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Raith Rovers v Dunfermline: 6 New Year classics to whet the appetite for Fife derby

Derby classics in focus
Derby classics in focus

A restricted crowd of 500 will ensure Dunfermline’s visit to Raith Rovers will lack the usual electric atmosphere of the New Year Fife derby.

Nevertheless, ample pride and crucial Championship points are on the line when these fierce foes clash at Stark’s Park.

And Courier Sport is here to whet the appetite with some classics of yesteryear.

Dunfermline 6-0 Raith Rovers, January 1st 1968

Raith Rovers were hit for six at East End Park as the Pars underlined the quality and ruthless streak that would make this side legends.

Bert Paton and Kenny Lindsay tussle

Halbeath Road hero Bert Paton notched a hat-trick in the Ne’erday demolition of the the Rovers.

Not to be outdone, bustling wing wizard Hugh Robertson also bagged a treble, adding to a tally that would reach 61 goals in 239 appearances by the time he left the club in 1971.

While a chastening scoreline, defeat was not unexpected for Raith.

The Kirkcaldy club would end the campaign in 16th place in the old First Division, narrowly avoiding relegation.

Dunfermline, conversely, finished fourth — only behind Celtic, Rangers and Hibernian — and lifted the Scottish Cup with a famous 3-1 victory over Hearts just four months after this derby triumph.

The Callaghan brothers with the 1968 Scottish Cup

Raith Rovers 6-0 Dunfermline, January 1st 1983

Rovers are also capable of embarking upon a destruction derby after bringing in the bells.

This comprehensive triumph remains Raith’s biggest ever victory in this fixture, with Gordon Wallace’s charges sweeping aside the Pars with clinical, consummate ease.

Bobby Russell took 55 SECONDS to open the scoring at Stark’s Park; the first of his brace.

Jim Kerr, Dave Thomson, hall of famer Colin Harris and Ian Ballantyne also got in on the act.

Sadly for Dunfermline, this would not even be the nadir of their 1982/83 campaign.

They went on to suffer an ignominious relegation to Division Two.

Dunfermline 3-0 Raith Rovers, January 1st 1970

Players crossing the Fife divide is no rarity.

However, few have returned to haunt their former club with the immediacy of Jim Gillespie.

Gillespie is pictured second from the right on the front row

This New Year showdown is famous for Gillespie — who joined the Pars from Raith Rovers 10 DAYS prior — scoring a double in a 3-0 triumph for Dunfermline.

As reported by the Glasgow Herald on January 2, ‘Jimmy Millar, Raith manager, must have ground his teeth as he watched.’

Gillespie’s goals came either side of a low drive from Alex Edwards.

Dunfermline 2-0 Raith Rovers, January 1st 1997

This fixture is more notable as a historical waypoint, rather than a thrilling encounter.

The Rovers squad for their 1997 clash with Dunfermline

Described as a ‘poor game’ by The Courier and Advertiser on January 2, it was settled by Gerry Britton’s quick-fire double, rattling home efforts in the 55th and 57th minutes.

However, the fixture is memorable by virtue of being the last time Dunfermline and Raith Rovers crossed swords in a top-flight New Year derby — always an occasion for supporters to relish.

Now 24 years on, the prospect appears no closer.

Raith Rovers 3-0 Dunfermline, January 3rd 2000

The millennium derby remains the largest attendance recorded for a league match at the redeveloped Stark’s Park.

A raucous crowd of 7463 watched Rovers swat aside the sloppy visitors.

The tone was set when Ian Westwater gifted Alex Burns the opener, inexplicably attempting to dribble out of his own box.

Paul Browne headed home a Jay Stein corner to make it two, before Steve Tosh completed the scoring following another Westwater error.

Compounding the misery for Jimmy Calderwood’s side, Owen Coyle was dismissed for dissent after claiming too vociferously for a penalty.

Dunfermline would, however, shake off the disappointment in style by earning promotion to the SPL at the end of the season.

Raith Rovers 2-1 Dunfermline, January 2nd 2011

This was the afternoon Raith Rovers started to believe.

Rovers were locked in a fraught fight for promotion with Dunfermline at the height of current boss John McGlynn’s first spell in charge.

This win brought Raith to within a point of the Pars at the summit of Division One.

Gregory Tade secured a precious three points for Rovers after Nick Phinn had cancelled out Mark Campbell’s opener.

The Fife Free Press would write, ‘There were claims that the roar from Tade’s winner that day could be heard from Dunnikier Estate!’

But it would prove futile as Dunfermline strengthened in January and romped to promotion.

Raspberries, transistor radios and a great escape: The story of Raith Rovers’ last win at Celtic Park

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