Nostalgia: Raith Rovers friendly ends with bleeding Hearts

Graeme Hogg tussles with Raith Rovers striker Ally Graham before his sending off
Graeme Hogg tussles with Raith Rovers striker Ally Graham before his sending off

It started off as just another pre-season friendly and ended with talk of one of the most shocking incidents ever seen in Scottish football.

Raith Rovers welcomed Hearts to Stark’s Park on August 9, 1994 as part of a warm-up for the 1994/95 and would win a game where the headlines were made courtesy of an onfield fight between two Hearts players.

Hearts' Stephen Frail pulls the jersey of Raith Rovers' scorer Jason Dair

Hearts' Stephen Frail pulls the jersey of Raith Rovers' scorer Jason Dair

Seconds after the half time whistle sounded Hearts central defensive duo Craig Levein and Graeme Hogg squared up to each other and the former punched the latter twice in the face, leaving him with a broken nose.

Jimmy Nicholl’s men took advantage of the two extra men and won 2-0 with goals from Gordon Dalziel and Jason Dair.

The pair were both sent off after the incident which Hearts manager Tommy McLean called “an insult to Hearts Football Club”. Levein was stripped of the Hearts captaincy and both players were immediately transfer-listed.

Following a later SFA disciplinary hearing Levein was banned for 14 games and Hogg for ten.

Graeme Hogg, Craig Levein and Tommy McLean arriving for an SFA disciplinary hearing.

Graeme Hogg, Craig Levein and Tommy McLean arriving for an SFA disciplinary hearing.

In the end however, Levein stayed at Hearts for the remainder of his career and is now in his second spell as the Jambos’ boss.

It was Hogg who moved on from Tynecastle at the end of the season when he joined Notts County.

The report in the Fife Free Press read:

In a game sadly overshadowed by one of the most amazing scenes of violence ever witnessed in Scottish football, it would be easy to lose sight of the good points for Rovers.

That Craig Levein slugged team-mate Graeme Hogg in a moment of absolute madness, leading to the sending off of both players,will no doubt soon become part of the game’s folklore.

But it only served to kill a match which should have provided both managers with vital clues to how their teams were shaping up for the season ahead.

In the end Raith finished their pre-season programme undefeated thanks to a glorious header from Gordon Dalziel and a crisp finish by Jason Dair when Hearts were down to nine men.

The visitors dominated the opening spell on Tuesday night and John Colquhoun had the ball past Rovers keeper Scott Thomson in the 15th minute, heading home a John Millar flick on from close range, only to be foiled by the linesman’s flag.

Two minutes later Kevin Thomas beat Thomson from a tight angle on the right but the ball crashed against the bar.

Raith were struggling to cope with the Tynecastle men’s possession play, although Hearts showed little penetration up front.

And they were made to pay on the half-hour mark as Colin Cameron showed great pace and control to stretch the visiting defence down the right flank.

He set up Rovers captain Danny Lennon for a dangerous out-swinging cross and Dalziel showed his predator’s instinct, nipping between Levein and Hogg to header home from six yards.

On the stroke of half-time a weak header back by Stephen Frail almost gave Dalziel his second but Henry Smith saved well and the whistle blew for the interval.

Then, apparently arguing over who should have been covering for Frail, Hogg raised his hands to Levein but was felled by a vicious one-two from his team captain.

Levein knew not to bother arguing about the red card brandished by referee Bill Crombie, while Hogg admitted later he didn’t even see the card shown to him as he was stretchered off with blood gushing from a wound to his nose.

Anything that happened in the second-half was bound to be an anti-climax, with the visitors reduced to nine men and making hasty readjustments to halt any further damage.

But they almost grabbed a shock equaliser after 62 minutes, Millar heading a bouncing corner over the bar when it looked easier to score from all of a yard.

Raith always had time on the ball, however, and got their expected second goal four minutes later, cutting through the weakened Hearts defence with ease.

Davie Kirkwood, enjoying an eventful home debut, sent Graham down the right and he fired in a dangerous low cross which Dair stabbed home from 10 yards.

Raith: Thomson, Rowbotham, Kirkwood (S73 McStay), Coyle (S65 Broddle), Raeside, Sinclair, Lennon (S68 Kelly), Dalziel (S45 Crawford), Graham (S75 McAnespie), Cameron, Dair. Sub: (not used): Potter (GK).

Hearts: Smith, Frail, McKinlay (S45 Berry), Levein, Hogg, McLaren, MacKay (S73 Johnston), Locke, Colquhoun (S57 Weir), Millar, Thomas (S45 Foster). Sub: (not used): Walker (GK).

Referee: Bill Crombie (Edinburgh).

Attendance: 2172.