Match Preview: Dunfermline Athletic v Dundee United

Both sides will welcome the return to league action after their outings in the Scottish Cup as these familiar foes take to the field on Saturday.

It is the fourth meeting of the season and the Tangerines have had the better of the Pars whether it be in the league or the cup. However, it will be a much more confident and able Athletic side that the Taysiders will face.

Allan Johnston has overseen an upturn in form for the Fifers that nobody in the division has matched since the last meeting between the sides back in mid-November. The implantation of Nat Wedderburn to the midfield and Andy Geggan at right-back has been vital to this surge up the table.

Ray McKinnon’s men have not done bad themselves, and even he could not believe how well his team had done in the opening half of the season as they kept on the coattails of Hibernian at the turn of the year. If they can bring in a goalscoring centre forward they will be odds-on favourites to rebound back into the Premiership.

While the visitors are favourites going into this game, it would be a real statement of intent to those in the promotion playoffs spots if the East End Park outfit toppled the Terrors for the first time in six years.

Keys to the game

United have failed to blow Dunfermline out of the water in any of the matches between the sides since Allan Johnston took control of the club in the summer of 2015, but have been the better team in all but one of those occasions.

Five months ago, in the only contest at East End Park so far this season seen the Pars spurn opportunity after opportunity as they had three penalties saved, and were up against 10 men for thirty minutes in their 3-1 defeat.

The Tangerines have been on a dreadful run of form having conceded 12 goals in the last three games, this from a team that leaked just 14 in the opening half of the Championship season. By no means can Athletic take solace in the Arabs’ weak defence having been just as poor before their 10 match unbeaten streak.

Both managers would admit – if honest – that their playmaker’s ability is the strongest asset of their respective squads, but lack a complimentary goalscorer to their main net-finder. The touch of extra quality that Ray McKinnon’s men possess may be offset by a lack of confidence and that could play into the black and white’s hands.

The strength of opponent has benefited Johnston’s position, with just two matches against the top four in that time, and a couple of cup fixtures against lower league opposition. However, you can only play what is in front of you, and the home side have settled in the league; it is only the next four fixtures that will give a real indication if they are promotion playoff contenders or pretenders.

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

Team News

Dunfermline Athletic:

Ben Richards-Everton and Ryan Williamson (injured)
Callum Fordyce (match fitness)

Referee

Andrew Dallas.

Games refereed:

Dundee United 1-1 Queen of the South (Three yellows)
Falkirk 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic (Six yellows)
Raith Rovers 1-4 Falkirk (Three yellows)

What are saying

“Dunfermline are a tough side with a lot of good, experienced players. The matches between us have been close and they have been on something of a roll while we have suffered setbacks. It should be an interesting game but hopefully my players will get the bit between their teeth again.” (Ray McKinnon, manager)

What Dunfermline Athletic are saying

“It is always going to be a tough game because when you look through the United squad, they have really good players, the same as ourselves. I don`t think that there has been much separating the teams in the last couple of games. We just need to get that edge. Hopefully we can do it at the weekend. They are on a bit of a sticky run just now so hopefully that will work in our favour as well.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

Former Dundee United players

Callum Morris.

Form since last meeting

Dunfermline Athletic:

2-3 v Alloa Athletic (A – Scottish Cup)
1-1 v St Mirren
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)
0-1 v St Mirren (A)

Points: 16

Dundee United:

6-2 v Ross County (A – Scottish Cup)
3-3 v Queen of the South
3-0 v Hibernian (A)
1-0 v Dumbarton (A)
2-1 v St Mirren
0-0 v Raith Rovers (A)
0-1 v Ayr United (A)
1-0 v Hibernian
0-0 v Greenock Morton (A)

Points: 12

Last four meetings

Championship:

08/11/16: Dundee United 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic
10/09/16: Dunfermline Athletic 1-3 Dundee United

League Cup:

31/07/16: Dundee United 2-0 Dunfermline Athletic
22/09/15: Dundee United 3-1 Dunfermline Athletic

Last home win (1-0) 21/04/07.

Table

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Other fixtures

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Prediction

Dunfermline Athletic 2-2 Dundee United

Odds

Dunfermline Athletic 2/1 Draw 27/10 Dundee United 13/10

Best bet

Over 2.5 goals @ 4/5


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match Preview: Dunfermline Athletic v St Mirren

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

Team News

Dunfermline Athletic:

Ben Richards-Everton and David Hopkirk (injured)

St Mirren:

No injuries or suspensions.

