Dunfermline Athletic

Club History | Building of the 1961 Cup Winning team

Building the 1961 Cup winning team started ten years before in March 1951 when Ron Mailer joined the Club from Auchterarder Primrose.

On 26th April 1961 Dunfermline Athletic Football Club and the entire town of Dunfermline celebrated the fantastic Scottish Cup Final victory over Celtic. So it is the Golden anniversary of this famous first ever Scottish Cup win for the Club and it heralded what has been termed the Golden Years of Dunfermline Athletic.

The victorious Pars players became legends after a cup run that culminated in the 2-0 win in the replay of the 1961 Scottish Cup Final.

To be able to comprehend just how phenomenal that success was consider the 1950`s, a decade where Dunfermline Athletic were termed the yo-yo club of Scottish football. In the space of five seasons they were promoted, relegated and promoted again and their First Division status was only preserved in 1959 with an incredible 10-1 home win over Partick Thistle in the very last league game of the season.

So the transformation that brought about three Scottish Cup Final appearances in the 1960`s and league positions such as twice finishing third, twice fourth and once fifth. Most of you will also be very aware that the Club`s successes during the 1960`s also generated no fewer than 41 matches in European competition.

Building the 1961 Cup winning team started ten years before in March 1951 when Ron Mailer joined the Club from Auchterarder Primrose. Ron was to spend 13 years at Dunfermline during which time he made 325 appearances and most appropriately was the Captain of the Cup winning team and it was he who lifted the trophy at Hampden on Wednesday 26 April 1961.

Above left to right: Ron Mailer, John Sweeney and Charlie Dickson

With the interruption of National Service, Ron played his first four seasons with the Pars in Division 2 before being promoted in 1955. During that time Ron was joined by three others who were to be part of the 1961 Scottish Cup winning team - John Sweeney in 1954, and both Charlie Dickson and George Peebles in 1955.

John Sweeney signed from Edina Hearts in August 1954, John played mainly in the left back position. : Charlie Dickson was signed in January 1955 from Penicuik Athletic. He went on to make 340 appearances, scoring a quite remarkable 215 goals in the process. During his nine years with Dunfermline , he scored 11 hat-tricks, including a double hat-trick against St Mirren in December 1961. Thanks to his courage, goalscoring ability and boundless enthusiasm, Charlie D remains one the most popular players ever to grace East End Park .

George Peebles signed in 1955 from Dunipace Juniors for £100, George made a remarkable 421 appearances, putting him in fourth place in the list of all time Pars appearances. An outside right, he still scored a total of 85 goals, including 6 in European competitions.

Above left to right: George Peebles and Eddie Connachan

Dunfermline only collected 26 points in season 1955-56 but that was enough to stay up. The following season relegation could not be avoided when only 24 points could be taken from the 34 matches.

For season 1957-58 goalkeeper Eddie Connachan joined the Club from Dalkeith Thistle. Eddie went on to make 172 first team appearances for the Pars before being transferred to Middlesborough in August 1963 for £5,500.

In scoring 120 goals in the Second Division, 53 points were amassed and Dunfermline were promoted as runners up to Stirling Albion in the summer of 1958. For season 1958-59 three more of the Cup winning squad arrived. They were - Alex Smith, Harry Melrose and Jim Herriot.

Above left to right: Alex Smith, Harry Melrose and Jim Herriot

Alex Smith was signed by Andy Dickson from Dunbar United for the princely sum of £83, and during his eight years at East End Park went on to make 298 appearances, scoring 98 goals. A skilful player and often seen as the brains behind the Dunfermline team. In August 1966, Alex was transferred to Rangers, for a then record fee between Scottish clubs of £55,000.

Harry Melrose signed for Dunfermline on a free transfer from Rangers in May 1958. In all he spent 7 years at East End Park , making 275 appearances and scoring 106 goals. Harry played mainly on the wing for the Pars, and in April 1959, he set a record for a winger, scoring six times in that 10-1 victory over Partick Thistle.

Jim Herriot signed in October 1958 from Douglas dale Juniors. Played 136 games for the Pars including 12 European ties, before he was transferred in May 1965 to Birmingham City for £18,000. Eight international caps for Scotland , his name was famously copied by the author of the same name.

The Pars stayed up due to a final day victory over Partick. For the following season, four more of those who were to become legends arrived at East End Park . In came Cammy Fraser, George Miller, Jackie Williamson and Dave Thomson.

Cammy Fraser signed by Andy Dickson in June 1959 from junior team, Gairdoch United for £20 just two weeks after his eighteenth birthday. Cammy made 113 appearances for the Pars, before his transfer to Aston Villa for £23,500 in October 1962. Cammy gained a Scotland Under 23 cap against Wales at Wrexham during his time at Dunfermline .

Above left to right: Cammy Fraser and George Miller

George Miller signed from junior team Royal Albert in May 1959, George made 238 appearances in five years with the Pars, scoring 26 goals. A skilful player, George gained a Scottish League cap against the League of Ireland in 1964. In November that year George was transferred to Wolverhampton Wanderers for £28,000. After a year down south, he returned north to join Hearts, and captained the team that was defeated by Dunfermline Athletic in the 1968 Scottish Cup final.

Jackie Williamson started at Stoneyburn before spending seven years at Raith. Signed by manager Andy Dickson from Raith Rovers in March 1959 for £1,500, Jackie made 154 appearances for the Pars.

Dave Thomson was signed in August 1959 from Bo`ness United, Dave made only 12 appearances for the Pars before his transfer to Leicester City for £8,000 six days before the start of season 61/62. The fee was a record for the club at the time.

The 1959-60 season was not going particularly well and Andy Dickson who had been the Manager since 1st August 1955 when Bobby Ancell had decided to relinquish the post. At the time he made his decision to leave, Dunfermline sat third bottom of the 18 team league, just two points ahead of Arbroath at the foot.

Andy Dickson remained in charge for a further four league matches, drawing two and losing the other two, but he stayed on to assist the smooth changeover that took place when the new manager arrived. At the end of the season he took up an appointment with Dundee United as trainer and his connections with that Club were to extend over the next two and a half decades.

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