Dunfermline Athletic

Club History | Season 2002-2003

Dunfermline finished 5th with 46 points and Stevie Crawford bagged 23 goals to finish as the highest scoring Scot in the SPL.

Jimmy Calderwood had delivered on his promise to improve the Club and Dunfermline Athletic was now a top six club. Could he improve upon that again, this season? Most of the clearing out had been done before the end of last season and there were four new signings to look out for. Derek Stillie arrived from Wigan Athletic, as cover goalkeeper, Irish midfielder Gary Dempsey came in from Waterford and central defender Scott Walker from St. Mirren. The coup, however, was Craig Brewster who was persuaded by Jimmy that he would be better at East End Park than at Easter Road, where he had been hugely influential in the development of Hibs young forward stars Derek Riordan and Gary O`Connor.

A couple of friendlies set things in motion, Preston North End and Everton providing the opposition. The season, proper, began on 3rd August with an away match against Celtic which was narrowly lost by 2-1. Debuts were handed to Craig Brewster and, from the bench, Scott Walker and Gary Dempsey.

The first home game was against Livingston and resulted in a 2-1 win. Defender Scott Wilson was signed from Rangers, but not in time to play in this match. The following Saturday brought Dundee as visitors and excellent home win 4-2. The goals came from the deadly partnership that was developing between Craig Brewster and Stevie Crawford, Brew with one and a hat-trick for Stevie. Justin Skinner had signed for Brechin City and linked up again with Roddy Grant, Chris Templeman and Marc Millar under manager Dick Campbell. Whilst the home form was good, away from home it was less so and the month`s fixtures ended with a 2-0 defeat at Tynecastle.

The month of September began very badly with a 6-0 thumping, at home, from Rangers. Sad news was received that former chairman, Mel Rennie had died. Colin Nish went out on loan again, this time to Clyde. The next two games were away from home but produced excellent results. Firstly Hibs were roundly beaten 4-1 at Easter Road. This was followed by a 2-1 win at Tannadice. Motherwell were the next visitors to East End Park and a Lee Bullen goal was enough to separate the teams. Derek Stillie was given a start in goal as Scott Thomson and Lee Bullen scored the goals to defeat Cowdenbeath in a tousy 2-1 CIS Cup match at Central Park. The final game of the month brought a 3-1 defeat away to Aberdeen, but The Pars held on to 4th spot.

Into October and a splendid 4-1 home win over Partick Thistle. The following weekend was blank and The Pars resumed with a trip to Kilmarnock where goals from Craig Brewster and Lee Bullen earned a 2-2 draw. The Third Round of the CIS Cup had paired Dunfermline with Falkirk and a crowd of 6,933 fans was in East End Park to see two Stevie Crawford goals without reply see Athletic through to the next round. Another poor home performance against the Old Firm, this time against Celtic ended with an easy 4-1 win for The Hoops.

November kicked off with a 1-1 draw away at Livingston. Midweek saw the quarter final of the CIS Cup and The Pars were very unfortunate to lose 1-0 at home to Rangers. The following Saturday, Athletic continued in third place after defeating Dundee 3-2 at Dens Park. It felt good to be the highest placed Scottish club outwith the Old Firm and Hearts were next to come a cropper as goals from Stevie Crawford, Lee Bullen and Barry Nicholson secured a 3-1 win at East End Park. Marko Ruitenbeek picked up an injury in the warm up and Derek Stillie took his place. He was to hold on to it for the rest of the season. Roddy McKenzie and Andy Kirk were both in the Hearts starting eleven. The month ended at East End Park with a 1-1 draw against Hibs, in front of 7,515 fans. Yannick Zambernardi, Paul Fenwick and Tam McManus all started for Hibs.

Pars fans were in seventh heaven as December opened with a 4-1 home win against Dundee United. Paul Gallagher, Jim McIntyre, Craig Easton and Jim Hamilton were all starters for United. Everyone was beginning to believe the publicity and one team not to do that against was those old unpredictables Partick Thistle. The Jags blew The Pars away 4-0 at Firhill and brought Dunfermline back to earth with a thump. Star of the day was Gerry Britton, who was unstopppable and scored two of the goals. Thankfully the lesson was learned and Athletic were back on form, handing out a 3-0 defeat to Aberdeen at East End Park. The year ended on a low as Kilmarnock won 2-0 at East End, with Greg Shields and Craig Dargo in fine form for Killie, and a narrow 1-0 loss at Celtic Park.

