Championship action returns on Halbeath Road as the second match day of the league season takes place.
Athletic will be aiming to bounce back after a poor performance against Rangers; where they took a drubbing. They already have points on the board unlike their opponents who have not responded well from their relegation in May. New manager, John Robertson, failed to progress them in League Cup group stages before being bested – at home – to Dundee United.
Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch
SRJ Windows South Stand: Adults £20, Concessions £14
All other stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12
Away Stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12, U12s £5
Saturday 12th, 15:00 at East End Park.
Nicky Clark (injured).
Declan McManus (suspended).
Inverness Caledonian Thistle:
Aaron Doran and Carl Tremarco (injured).
Games refereed –
East Fife 0(8)-(9)0 Dunfermline Athletic (2Y)
Forfar Athletic 1-3 Stirling Albion (3Y)
What Dunfermline Athletic are saying
“We know Inverness have a strong squad, they have kept the majority of players from last year. They have a bit of pace about their team and we know that it is going to be a tough test. We have to make sure that there is a reaction from everybody. We need to be positive and go and get the reaction that we need.” (Allan Johnston, manager)
What Inverness Caledonian Thistle are saying
“That tells you all the quality you need to know about Dunfermline right now. I know on Saturday they survived a last-minute penalty save but it was still a good point. Any point away from home in this league is excellent. Three points are gold-dust. Dunfermline have scored a lot of goals, so defensively we will have to be up to the mark and improve in terms of our finishing.” (John Robertson, manager)
Line ups last time out
Complete fixture list
Former Dunfermline Athletic players
Brad McKay (2016)
Former Inverness Caledonian Thistle players
Nat Wedderburn (2015-16)
Last seven meetings
02/05/12. Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0-0 Dunfermline Athletic
18/02/12. Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
22/10/11. Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-1 Dunfermline Athletic
06/08/11. Dunfermline Athletic 3-3 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
18/01/12. Dunfermline Athletic 1-3 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
07/01/12. Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-1 Dunfermline Athletic
27/06/16. Dunfermline Athletic 1-5 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Keys to the game
The loss of Greg Tansey and Ross Draper:
Two lumberjacks in the centre of the park that can control any game have departed the Caledonian Stadium to stay in the Premiership. There is now little to no control in the middle of the park as the Caley Jags with have no recognisable central midfielder. Iain Vigurs is there and out of position as he would prefer to play wide left. Nat Wedderburn should be relishing being able to mark him out the game.
The threat of Iain Vigurs:
The former Staggie netted a hat-trick the last time these two sides met; which was at East End Park. On that day in July he was stationed as an attacking midfielder with himself and Billy King embarrassing the Dunfermline back line that night. Of the players at the club, only Vigurs and centre forward, John Baird, carry any sort of threat that should worry the Pars.
Being thumped 5-1 against a side that would go onto be relegated must have been unpleasant. Yet, this is a much changed side from last. Robertson has them set up in a 4-4-2 as opposed to the 4-2-3-1 that Richie Foran preferred. Eight of the 17 that were available for selection last year are still at the club and two of them are the third and fourth choice goalkeepers.
The changes have not been quite as drastic for Athletic but there has been seven players that departed who were starting or on the bench that evening. However, Joe Cardle, Kallum Higginbotham, Lee Ashcroft and Ryan Williamson will want to prove that Tuesday was a blip in their season and beat up on a team that showed them up in front of their own supporters.
Pars were five games unbeaten until they met Rangers at Ibrox, who stopped them going six by scoring six. The most optimistic of fans could only hope that they gave the Govan outfit a game, but that went out the window within 10 minutes. It is how Allan Johnston’s men respond which will be important, not the disappointment of the League Cup exit. A win would at least keep them in the top four; a position which they desire come the end of the campaign. A victory over a fellow playoff contender will solidify a good couple of weeks in the league season.
Being glib, Caley Thistle have not bounced back since winning the Scottish Cup in 2015. The fear for them is “doing a St Mirren” and by continuously going for the cheap and lazy option you end up flirting with another relegation. They need to get a good result somewhere to quell the fear of the supporters. This would be a start, but the longer it drags on, the louder the fans become.
Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Dunfermline Athletic 1.42 Draw 2.5 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2.1
Dunfermline to win and over 2.5 goals @ 4/1
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