Few expected the Warriors to take anything from the runaway league leaders and while that proved to be the case, they surely have had a hand in the development of a future star.
Falkirk keeper Graham Bowman suffered an injury in training on Thursday and manager Brown Ferguson was left scrambling around for a minder in time for Dunfermline’s visit. Celtic came to the rescue and loaned Colin McCabe and the 19-year-old went on to perform spectacularly.
The 6” 6” Irish Under 19 cap excelled in his debut and clearly relished his baptism of fire, “It was a terrific experience for me,” he told Heraldsport, “I’ve been at Celtic for three years, but have only played in the Under-20 fixtures so to come out today to a big crowd against the league leaders was a fantastic feeling and I thought I did okay.”
That’s something of an understatement and one save in particular defied the laws of physics. Faissal El Bahktaoui had fired home his 20th goal of the season to put the Pars ahead four minutes from the break and six minutes into the second half Andy Geggan’s blistering shot looked destined to double the advantage.
With the ball powering to the top corner McCabe, somehow, threw himself across goal and up to tip the ball over.
That Geggan gained revenge with a header from Joe Cardle’s resultant corner is no reflection on the keeper’s prowess.
Indeed, the big fellow had performed similarly in the first period when he went full stretch to tip a Cardle effort on to the bar and still managed to be back on his feet to block Geggan’s point crack at the rebound.
“They were really just reaction saves,” McCabe said modestly, “I thought the boys all did well though.” The youngster’s optimism is admirable, but stretching things a bit. Dunfermline have some smashing players and play really good football. Aided by full time training they are a stick on to win the title and were simply the better team on this occasion.
Although the Warriors were well beaten in this entertaining game, they showed enough to suggest they are more than capable of beating most teams in the Division.
Dunfermline had plenty of the ball, but Jon Robertson’s cracker from the edge of the box had Sean Murdoch beaten all ends up, but the midfielder was unlucky to see his effort rattle off the upright.
That might have made a difference, but when Geggan nodded home the second with 52 minutes on the clock it was virtually all over.
Geggan rifled in his second and his team’s third with eleven minutes left, but the Ochilview outfit continued to display considerable grit to the end and did not let down their supporters in a healthy 1328 crowd.