The year 2003 began for football fans on Thursday 2nd and a brace for Stevie Crawford got The Pars off to a winning start 2-0 at home to Livingston. Dave Nicholls, unable to claim a regular place in the team, had gone back to Falkirk, on loan. During the midwinter break, Dunfermline took the opportunity to stage a testimonial match for Stewart Petrie, who had been a marvellous servant for The Pars. The novelty match was a Jimmy Calderwood 11, selected from the current pool against a Bert Paton side of former players.

On show were Ian Westwater, Andy Rhodes, Ivo den Bieman, Greg Shields, Scott McCulloch, Andy Tod, John Potter, Justin Skinner, Jackie McNamara, Istvan Kozma, David Bingham, Owen Coyle, Jack de Gier, Andy Smith, Chris Templeman and Stephen Boyle. Craig Brewster scored two for the current team and Jackie McNamara for the other. Stewart swapped sides at half time and scored a third goal for the current team. As if that was not enough, some even older former Pars lined up for a shorter and much slower game during the interval. Amongst others were:- Stevie Morrison, John Watson, Bobby Robertson, Billy Kirkwood, John Holt, Kenny Ward, Hugh Whyte, Davie Irons, Stuart Rafferty and Paul Smith.

Hostilities resumed on January 25th with a Scottish Cup tie away to Livingston, during which Stevie Crawford scored to earn a replay after a 1-1 draw. The month finished with a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home from Dundee. New signing from Shamrock Rovers, Noel Hunt was on the bench. Kevin McLeish had moved to Ross County. A 3-0 defeat away to Hearts brought February in and dropped The Pars to fifth position.

The Scottish Cup replay at home to Livingston was next and two goal Craig Brewster booked Athletic`s place in the next round. Two new signings had been made, former Motherwell star, Ged Brannan had been signed from Wigan Athletic and French youngster David Grondin, on loan from Arsenal. The usual defeat at the hands of the Old Firm, this time 3-1 at home to Rangers, was made up for by an excellent 3-1 victory at Easter Road. The momentum was not sustained, as Motherwell won 2-1 at Fir Park. The month finished with the 4th round of the Cup. It finished 1-1 against Hibs, with Barry Nicholson the scorer.

March started inauspiciously with a 3-0 defeat at Tannadice. Dunfermline were in fifth position with four games to go until the split. There was Cup business to deal with first and the replay at Easter Road. Stevie Crawford and Scott Wilson got the goals that mattered and, with a 2-0 win, The Pars were in the Quarter Finals.

The first of the remaining League matches was at home to Partick Thistle which ended in a disappointing 0-0 bore draw. Derek Fleming, Martin Hardie and Gerry Britton were in The Jags line-up. Rugby Park was the next destination and a Greg Shields own goal gave Athletic a 1-1 draw. The Quarter Final draw had given The Pars a home tie against Rangers and it finished in a draw, thanks to a David Grondin goal. Motherwell were the first visitors in April and a 3-0 home win had The Pars in good spirits for the Cup replay at Ibrox, but the customary poor show ended in a 3-0 defeat.

Jim Hamilton had arrived on an amateur contract until the end of the season. The final game before the split was at Pittodrie and the Athletic lost 1-0. They did, however, hold on to fifth position. The first game after the split was at home to Hearts but was lost by a solitary goal to a Jambos team with Austin McCann playing and Roddy McKenzie, Andy Kirk and Stephen Simmons on the bench.

As May rolled in, Celtic won easily at East End Park, 4-1 the score. Iain Campbell made his debut from the bench. The last home game was an entertaining 2-2 draw with Kilmarnock. Gary Mason and Stevie Crawford were on target in front of 6,896 fans. The season finished in ignominy with a 6-1 drubbing at Ibrox. Dunfermline finished 5th with 46 points and a goal difference of -17. They had scored 65 goals in all competitions, with Stevie Crawford bagging 23 of them, to finish as the highest scoring Scot in the SPL.

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