrepiece. Some humanity must be squeezed in among the rules that so tightly bind the thinking of the Association. One step will be taken in the right direction when an alteration in rule will be made to give the final a free Saturday. The mystery is why this has not been done sooner.
The play itself was a bit of a let-down because it was not imbued with the dignity that should go with the occasion. There was too much attention to ankles and it must be said that Hearts’ image slumped in this respect. Thomson used his strength recklessly and Townsend, after showing flashes of skill that brought Hearts into the game, forgot about that in interminable feuds.
Dunfermline were not altogether blameless, but the statistics give a reliable indication of the apportionment of the blame. Dunfermline had 23 free kicks against 16 for Hearts and they had Lister’s name taken against Townsend and Moller for Hearts. Hearts were more culpable and they were fortunate indeed that Moller was not sent off the field. This was not worthy of the Hearts we used to admire.
Such was the concentration on ankles that the young referee, Mr Anderson, seemed to be taken aback by it and he could hardly have expected it in such a setting. He allowed the match to get out of hand and seemed nervous. It was only in the last few minutes when the decision was clear that at last he did what he should have done earlier and took out his book.
The Dunfermline manager, George Farm, was later complaining bitterly about the fouling and he seemed indiscreet in being so public in his outpourings, but it was strange that such a matter seemed more important to him than the joy at winning. It was the second time that afternoon that he had talked vigorously and the first time was with more immediate effect.
He had watched a first half sink to futility with clueless football. Dunfermline had been lively at first and then Townsend and Jensen began to hold the ball and beat men and make space and Hearts came into the game. Near half-time we were talking about a replay on Wednesday and bemoaning the lack of a forward to take the game out of midfield.
Farm did a bit of shouting and hurt the feelings of various individuals, and immediately after half-time Dunfermline sprang into life. Inside four minutes from the 56th, they had the game won with two rushed goals. Both Cruickshank and Thomson had Lister’s free kick covered and from the Press box the goalkeeper could be heard calling to have the ball left to him. Thomson could not get clear and impeded Cruickshank and he could do no more than knock the ball out to Gardner, who quickly hooked it into the roof of the net.
Then Robertson sent Paton through and he got the ball past Cruickshank as he came out, and was following it when the goalkeeper brought him down. He had only one alternative, and that was to concede a goal. Lister scored coolly and competently from the penalty spot.
Jensen was immediately taken off and Moller was brought on, and soon there was a result that brought Hearts back into the game. Moller bored up the left and hit the ball hard and low across goal. It was a dangerous ball, and in attempting to clear Lunn hit the ball into the roof of his own net. He was in an unenviable position, with the ball coming fast to his shins as he faced his own goal.
Dunfermline rectified that with a goal worthy of the occasion when Gardner had a real bash at the ball as it was knocked in front of him, and at great pace it struck Cruickshank and flew to the roof of the net. The goalkeeper could scarcely have sen it.
And then the referee got busy with his book and the match proceeded fiercely but always within the control of Dunfermline. At the end there were few, if any, to say that they were not worthy Cup holders. They had not been a brilliant team but everywhere they were just a bit better than a disappointing Hearts.
There has to be special mention of young John McGarty who won a medal in only his third first-team game. He showed fine poise and temperament and a stranger would not have nominated him as the least experienced man on the field. There was nobody else that one wanted to praise fulsomely for a true appreciation was blunted all the time with regret that there was not on the field one master attacking player. It was lamentable that this should be so.
Such is the lowering of standards that there was satisfaction being expressed later at the size of the crowd – 56,365 – although it was the lowest ever in a Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park.
It is fair comment on the modern conception of the Scottish Cup final that a record low attendance should satisfy. It is time that somebody did some hard thinking.
Dunfermline: Martin, W Callaghan, Lunn, McGarty, Barry, T Callaghan, Lister, Paton, Gardner, Robertson, Edwards.
Hearts: Cruickshank, Sneddon, Mann, Anderson, Thomson, Miller, Jensen, Townsend, Ford, Irvine, Traynor.
Referee: W Anderson. Attendance: 56,365.