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A Fifeshire Way With Plaice

This week we continue our look at East Fife Football Club as The Fife and their supporters celebrate the club's centenary. The youngest of the four remaining senior clubs in Fife, East Fife was founded at a meeting held in Methil on 9th March 1903. After due deliberation it was decided that the suggested name of East of Fife FC should be rejected in favour of East Fife FC. The colours of local landowner Sir John Gilmour, green and white, were chosen and a lease of Town Hall Park, renamed Bayview Park, was obtained. The change to the now familiar Fife colours of black and gold was made in season 1911/12.
 
For a small, provincial club East Fife's 100 year history is littered with firsts! In season 1926/27, East Fife became the first club from the lower division to reach a Scottish Cup Final in the 20th century. In turn this was the first such game to be broadcast on the wireless. Unfortunately the lower division side's first Hampden final appearance resulted in a 3-1 victory for Glasgow giants Celtic. However the next East Fife visit to Hampden in a Scottish Cup Final was to prove to be much more successful. By defeating Kilmarnock 4-2 in a replay, after a 1-1 draw, East Fife became the first, and to date only, lower division club to win the Scottish Cup.Some 350,000 fans watched their eleven games, including five replays,played in the cup run as the Men from Methil proved to be 'Abune Thaim aw'. 
 
The story goes that in a Methil pulpit on the Sabbath following the historic cup victory, the Minister announced " Let us now praise God by singing the Second Paraphrase, 'O God of Methil' to the tune 'Kilmarnock'.
 
The 'glory years' for the Methil club now began and they continued their winning ways following the Second World War. In season 1947/48 East Fife not only won promotion to the top division - the only time in 100 years that they have been League Champions - but made another piece of history by becoming the first lower division club to win the Scottish League Cup, defeating Falkirk 4-1 in a replay. The first game finished 0-0. During that season future Scottish Internationalist Henry Morris scored 62 goals, including 41 in the league, thus equalling Jock Wood's club league record for goals from 1926/27.The 1947/48 League Cup suceess was repeated in 1949/50 when fellow Fife club Dunfermline were swept aside 3-0. The Fife went on to become the first club to mark up a hat-trick of Scottish League Cup successes in 1953/54, emerging the victors by the odd goal in five over Partick Thistle. Added to the League Cup success East Fife also made another Hampden appearance in the Scottish Cup, losing 3-0 to Glasgow Rangers, and over this period the club finished high up the top division. The Fife also supplied players on a regular basis to the National Eleven. Players of the calibre of George Aitken, Alan Brown, David Duncan, Charlie Fleming and Henry Morris all pulled on the famed Dark Blue jersey.
 
An early convert to the need for floodlights, the successful East Fife team of the early 50s proved attractive visitors to many English grounds to hansel their floodlights.Indeed East Fife were the first Scottish club ever to host a floodlit Scottish Cup tie in 1956. The visitors Stenhousemuir spoiled the occasion as The Fife were on the wrong side of a 3-1 defeat.
 
But the 'glory days' were drawing to a close and the writing was on the wall when East Fife only just escaped relegation by two points in season in 1956/57. However during that season they achieved another first - a match against Hibs at Easter Road on 23rd March 1967 was the first ever floodlit league game in Scotland. The following season 1957/58 East Fife finished second bottom with 23 points and along with the first ever senior club in Scotland, Queen's Park (9 points), dropped down to the Second Divison. Since then apart from a return to the top division in the early 1970s, East Fife have played their football in the lower divisions. But their reputation as doughty cup fighters continued and  The Fife notched up another first in 1983. On 31st January 1983, the Men from Methil recorded a 2-0 win over Hibs and East Fife became the first lower division side to put a Premier League club out of the Scottish Cup.
 
As we noted last week East Fife moved from the club's spiritual home of Bayview to a new ground, New Bayview, built at Methol Docks in 1998. The ground has been renamed during the centenary year as Bayview Park Stadium, but for many fans the new ground is a soul-less replacement for the 'real' Bayview. With a capacity of only 2,000 the heady day of the record attendance of 22,515 at Bayview in a derby game against Raith Rovers on 2nd January 1950 will never be repeated!
 
A large number of The Fife support has always come from the fishing towns in the East Neuk of Fife, so appropriately this week's recipe, once again, is a fish one - A Fifeshire Way With Plaice.
 
A Fifeshire Way With Plaice
 
Ingredients: 4 fillets of plaice; seasoned flour as required; 1 1/2 oz (40 g) butter; juice of 1/2 lemon; 2 or 3 tablespoons white wine or vermouth; 2 1/2 tablespoons cream; 1 heaped teaspoon minced parsley
 
Choose medium-sized fillets. Dip in seasoned flour. Melt butter in a shallow flameproof baking dish. When heated add the fish. Baste with the butter. Grill for 2 or 3 minutes, basting occasionally, until delicately brown, then turn.Baste with butter, lemon juice and wine or vermouth. Grill until lightly browned, basting occasionally with the liquor in the dish. Arrange on a heated platter. Pour the cream into the liquor remaining in the dish. Stir until piping hot. Spoon over the fillets. Decorate with the parsley. Serve with boiled new potatoes. Serves four.

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