THE Dairs are one of Cowdenbeath’s best known footballing families, recalls local football history guru David Allan.

We can perhaps begin our tale with the marriage of Jim Baxter’s sister Liz Moffat to Ian Dair.

Ian was a midfielder with Stirling Albion and Cowdenbeath in the 1970’s and played for Glenrothes when they won the 1975 Scottish Junior Cup.

He was capped by junior Scotland and also had a spell as manager of Kelty Hearts. His older brother Tommy Dair played at inside right for the Cowdenbeath juvenile side Kirkford United.

He was signed by Hibs in 1955 and farmed out to Armadale Thistle. Tom never made the Hibs first team and his senior career spanned 6 games for Hamilton Accies in 1956/57. He scored four goals in those half a dozen games for the Accies.

Thereafter he went back to the juniors with Bo’ness United. Later, he was a successful coach at Woodmill Boys Club plus managed Crossgates Primrose.

Ian’s son Jason Dair played for Raith Rovers (in their famous League Cup winning team), Millwall and Dunfermline. He was assistant manager at Cowdenbeath not so long ago and recently became manager of Dundonald Bluebell.

In addition, Jason’s brother Lee Dair who was a schoolboy internationalist played for Rangers, Raith Rovers, East Fife, Cowdenbeath and Hill of Beath Hawthorn. Lee is now Jason’s assistant at Dundonald,

Tommy and Ian Dair also have a well-known cousin in Tom Dair. Tam is one of Cowdenbeath’s best kent faces and a community stalwart. Tom was a Labour councillor and served on the old Cowdenbeath Town Council. Later, he was elected to Fife Council and held a number of key positions including that of Fife Council Convener.

Tam played a bit of football in his younger days, footing it as a full back with Ballingry United and Ballingry Rovers when that club was first established.

His grandson Rikki Dair is a strapping centre half who has lately skippered Hill of Beath Hawthorn and was called up for the Scotland junior squad.

Tam Dair’s father was, Jim Dair, who back in the early 1930’s played at inside left with Hearts of Beath and Burntisland Shipyard. The Dair family had originally come from Burntisland to live in Cowdenbeath. Jim Dair was married to Janet Drylie from another well known local football family – which also has further links to the Drummond and Bissett football clans from Cowdenbeath.

Jim Dair’s father was Tom Dair (the grandfather of both Tam Dair and brothers Ian and Tommy Dair). He spent 60 years working in the local pits, only retiring at the age of 76 in 1958.

As a youngster, he played at right back for Kirkcaldy junior side Raith Athletic and with senior club Kirkcaldy United who were then rivals of Raith Rovers. In 1905, he moved from United to Hearts of Beath who were also a senior outfit at that time. Tom also played for Burntisland Cricket Club for many years. He also raced greyhounds in Cowdenbeath – his most successful dog being ‘Comedian’ which won a fair few handicaps in the early 1920s – when he raced against other well-known local whippets such as ‘Sunday Post’ and ‘Abdullah’.

His brother David Dair played for the original Burntisland Thistle football team which reached the Fife Cup final in both 1887 and 1888 plus won the Fife 2nd XI Cup in 1887. David also was capped by Fifeshire in an intercounty match v Stirlingshire at Falkirk in 1887. Another brother Willie Dair played at centre half in the 1887 Fife Cup final for Burntisland Thistle.