Referee

William Collum.

Games refereed:

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

Paul McMullan.

Form since last meeting

Dunfermline Athletic:

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)

Points: 12

St Mirren:

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)

Points: Eight

Last three meetings

Championship:

19/11/16: St Mirren 0-1 Dunfermline Athletic
24/09/16: Dunfermline Athletic 4-3 St Mirren

League Cup:

26/08/15: St Mirren 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic

Last St Mirren away win 28 April 2001: 1-2

Table

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Championship fixtures

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Prediction

Dunfermline Athletic 2-0 St Mirren

Odds

Dunfermline Athletic 3/4 Draw 29/10 St Mirren 19/5

Best bet

Dunfermline HT/FT @ 9/5


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match Preview: Ayr United v Dunfermline Athletic

The Pars win on Bank Holiday Monday lifted themselves up to sixth in the table and confined the Honest Men to ninth; anything other than a home victory will see them stay there.

South Ayrshire’s finest have tasted victory once in 10 as they have sunk to unwanted depths while Athletic are without defeat in six.

These games tend to be tetchy affairs with little to separate them on any given day; on Saturday expect no different.

Kallum Higginbotham will want to do right the wrong of missing two penalties late on – when either of them would have won the game – in the last matchup against the sides.

Three points for the away team may be terminal for Ian McCall’s squad as St Mirren seem to be catching up on the lower half of the division; while it may start to give Allan Johnston ideas of achieving his dream of fourth place.

Keys to the game

Half of Ayr United’s eight home goals came against fellow part-timers Dumbarton in a draw on Christmas Eve. This exacerbated by the fact that they have failed to score in five of their nine matches at Somerset Park explains – in part – why the Honest Men are struggling near the bottom of the table.

The reason they struggle with finding the net is their poor centre-forwards. Their roster includes Craig Moore (on loan from Motherwell) and Kevin Nisbett (on loan from Partick Thistle). Only Nisbett has contributed to the squad in a positive aspect with two goals and an assist; a dismal return. Fortunately, they have a capable penalty taker in Alan Forrest who has a 100% conversion rate this season (three from three).

The South Ayrshire outfit have scored once – from the spot – in 180 minutes versus the Pars this season and in general have been bettered during Allan Johnston’s tenure. With that, Athletic should be using some of the arrogance that seen them lift the League One title. The best way to do this is to establish the tempo from the kickoff; figuring out ways to get the wingers to run at the full-backs.

While there is still lax defending in the Fifers, the rationale behind the lack of wins as of late is through their failure to create real clear cut chances and spurring the ones that they manufacture.

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

15:00, Saturday @ Somerset Park

Adults: £17
OAP’s and students: £10 
U16s: £5

Confirmed line ups

 Team News

Ayr United:

Craig McGuffie and Craig Moore (injured)
Ross Docherty (suspended)

Dunfermline Athletic:

Ben Richards-Everton and David Hopkirk (injured)
Callum Morris (Holiday)

Referee

Craig Thomson.

Games refereed:

Dundee United 2-2 Raith Rovers (Six yellow, one red, one penalty)
Hibernian 1-1 Dundee United (Two yellow)
Dunfermline Athletic 0-0 Raith Rovers (One yellow)
Falkirk 3-1 St Mirren (Two yellow, one red)

What Ayr United are saying

“First game of 2017 at Somerset Park and it is one we are looking forward to. We are unbeaten in our last three. However, we need to start turning these draws into wins. Last week was probably our poorest performance for a wee while however in difficult conditions we still came out of it with a point. After last season our games with Dunfermline always have that wee bit of spice to them and there always seems to be excitement galore when we play them. They are on a really good run and like every game in this league it will be difficult” (Ian McCall, manager)

What Dunfermline Athletic are saying

“There is still an opportunity to finish in the top four. That is what we are trying to aim for, I know that it is going to be difficult because there are a lot of quality teams in this league. We think that we have the squad capable of doing that.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

Former Ayr United players

Andy Geggan, David Hutton and Michael Moffat.

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Conrad Balatoni (trial) and Paddy Boyle.

