For the first time in an official capacity, Jack Ross returns to the club where a knee injury ended his playing career; hoping to make his former employers as miserable as he was that day.
The Pars have a 100% record over the Buddies this season and their last meeting – in front of the BBC Alba cameras – caught the pressure that the former defender was under as he and Sandy Clark exchanged some heated words for one another during the second half.
As expected, Ross struggled in the early stages of his managerial stint in Paisley as he tried to address the malaise that the squad had found themselves in under the stewardship of Alex Rae. However, after a string of six straight league defeats, he finally achieved victory and soon St Mirren’s second of the Championship season in back-to-back weeks. He has built that into two wins and a couple of draws in the previous six.
Athletic are the form team over the previous seven games. This has seen Allan Johnston’s side rise up the table as they chase down those Premiership playoffs. If they want to continue this good run they will have no sentimentality when Ross is in town.
Keys to the game
The Renfrewshire outfit has the unfortunate combination of a leaky defence and a front line that struggles to score. This in conjunction with the fact that their opponents have scored first in 15 of their 20 fixtures (league worst) sees them anchored to the bottom of the table.
Their vulnerability has shown even when they take the lead as they have gone on to lose every game on the road when netting the opener; this was also the case on their last visit to the Fifers.
On average, teams that play Dunfermline and St Mirren are involved in the highest scoring games in the Championship, and that average increases when the Pars are at home and the Buddies are on the road. So, now that they will come together again; it would be no surprise to see a reprisal of a 4-3 rather than a 1-0.
The best plan of attack for Johnston’s men is to attack straight from the off as no side has conceded more in the opening 15 minutes than the Saints. However, they need to stay switched on at the end of each 45 as that is when they are most vulnerable to giving up a goal.
Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch
Saturday, 15:00 @ East End Park.
South stand: Adults £19, Concessions £13, U12s £7.
All other stands: Adults £17, Concessions £11, U12s £5.
Confirmed line ups
Ben Richards-Everton and David Hopkirk (injured)
No injuries or suspensions.
Hibernian 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic (four yellows)
Falkirk 2-0 Ayr United (one yellow)
Morton 3-1 St Mirren (four yellows)
Ayr United 0-1 Dundee United
Hibernian 3-0 Dundee United (seven yellows)
What Dunfermline Athletic are saying
“The last thing we should do is get complacent because we have experienced losing far too many games at the start of the season. There are a lot of quality teams in this division and there are definitely no easy games in this division. We just got to make sure that we get the mindset right.” (Allan Johnston, manager)
What St Mirren are saying
“There’s a fragility about the players that comes with the way the season has panned out. As the manager it’s my responsibility to try to create a different mentality within the group.” (Jack Ross, manager)
Former Dunfermline Athletic players
Jamie Langfield and Rory Loy (loan).
Former St Mirren players
Form since last meeting
0-2 v Ayr United (A)
0-2 v Raith Rovers (A)
1-1 v Falkirk
2-2 v Queen of the South (A)
2-1 v Greenock Morton
1-1 v Ayr United
3-5 v Buckie Thistle (A – Scottish Cup)
0-3 v Queen of the South
1-1 v Greenock Morton
2-1 v Dundee United (A)
1-1 v Ayr United
1-0 v Raith Rovers
2-3 v Queen of the South (A)
3-1 v Falkirk (A)
5-1 v Spartens (Scottish Cup)
Last three meetings
19/11/16: St Mirren 0-1 Dunfermline Athletic
24/09/16: Dunfermline Athletic 4-3 St Mirren
26/08/15: St Mirren 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic
Last St Mirren away win 28 April 2001: 1-2
Dunfermline Athletic 2-0 St Mirren
Dunfermline Athletic 3/4 Draw 29/10 St Mirren 19/5
Dunfermline HT/FT @ 9/5
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