Jim Leishman MBE

Jim 'Leish' Leishman MBE, is a former professional footballer and is currently an honorary director of Scottish League One side Dunfermline Athletic.

 

Jim played for Dunfermline between 1970 and 1977 before being transferred to local rivals Cowdenbeath.  When his playing career was cut short through injury he moved into coaching and then management with Kelty Hearts Junior Football Club, before becoming youth team coach and later reserve team coach at Dunfermline.

 

His most noticeable goal came in a 4-3 victory against Rangers. Jim still holds the record of being the last player to score a winning goal for the Pars at Ibrox.  He likes to mention this fact as often as possible, much to the amusement of fans and friends.

Following his departure from the Pars in 1990, he had unproductive spells with Montrose and Inverness Thistle, as well as a spell in charge of Fife Junior outfit Rosyth Recreation.  After this he enjoyed more than eight years with Livingston from 1995, latterly as coach.

 

There he succeeded in taking Livingston into the Scottish Premier League for the first time and the Europe by finishing 3rd following promotion. In August 2003 he returned to Dunfermline, ironically as General Manager. Following the sacking of Davie Hay with just three matches of the 2004–05 remaining, Jim prevented relegation by steering the club to crucial wins over their main relegation rivals Dundee and Dundee United.   Dunfermline had failed to win in their previous ten matches under Hay, but in Jim's temporary care they hammered Dundee 5-0 and he soon took the job on a full-time basis.

 

In 2005–06 the Pars were once again tipped for relegation and almost lived up to that billing.  They would have gone down had it not been, for his old club Livingston.  An 11th placed finish, although level on points with Falkirk and Dundee United, was enough to preserve their status.  A particular low in this season came near the end of February when Celtic visited East End Park and left with a crushing 8-1 win.  Exactly one month later Dunfermline faced Celtic in the 2006 Scottish League Cup Final and, despite an improved performance, they lost 3-0.

 

Jim is well known for his down to earth personality, excellent relationship with Dunfermline fans, and his "aeroplane" celebrations.  At one point he enjoyed a reputation for his witty attempts at delivering his thoughts on football in verse. Jim's strengths are considered to be his man-management skills and his renowned ability to motivate and install self-belief in his players.

 

In September 2006 another trademark of the man, his famous moustache, which he had had since the age of eighteen, was shaved off at a benefit dinner to mark the testimonial year of Dunfermline player Andy Tod.  He was convinced to do so after people at the table he was sitting at, including current Pars players, put up £1000 for charity.

 

Pressure on Jim increased steadily in 2006/07 after another poor start which brought just three wins in two months. On 26 October 2006, Jim decided to return to his post as general manager, with former Hearts boss Craig Levein the initial favourite to take over.

Jim had himself recommended Levein and Livingston manager John Robertson as candidates but Levein moved to Dundee United following the sacking of Craig Brewster on 29 October 2006.  Former Derry City boss Stephen Kenny took over in November 2006.

 

In the Queen's Birthday Honours 2007, Jim was appointed as a member of the Order of the British Empire for 'services to sport'.

 

Jim was further honoured in February 2008 by having a street in Dunfermline named after him and in 2010 he received a fellow of the college award from Carnegie College at Dunfermline Abbey.

 

In 2012, Leishman was elected to Fife Council as a Labour Party candidate for Dunfermline Central. Later that month, he was created Provost of Fife Council, a post which he still holds.

 

Jim was awarded in 2010 a Great Scot Award and in the same year was given a Lifetime Achievement award from Radio Forth.

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