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1997-11-01: Dunfermline 0-2 Celtic, Premier Division
| Match Pictures | Matches: 1997 - 1998 | 1997-1998 Pictures|
- Celtic had gone top of the Premier League in their previous game - a 2-0 win against St Johnstone, and the team were on a 13 game unbeaten run.
- Wim Jansen picked up his second Manager of the Month award for October and Tosh McKinlay picked up the Player of the Month award on behalf of his Scotland team mates for qualifying for France '98.
- Danny Crainie, ex-Celt and then youth team coach, had just been given his cards after a reassessment of the Youth Development by Jock Brown and Eric Black. This came as a shock to a number of commentators who knew how good Danny was with the younger additions to what had been constituted as the Celtic Pro-Youth Academy.
- Celtic enquired about the availability of Guiseppe Signori, then of Lazio and were told that he was available at the right price. Celtic were also sniffing around Rosenborg to see if Harald Brattbakk was available. Signori would go to Sampdoria and Brattbakk would eventually land at Celtic Park.
- Gordon Marshall who had been on loan to St Mirren had just been recalled by Jansen due to backup 'keeper Stewart Kerr picking up a hamstring injury. Youth keeper Andy McCondichie was also on loan to Hamilton Accies. Stuart Gray was on loan to Morton. Apart from them the whole of the first team squad was fit, in particular long-termers Tommy Johnson and Darren Jackson had both come through games and were ready for action, but Jansen declined to include Johnson in the squad (adding to the rumours that he never really fancied him as a player).
Quick ReviewA win from a Regi Blinker trundler, followed by a turgid game kept the Bhoys noses in front of Hearts on goals scored in the League. All set up nicely for the next game against Rangers.
TeamsDunfermline (4-3-3): Westwater; Shields, Tod, Barnett, Miller; Duarte, French, Curran (Bingham 70); Shaw (Moore 72), Smith, Britton (Welsh 83).
Celtic (4-4-2): Gould; Boyd, Rieper, Stubbs, Mahe; McNamara, Burley, Wieghorst, Blinker; Donnelly, Larsson (Thom 90).
Non-Used Subs: O'Donnell, Hannah
Scorers: Blinker (67) 0-1, Larsson (87) 0-2.
Yellow cards: Barnett, Bingham (Dunfermline); Wieghorst, Blinker, Burley (all Celtic).
Referee: H Dallas (Motherwell).
- Match Report
Scotland on Sunday 02/11/1997
Dunfermline Athletic 0 Celtic 2
THIRTY long years ago, they were hanging off East End Park's giant floodlight pylons to catch a glimpse of these two teams. No one would have done so yesterday.
Not only was the spectacle so poor that it was an embarrassment to the memory of Celtic and Dunfermline under Jock Stein and George Farm, but anyone foolish enough to have climbed the shiny, new light system at Dunfermline risked being smacked in the face with the ball.
Bert Paton may have played in that famous Fife side which won the Scottish Cup that season and enjoyed the adulation of a sell-out 30,000 match against Stein's Celtic, but there was little sign that he has carried the football lineage down through the decades. The Dunfermline manager's love of the long ball means that it spends so much time in the sky, that it qualifies for air miles.
In keeping with the poverty of entertainment, it looked, until Henrik Larsson struck in the 86th minute with Celtic's second goal, that this match was going to be decided with one of the worst goals of this, or any other, season. Regi Blinker got the credit for the 66th-minute strike which had divided the teams until that point, but, in truth, the ball would never have beaten goalkeeper Ian Westwater had it not been for the freak deflection it took off Greg Shields' boot.
Still, Wim Jansen will worry little about that. The victory gives him the perfect platform to contemplate next week's vital collision with Rangers, in particular, and an important month in general, with another Old Firm encounter due and a Coca-Cola Cup final to be negotiated.
While Celtic, and their fans, were used to looking down from above in those late 1960s, the current Parkhead set-up has not benefited from going into such a summit with their bitterest rivals from a higher vantage point for many a year, even if the top position is shared with Hearts.
The retro feel was enhanced by the Celtic support, who borrowed that 1960s classic, Yellow Submarine, to announce their victory celebrations. Ibrox, next Saturday, will be a different test altogether, but whoever said the Old Firm games contain little in the way of football should have seen this effort.
Jansen said later: "The result was important for us. We didn't play well in the first half and could not control the game because we started to play like Dunfermline. They play high balls but we prefer to play more on the ground, and that's what we told the players at half-time."
The Dutchman had good reason to. Celtic were playing so poorly there was every chance they could suffer a repeat of the defeat Dunfermline handed out at Parkhead back in August. Andy Smith should have had the home side in front after just seven minutes, but his header struck the side- netting and only the excellent Jackie McNamara, back at the club which nurtured him before selling him on to Celtic for £650,000, was showing anything like the same intention of catching a sight of goal. The midfielder started Celtic's only real first-half threat, a sweeping move in the 24th minute which saw Craig Burley and Simon Donnelly exchange passes to give Burley a clear opportunity, but Westwater raced out to block the shot with his feet.
A sustained period of Dunfermline pressure before the interval saw Celtic take the kind of aerial pounding London did in the Blitz.
They survived, but Jansen had to change the attitude of his side if they were to change the course of the game.
A sharper Celtic emerged and almost made an immediate impact when, in the 46th minute, McNamara's low cross was fumbled by Westwater, but his touch was just enough to take it out of reach from Larsson.
Then Donnelly headed over the crossbar from four yards when it seemed easier to score. That was nothing compared to Larsson's miss in the 65th minute, when Burley's low ball into the box was cushioned by Donnelly into the Swede's path, but he shot tamely at Westwater.
However, 60 seconds after Larsson's miss, Celtic used a piece of outrageous luck to get their nose in front. Again, the move was created by the ever-impressive McNamara, supplying Blinker with an opportunity to shoot. The Dutchman, who had been probably Celtic's worst player until that point, crashed a shot off the boot of Shields and the ball took a hideous loop high over Westwater and into the net.
Four minutes from time, McNamara was again instrumental in setting up Celtic's second, finding Larsson who rode three tackles before coolly slipping the ball past Westwater.
- Manager Interview
"It is important to have a try for goal. If you do there is always a chance of scoring so I wouldn't say that Regi's goal was only down to luck.
"We didn't play so well over the first period and we knew we had to play sharper and better.
"Dunfermiline put in a lot of high balls and we prefer to play it on the ground but after the first twenty minutes we couldn't be in control because we began to play their way.
"We sorted that out at half time and our second goal was very good. It was important to get a good result before facing Rangers on Saturday."
- Match Pictures
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