We sat down with Falkirk legend Alex Totten to discuss our rivalry with Dunfermline Athletic.
Alex was a Falkirk manager on two occasions, but it was a couple of games in his second spell as boss, from 1996-2002, that really stood out for him as the best.
“We were away to Dunfermline and two nothing down, first Scott McKenzie had a 25 yarder right in the top corner, what a goal it was. It gets to injury time and we’re still 2-1 down. David Hagen took the corner, Ivo Den Bieman scored 2-2. The Falkirk fans were going crazy, there must have been four or five thousand of them. I was on the pitch and had Nicholl and Calderwood giving me pelters, it was absolutely brilliant, what a feeling it was!”
The second game was one of the more famous derby victories for The Bairns, the Scottish Cup victory in 1997 on the road to the club’s first final since 1957.
“When we went to the Scottish cup Final with Falkirk we beat Dunfermline at Brockville, they were a Premier League side and we were in the First Division, so to beat them was really something. To beat your rivals in the cup is always special and doesn’t happen very often.”
Alex played for both clubs, spending four years with the Fife side in the late 1960’s before joining The Bairns, so has experienced the rivalry on both sides:
“It’s a bit hard to fathom where the rivalry comes from, I think the two towns are similar sizes, both clubs have had their ups and downs; promotions and relegations. I made my debut at Dunfermline and spent nearly five years there. I have a great respect for the club, but I really love beating them you can’t beat it. As a player and a manager, you love to beat your rivals, you get the bragging rights and always look forward to those games. There’s been some really fabulous encounters over the years.”
In his role within the commercial department of the club, Alex has seen first-hand the strong support from the Falkirk fans this season, which hasn’t faltered, despite results not being where they should be. The last derby match, which saw The Bairns come out victors at East End Park, was a well-earned celebration for the Falkirk faithful.
“The first five minutes of the last game against Dunfermline, they had a few very good chances, which they missed thankfully. Zak scored an absolute cracker to win the game, from so far out to the top corner.”
“You could see the reaction after the game, it means so much to the fans and you could see some of the players realise that which I think has showed since then. Some of the guys in from England, and those that lack a bit of experience, obviously hadn’t encountered that sort of thing before, and hopefully getting that victory will stand them in good stead for Dunfermline games in the future, especially for this Saturday’s game.”
Alex finished by praising the Falkirk fans and discussing his hopes going forward:
“The fans have been so loyal this season, of course the gates have been excellent, but hospitality, shirt sponsors and advertising boards have also been doing very well. The Falkirk fans have showed their true colours in getting right behind the team even though the results haven’t been what we’re looking for, hopefully that will change in the future.
“It’s a smashing club, it’s my club. I’ve been here 25 years, as a manager and in the commercial department and you always want to see your club being successful.”