April 27, 1938
EAST Fife Football Club, from Methil, have a distinction no other team has ever managed – winning the Scottish Cup while not in the nation’s top division.
It is a story of romance, determination and football prowess.
Methil is a small town overlooking the Forth, even today its population is just 11,000. But for that replay, after a 1-1 draw the previous Saturday, six special trainloads of Fifers were among the 91,710 at Hampden.
It had been a slog to even reach the final.
Dundee United and Aberdeen had been beaten on the way to a semi-final marathon with Edinburgh side St Bernards, then a big club, which went to a second replay.
But, as the old football saying goes, the Fifers’ name was on the cup.
They scored first, a drive from Danny McKerrell. But Killie were 2-1 up at half-time. Eddie McLeod levelled it at 2-2, forcing extra time.
In the gathering dusk of those pre-floodlit times, Larry Miller’s strike and another McKerrell goal made sure captain John Sneddon would lift the cup.
It must be recognised that football was different back then.
The divide between full-time and part-time players wasn’t so wide.
The formations weren’t so scientifically thought out and the training methods, even at big clubs, weren’t so sophisticated that they created the overwhelming advantage that exists today.
But one fact stands out – in last 100 years of the Scottish Cup, six clubs have contested the final while playing outside the top league.
Only the men of Methil won it.