January 17, 2019

Preview: Dunfermline Athletic v St Mirren

St Mirren and Dunfermline Athletic go head to head on league business for the first time since 2012 tomorrow evening at East End Park in front of the BBC ALBA cameras.

The Pars stormed to the League One title last season under the stewardship of former Buddie Allan Johnston so a lot was expected of them this term but after an encouraging opening day in the league campaign they have stuttered.

For all that Johnston recruited well over the summer by signing former Kilmarnock duo Kallum Higginbotham and Lee Ashcroft. Farid El Alagui was snapped up from Hibernian as was former Rangers man Nicky Clark, both brought in to bolster up the forward line.

After wins against Arbroath and Cowdenbeath in the Betfred Cup, losses to Inverness Caley Thistle and Dundee United stopped them advancing in the tournament but hopes were raised again when the Pars won by the odd goal in seven against Dumbarton on the opening day of the Ladbrokes Championship. But losses to Hibernian (2-1), Raith Rovers (2-0) and Queen of the South (1-0) saw the Fife club bump back down to Earth.

Daylight was spotted at the end of the tunnel again with a resounding 5-1 victory against Brechin City in the IRN-BRU Cup but back to back defeats against Dundee United (3-1) and Morton (2-1) in the league see the East End Park side sitting in second bottom spot on the league table, edging out St Mirren by goals scored.

Things haven’t been much better for Saints although they did rally back to earn a share of the points away to Dumbarton last weekend thanks to a headed equaliser by Ryan Hardie. But Saints poor run and start to the season saw the end of Alex Rae’s reign as manager earlier this week as his and assistant manager David Farrell’s contracts were terminated by the club.

St Mirren and Dunfermline last faced each other in the league on 21st April 2012 in an eight goal SPL thriller in Paisley, with the sides having to settle for a point apiece in a 4-4 draw. The sides did meet last season in the Challenge Cup at The Paisley 2021 Stadium where goals from Calum Gallagher and Scott Agnew, and a brace from Stephen Mallan gave Saints a 4-0 win and progression to the next round.

Allan McManus will take over the managerial duties for tomorrow’s match at East End Park where he will be looking to impress, knowing that a win will see Saints leapfrog Dunfermline.