This year marks the 70th anniversary of East Fife’s first League cup triumph in the 1947-48 final. The competition had come into existence in 1946-47 as successor to the wartime Southern League Cup played throughout the hostilities only by teams in the Southern League.
When the war finished the two leagues were resurrected but as Divisions A and B. given the popularity of the Southern League Cup it was decided to retain it but open it up to all clubs in the two divisions of the league. Season 1946-47 began with league games on 14th August and the first matches in the League Cup on 21st September. East Fifer entered the record books in that first season as the first team to go through their section without conceding a goal in any of their six games.
Double-legged quarter-finals followed with East Fife meeting Hearts at Tynecastle where they won 1+0 on 1st March only to lose 5-2 at Bayview four days later. The semi-finals were played on 22nmd March with the final, in which Rangers defeated Aberdeen 4-0, on 5th April.
Season 1947-48 opened with matches in the league cup sections on 9th August. Midweek league games were played with the cup clashes on the Saturdsys, Knockout matches were held on the Saturdays with the final on the last Saturday of the month.
East Fife were drawn in Section D of the Division B clubs along with Ayr united, Kilmarnock and Stirling Albion. On 9th August, the Fifers opened the new season entertaining Stirling Albion at Bayview and beating them 3-2 with two goals from Henry Morris and one from Davie Duncan. The team was; Niven, Laird, Stewart, Philp, Finlay, Gilmour, D Davidson, Morris, Bain, Duncan. Twelfth-man W Fleming.
During the next midweek East Fife went through to Edinburgh to play Leith Athletic in a league match. A goal from Davie Duncan was enough to produce a 1-0 win. The second League Cup tie was against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on 16th August. Manager Scot Symon made only one change from the team that played the week before introducing jimmy Canavan at the left-half for George Gilmour who was the twelfth-man. It ended 0-0.
The third match of the campaign was against Ayr United at Somerset Park on 23rd August. That venue, which has never been regarded as one of East Fife’s favourites, saw the visitors secure a 5-2 victory. Again, the manager made only one change from the previous week with William Fleming replacing Ian Bain ay inside left. The incomer started the Fifers on the road to success with their opening which equaliser the home side’s first. Both Henry Morris and David Duncan score in the first-half to give a 3-1 interval lead. Both scored again in the second-half to ensure the comprehensive win. Again, George Gilmour was the twelfth-man.
In midweek the league visitors to Bayview were St Johnstone whom the host beat 2-0 with goals from Dougie Davidson and William Fleming. The return league cup fixtures began on 30th August with Fife travelling to meet Stirling Albion at Annfield. There were no changes from the team that had beaten Ayr United but Ronnie Mitchell was twelfth-man this time. The Fifers recorded another 5-2 victory with two goals each from Henry Morris and Tommy Adams and one from Davie Duncan.
Kilmarnock visited Bayview on 6th September and put a pole in the Fifers wheel with a decisive 3-1 win, Henry Morris netting the consolation goal. For that game the manager brought in Danny McLennan at left-half and moved Jimmy Canavan to inside left to the exclusion William Fleming who was twelfth-man.
The final match of the section at Bayview on 13th September against Ayr United was crucial for both teams as each had seven points and so the winner would win the section. Given that the manager’s changes to his side had been at left half and inside left, it was no surprise that he had gone into the transfer market to sign Jack Davidson from Dundee United. He was to join brother Dougie at inside left in the forward line. To accommodate him, Jimmy Canavan was restored to left half with Danny McLennan twelfth-man.
The Fifers were in devastating form winning 5-0 with Henry Morris notching a hattrick and both Tommy Adams and Dougie Davidson also finding the net. East Fife were section winners.
Part 2 will feature in this weekend's (25th November) edition of The Bayview (Issue No. 9) for Saturday's game v Airdrieonians