Hibs 5, Dunfermline 2: September 13, 1997
Hibs answered their support in the affirmative and confounded sceptics after losing the Edinburgh derby by crushing Dunfermline at Easter Road.
The Hibees were still top of the league and were playing entertaining football. However, the players were under strict instructions to follow the game-plan after they had taken it upon themselves to play their own way against Hearts in their last outing and got caught up in a Tynecastle trap.
That day manager Jim Duffy, and even the crowd, had been urging Hibs to utilise Tony Rougier and on the rare occasions he got the ball he had Hearts on the ropes, but the midfielder had been blinded by a rush of blood to the head that the maroon shirts seemed to provoke.
Against Dunfermline they used the Trinidadian to the full as he taunted both the Fifers’ flanks, leaving Colin Miller and Greg Shields woozy after 90 minutes of mayhem. However, it could have been so different if Dunfermline had capitalised on several chances that came their way after they went ahead in the 15th minute.
Marc Millar’s through ball to Andy Smith had the home support hollering for offside but a deflection off a Hibs defender played the Dunfermline striker on and as he rounded the goalkeeper Olafur Gottskalksson caught his feet. Millar tucked the penalty away nicely and almost doubled his tally a few minutes later when he hit the post. Then it was Allan Moore’s turn to spurn a goalscoring opportunity while Hibs scrambled through a torrid ten minutes.
But, as ever, it was a bit of Chic Charnley cheek bordering on football genius which brought them back on level terms. As Ian Westwater tried to line up his wall for a free kick 25 yards out, the Hibs man didn’t hesitate curling a superb left footer into the top corner. Instead of calming the game down, with the sides level again, the pace merely increased and Hibs had a penalty turned down when Dave Barnett nudged over Barry Lavety in the box.
Meanwhile, Hibs were beginning to feed Rougier who teased his opponents and switched wings at will to increase the torment. On the half hour he turned two men on a square yard of turf and cut inside a wicked pass. All it needed was a touch as Lavety spun with his back to goal to turn it in. Such acrobatics are not to be expected of a heavyweight appropriately named Basher by his team mates. Still, though, Dunfermline had a chance to pull Hibs back as this was a game where defences were definitely not on top. Brian Welsh and Darren Dods were perhaps a bit too similar and Smith and Moore were managing to get round behind them, but it was a mistake at the other end that was punished. Miller’s pass-back to Westwater caught Andy Tod unaware and Steve Crawford pounced on the deflection and kept his composure, running in on a defenceless goalkeeper to finish with efficiency.
From then on Dunfermline had a mountain to climb but every time they tried to inch their way forward Rougier was ready to rip in behind them. And, of course, there was Charnley. Recovered from his derby drubbing at the hands of the Hearts midfield he was back to pulling all the strings again. The combination with Rougier was devastating. Dunfermline barely had time to settle into the second half when Rougier once more opened them up, drawing three men out of the centre before slipping a ball into the six-yard box for Pat McGinlay to poke in.
By now it was time to showboat and Rougier played up to the crowd with some magical skills. However, not to be outdone Charnley squeezed in on the act with ten minutes to go, racing half the length of the pitch to score Hibs’ fifth, albeit he looked in need of a Zimmer by the time he reached the Dunfermline penalty box.
Just as he looked like losing his balance and tumbling over, his innate touch ensured he jabbed the ball in. Substitute Stewart Petrie managed to pull one back for Dunfermline immediately as the game still swung up and down the park.
Hibs: Gottskalksson, Miller, Boco, Charnley, Dods, Welsh, Dow, Lavety, Crawford, Rougier, McGinlay.