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Thursday, December 14, 2017

League Cup 1

This year marks the 70th anniversary of East Fife’s first League cup triumph in the 1947-48 final. Part 2 of the League Cup winners story was featured in The Bayview on Saturday.

The eight qualifiers along with East Fife for the quarter-finals were Aberdeen, Falkirk, Rangers and Hearts from Division A and also Hamilton Accies, Leith Athletic and Stenhousemuir from Division B. The founders’ intention was that teams from the top division would meet teams from lower division over two legs with the winners progressing to the semi-finals. That had happened in 1946-47 but because of post-war exigencies it was decided that the quarter-finals in 1947-48 would consist of only one meeting.

As in the previous season, the Fifers were drawn against Hearts. The match was at Tynecastle on 27th September. It turned out to be a cracking game. The major change in the Fife side from the sectional ties was the return of George Aitken at left half.

Dougie Davidson opened the scoring in the fifth minute with former Bayview Youth Club player, Ken Currie, equalising for Hearts five minutes later. Davie Duncan put the Fifers ahead again in the 75th minute from a penalty. Two minutes from time Currie restored equality, his late goal necessitating extra-time. Archie Kelly who had guested for east Fife during the War put the maroons into the lead for the first time in the 98th minute. Skipper Tommy Adams was the Fife hero, his two late goals producing a 4-3 victory. Hearts – Paton, McSpayden, McKenzie, Laing, Parker, Dougan, McFarlane, Currie, Kelly, Urquhart, Williams. East Fife - Niven, Laird, Stewart, Philp, Finlay, Aitken, Adams, D Davidson, Morris, J Davidson, Duncan. Twelfth man – Gilmour.

The win took East Fife through to the semi-finals in which their opponents were Aberdeen at Dens Park on 11th October. Not surprisingly Scot Symon selected the same eleven but with Jimmy Canavan as twelfth man. In a hard-fought game the only goal came in the 80th minute courtesy of arch-marksman Henry Morris. Aberdeen – Johnstone, Cowie, McKenna, McLaughlin, Waddell, Taylor. Kiddie, Harris, Williams, Baird, Millar.

The other winning semi-finalists were Falkirk who had defeated Rangers, also 1-0, at Hampden which was the venue for the final on 25th October. Again, East Fife were unchanged with Canavan as twelfth man. Jerry Dawson, the ex-Rangers keeper and future East Fife manager, was the Falkirk custodian with Archie Aikman, a Bayview guest during the War, at centre forward. The attendance was 52,781. Dawson and his Methil counterpart, John Niven, were the star-performers of the afternoon with both keeping clean sheets throughout the 120 minutes.

Falkirk – J Dawson, Whyte, McPhie, Bolt, R Henderson, Whitelaw, Fiddes, Fleck, Aikman, J Henderson, K Dawson.

The sides met again the next Saturday, 1st November. Once more Scot Symon was happy to name the same twelve players with Canavan the man left out. The Bairns made two changes with Gallacher and Allison replacing Whitelaw and Fleck respectively. The attendance this time was 30,664.

East Fife began strongly with Tommy Adams finding the net in the 8th minute. Davie Duncan added a second some ten minutes later. Aikman reduced the leeway on the half-hour. Duncan notched his second in the 79th minute and completed his hat-trick with three minutes left on the clock. So, Tommy Adams was presented with the cup which came to Methil for the first time with Davie Duncan entering the history book as the first player to score a hat-trick in a League Cup Final.

Jim Stewart