Very rarely does a Second Division side have a dominant season, it’s rare enough for Premier and First Division sides to have one, but East Fife did just that in Season 1947/48.
Under the guidance of brilliant manager Scot Symon, East Fife became a major force to be reckoned with in Scottish football. In his first season in charge, Symon guided East Fife to the “B” Division Championship by a mile and to becoming Scottish League Cup and Scottish Supplementary Cup winners, as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup. A major feat for any Scottish Second Division side, especially one with the financial resources that East Fife had.
It seemed like no matter what competition East Fife took part in, they’d win it.
The club were impressive in the League Cup from the word go, disposing of the likes of Stirling Albion and Ayr United with ease in the qualifying sectional matches.
They were rewarded with a home quarter-final tie against Hearts on September 27th and in an exciting game, the Fife squeezed home 4-3. This then set up a semi-final tie at Dens Park against a strong Aberdeen side. Henry Morris scored the only goal of the game, as the Fife won 1-0 and made the Final, with the chance to repeat their 1938 Scottish Cup achievement and become the only Second Division club to win the competition, which they duly did.
The Final against Falkirk took place on October 25th, and a tense affair ended goal-less after extra time to set up a replay a week later.
The first game attracted 52,781 fans to Hampden and in the replay, 30,664 people turned up to watch the Fife demolish Falkirk 4-1 and take the trophy back to the Bayview trophy room, which was to become very packed that season. A Davie Duncan hat-trick and a strike by Tommy Adams saw the Fife win the Cup and when you look at the line-up for the Fife in the two games, the fact that really stands out is the amount of outstanding players in the side.
Niven, Laird, Stewart, Philp, Finlay, Aitken, Adams, D. Davidson, Morris, J. Davidson, Duncan.
Names that have gone down in Bayview Folklore.
The newly crowned League Cup Winners immediately made a big impression in the Scottish Cup. A first round 2-0 victory over Kilmarnock at Bayview, was soon followed by another home tie, this time against St Johnstone, and the result was even more emphatic, with the Fife running out 5-1 winners. A third round trip to Boghead to play Dumbarton resulted in a 1-0 win, and this set up a quarter final tie against Rangers at Ibrox. In what was described as a controversial match by the press, the Fife outplayed the Glasgow giants, but ended up going down 1-0.
The Fife were soon to get some consolation for this defeat though, by easily winning the “B” Division Supplementary Cup, and banging in a barrowload of goals in the process.
It was on league business in the “B” Division that saw East Fife really dominating that season. The Fife dropped only seven points in thirty League games and ended up winning the Division by eleven points!
The Fife’s results that season were as follows:
EAST FIFE’S LEAGUE RESULTS FOR SEASON 1947-48
13 (a) v Leith Athletic – W1-0
27 (h) v St Johnstone – W 2-0
20 (a) v Raith Rovers – W 4-0
4 (a) v Dunfermline Ath – D 1-1
18 (a) v Hamilton Accies – D 2-2
8 (a) v Kilmarnock – W 2-0
15 (h) v Albion Rovers – W 3-0
22 (h) v Dumbarton – W 6-3
29 (a) v Arbroath – W 4-1
6 (a) v Alloa Athletic – W 3-1
13 (h) v Cowdenbeath – W 3-0
20 (h) v Leith Athletic – W 5-1
24 (h) v Ayr United – D 3-3
27 (a) v St Johnstone – W 2-0
1 (h) v Raith Rovers – W 3-2
3 (a) v Ayr United – D 3-3
10 (h) v Dunfermline – W 4-2
17 (a) v Dundee Utd – W 3-2
14 (a) v Stenhousemuir – W 5-1
28 (h) v Kilmarnock – L 1-3
13 (a) v Dumbarton – W 3-0
20 (h) v Arbroath – W 3-0
27 (h) v Alloa Athletic – W 6-0
3 (a) v Cowdenbeath – W 3-0
7 (h) v Stenhousemuir – W 4-0
10 (h) v Stirling Albion – W 6-4
14 (h) v Dundee Utd – W 5-1
17 (h) v Hamilton Accies -W 5-0
21 (a) v Stirling Albion -W 4-2
24 (a) v Albion Rovers – W 4-1
The Fife’s final statistics that season certainly made for impressive reading: played 30, won 25 drawn 3, lost 2 goals for 103, goals against 36, points 53. Henry Morris scored 62 goals that season, with Davie Duncan getting 40, and a full Scotland cap as well. It’s unlikely that East Fife will have another season like this for a long time, if at all. Season 47/48 certainly is a season to remember.