Dundee face Dumbarton in a Scottish Cup replay this week and so we take a look at a player who played for both clubs Simon Lynch. Lynch was the Dark Blues’ top marksman in his one and only season with the Club as he tried to spearhead The Dee’s return to the SPL and had a short spell with Dumbarton in 2009. He joined Dundee in the aftermath of relegation in 2005 and stayed for just one unsuccessful attempt to return to the top tier but he did finish as top goal scorer with a more than respectable eighteen goals.
Lynch was born in Montreal, Canada on May 19th 1982 but moved to Scotland as a child before starting his football career with Celtic, the team his father Andy had captained in the Seventies. Lynch made a good impression at Parkhead scoring three goals in three appearances after his debut and six goals in ten outings for the Scotland Under-21 side but he turned down an improved contract offer to join Preston North End for £130, 000 in 2003.
Just two goals in forty-five appearances at Deepdale saw Simon loaned out to first Stockport County and then Blackpool and when he contract ran out in Lancashire, newly relegated Dundee gave him the chance to return to Scotland after losing strikers Steve Lovell, John Sutton, Fabian Caballero, Glenn Larsen in the wake of going down.
Lynch was one of four strikers brought in by manager Jim Duffy who joined the Dark Blues along with Andy Ferguson from Ayr United, Craig O’Reilly from Raith Rovers and former favourite Gerry Britton who would double up as assistant manager. With Tam McManus surviving the relegation cost cutting cull, competition for a striking berth would be fierce but Lynch hit the ground running by scoring on his debut in a 2-0 home win over East Stirlingshire in the Challenge Cup and would go on to score in each of his first six games.
His first league goal came in a pulsating 3-2 win over second favourites St Mirren at Dens in the First Division opener but by the time he scored his sixth in six games, Lynch was playing for a different manager after a 3-1 defeat to Stranraer in the League Cup cost Duffy his job. Lynch scored the consolation at Stair Park and then for caretaker-manager Gerry Britton in a 1-1 draw at Hamilton but Britton failed to land the job full-time when it was given to former Republic of Ireland internationalist Alan Kernaghan who had been within a whisker of taking Clyde into the SPL the year before.
However things didn’t start too well for the new management team of Kernaghan and Billy Kirkwood losing 2-0 to Airdrie United in the league and then exiting the Challenge Cup by a similar score line at Hamilton and Lynch lost his scoring touch, failing to notch in his next five games after his blistering start.
Flesh blood was brought in by Kernaghan therefore with another striker Steven Craig joining the Dens Park ranks and Lynch found his scoring touch alongside his new partner with a brace away to Brechin on October 1st.
By mid-November Dundee lay sixth, twelve points adrift of league leaders St Mirren but The Dee turned the Paisley side over with a surprising 4-0 win at Dens to keep their faint promotion hopes alive.
Lynch started the New Year in good form with three goals in four games including a goal in a 2-0 revenge victory over Stranraer in the Scottish Cup and made it five in five by Valentine’s Day when The Dee beat Airdrie 2-0 in the next round. This put Dundee into the quarter-finals and after a tense 0-0 on the plastic pitch at Hamilton, the Accies were despatched 3-2 in an extra time thriller in front of the SKY cameras where Simon scored the second goal.
The semis saw Dundee have a great chance to reach their second Scottish Cup Final in three years when the draw paired them with Gretna but it was a deeply disappointing day as the Second Division side ran out 3-0 winners.
Eight thousand Dees had travelled to Hampden and many blamed Kernaghan for giving Gretna too much respect and not having a go. The Board seemed in agreement when they offered the managerial duo two months salary to resign and although they at first refused, the stand off didn’t last long when Kernaghan and Kirkwood were removed from their posts.
Players Barry Smith and Bobby Mann were put in temporary charge until the end of the season meaning that Lynch played for five mangers in his eight months at Dens and an ultimately disappointing season saw Dundee finish in seventh place in the second tier, the worst league placing in the Club’s history.
Lynch however was deemed to be one of the few successes with his eighteen goals and it was hoped that any new manager might be able to persuade him to sign for another year. Simon however had other ideas and found an offer from Queensland Roar in Australia too enticing to turn down and became an instant hit down under when he scored on his debut against Perth Glory.
He returned to Scotland in 2008 to sign for Airdrie United for a year, then playing for Dumbarton, East Stirlingshire and Stenhousemuir in subsequent seasons before giving up football at the age of twenty-nine to take up a career in music.
Music was nothing new to Simon having been a member of a band called The Oracles as a teenager and while playing for Stenhousemuir he met up and coming record producer Andrew Anderson and started to work on his debut album. He released his first single ‘Life of a Busker’ in 2010, the video of which can be seen on YouTube and his first album ‘Sounds of Paradise’ at the end of 2011.
At Dundee however it was his ‘life as a striker’ for which he is remembered.
League: 28 + 5 subs, 13 goals
Scottish Cup: 6, 3 goals
League Cup: 1, 1 goal
Challenge Cup: 3, 1 goal
Totals: 43, 18 goals
Jul 31st 2005, Challenge Cup 1st Rd, East Stirling (h), won 2-0 (one goal)
Aug 6th 2005, First Division, St Mirren (h), won 3-2 (one goal)
Aug 13th 205, First Division, Clyde (a), drew 1-1 (one goal)
Aug 20th 2005, First Division, QOS (h), won 3-1 (one goal)
Aug 23rd 2005, League Cup 2nd Rd, Stranraer (a), lost 3-1 (one goal)
Aug 27th 2005, First Division, Hamilton (a), drew 1-1 (one goal)
Oct 1st 2005, First Division, Brechin (a), won 3-1 (two goals)
Oct 26th 2005, First Division, Clyde (h), drew 3-3 (one goal)
Nov 12th 2005, First Division, St Johnstone (h), won 2-1 (one goal)
Nov 26th 2005, First Division, Brechin (h), won 1-0 (one goal)
Jan 8th 2006, Scottish Cup 3rd Rd, Stranraer (h), won 2-0 (one goal)
Jan 21st 2006, First Division, Brechin (a), won 3-0 (one goal)
Jan 28th 2006, First Division, Stranraer (h), won 2-1 (one goal)
Feb 11th 2006, First Division, QOS (h), lost 3-2 (two goals)
Feb 14th 2006, First Division, Airdrie (h), won 2-0 (one goal)
Mar 9th 2006, Scottish Cup Q-F Rep, Hamilton (h), won 3-2 (one goal)