1) Defensively, the right back position needs to be addressed
I am a fan of Ryan Williamson, but his defensive ability is an aspect of the game that needs to be improved if he wants to be a full back at this level or higher. His weakness was exposed numerous times by Billy King – who would be a fantastic winger at the Championship level, nevermind an above average one in the Premiership.
Two of the three goals Inverness scored from open play was down their left flank. Rhys McCabe is not blameless in this either, as the central midfielder who has been shunted out on the right due to injuries within the side was starting far too narrow when the Caley Jags looked to break.
A couple of solutions are already within the squad. One of them is Callum Fordyce, who regularly played at full back during his spell at Livingston. He can provide a solidity to the defensive line in conjunction with Lee Ashcroft, Ben Richards-Everton, and Jason Talbot.
Another is Lewis Martin, who looks more defensively comfortable while not being savvy enough to play centre half just yet. Last season, he played well during the spell in which Williamson was sidelined due to injury.
2) Nat Wedderburn’s absence proved his value
The midfielder – who was recently signed from Caley Thistle – has provided the much-needed bite in the centre of the pitch that the Pars had been missing for years. Calmness personified he just gets his foot on the ball and knocks it to a more creative teammate to do something. He compliments Andy Geggan and protects the backline, which is imperative due to the style that Athletic prefer to play under Johnston.
Again, I do not have a problem with Lewis Spence who is a very underrated talent within the squad, but a man mountain he is not. The Englishman’s size sees him uniquely qualified to drop in the middle of the defence and allow the centre backs to go across and cover their full backs. A ploy that would have certainly helped out Talbot and Williamson to deal with their respective opponents.
3) Andy Geggan has turned into a consistent goalscoring midfielder
The stand-in captain knocked in his fourth goal of the campaign and Dunfermline’s seventh in the Betfred Cup. Last season, the Fifers netted over 100 goals, but the former Ayr United midfielder was only responsible for six of them. In fact, Geggan’s best goalscoring campaign came in his second season at East End Park, where he beat an array of keepers in League One 12 times in 43 outings. If he can hit double figures once again, he will once again prove why he is one of the better players outside of the top flight.
4) Dunfermline has become a force at attacking set pieces
While not strictly from this match, but there is no doubting that Kallum Higginbotham has cemented himself as the best crosser of the ball in a Pars top. The winger has shone in all three of his appearances since arriving from Kilmarnock just over a week ago and has a trio of assists already.
His delivery from dead ball situations was highlighted in the game previous against Cowdenbeath, where Dunfermline had a hat-trick of goals from set pieces, and the English attacker had a massive hand in two of them with his whipped deliveries expertly met by Andy Geggan and Lee Ashcroft respectively.
It was a phase of the game in which Dunfermline struggled with massively last year, but it could be important against some of the tougher sides in the league, e.g. Hibernian.
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