Form since last meeting

Ayr United:

0-0 v Queen of the South
4-4 v Dumbarton
1-1 v St Mirren (A)
0-1 v Dundee United

Points: Three

Dunfermline Athletic:

0-2 v Raith Rovers (A)
1-1 v Falkirk
2-2 v Queen of the South (A)
2-1 v Greenock Morton

Points: Eight

Last seven meetings

Championship:

03/12/16: Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Ayr United

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01/10/16: Ayr United 0-0 Dunfermline Athletic

League One:

12/03/16: Ayr United 0-2 Dunfermline Athletic
13/02/16: Dunfermline Athletic 3-2 Ayr United
12/12/15: Ayr United 1-2 Dunfermline Athletic
12/09/15: Dunfermline Athletic 0-2 Ayr United

Scottish Cup:

28/11/15: Ayr United 0-1 Dunfermline Athletic

Last Ayr United home win – 05/12/09 (1-0)

Other Fixtures

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Table

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Prediction

Ayr United 0-1 Dunfermline Athletic

Odds

Ayr United 7/5 Draw 12/5 Dunfermline Athletic 2/1

Best bet

Dunfermline win @ 2/1


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match Preview: Raith Rovers v Dunfermline Athletic

Both managers will hope to extend ringing in the bells this new year with a win over their local rivals with all eyes on them this Monday.

The gap between the sides is four league positions and seven points.

A win for the visitors would make the whole league look extremely competitive.

And that outcome is not unrealistic because the Rovers are without a win since October 29 but to give them their due they have only lost once in that period – inexplicably – to St Mirren.

In a similar vain the Pars have proven difficult to beat in the last few months. Although, they have failed to turn more stalemates into victories.

A win would be the ideal start to the second half of the season in an effort to meet their objective of the Premiership playoffs.

Keys to the game

Games with the Kirkcaldy outfit tend to yield the least amount of goals in the Championship which is down to their efficiency on defence and their inefficiency on offence. In a mirrored image of their rivals, Dunfermline matches have the most goals because of their strength up top and the weakness at conceding avoidable goals (see the first meeting of the season between the pair).

The preferred Rovers defence from left to right reads: Kevin McHattie, Jean-Yves M’Voto, Kyle Benedictus and Jason Thomson. The towering French centre half has been a revelation since joining in the summer from Zawisza (Poland) and forged a fantastic partnership with the vice-captain while protecting the imperious Kevin Cuthbert has seen them contribute heavily to Raith’s seven clean sheets (third most in the Championship). Yet, the former Dundee centre-half will not be available due to suspension with the returning Craig Barr likely to make his first start of the season.

Farid El Alagui should start; as he can deal with the combative nature of his compatriot M’Voto in what will be an intriguing individual contest while Kallum Higginbotham should be able to exploit the space that McHattie vacates when he decides to bomb forward in support (think Ryan Williamson).

Mark Stewart is their top goal scorer after netting four times (tied for 14th in the Championship) in six starts but Declan McManus starts without fail, and his lack of a consistent threat has the Rovers languishing with the most games without scoring (7) in the league.

The attacking threat is coming from the wide midfielders in the form of Bobby Barr and Chris Johnston. The ever dependable Jason Talbot and Andy Geggan will have to be at their defensive best to not allow them to drift inside and charge into the box where they can cause real havoc.

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Monday, 15:00. Stark’s Park

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Confirmed line ups

Team News

Raith Rovers:

Kyle Benedictus (suspended)

Dunfermline Athletic:

Ben Richards-Everton and Lewis Spence (injured)
Callum Morris (Holiday)

Referee

Don Robertson.

Games referred:

St. Mirren 0-2 Hibernian (two yellows)
Falkirk 1-0 Dumbarton (one yellow)
Ayr United 0-0 Dunfermline Athletic
Hibernian 2-0 St. Mirren (five yellows, one penalty)
Dundee United 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic (six yellows, one red)
Dumbarton 0-2 Greenock Morton (four yellows)

What Raith Rovers are saying

“We just cannot get over that line to get the three points at the moment. The last two games have both been good performances, but for different reasons. Against Dundee United we had a lot of the ball and played well. Against Hibs we never had the ball as much but we set up our shape to hit them on the break – and at times we did.” (Iain Davidson, defender)

What Dunfermline Athletic are saying

“I watched [Rovers] against Hibs on Saturday. They are really hard to beat, really well organised but I am sure that we will take another massive crowd there. When you look at the crowd today, it is not Championship it is more like two Premier League clubs. Hopefully we can get the same sort of crowd against Raith.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Iain Davidson (trial), Jason Thompson (loan) and Kevin McHattie (youth)

Form since last meeting

Raith Rovers:

1-1 v Hibernian (A)
0-0 v Dundee United
1-0 v St Mirren (A)
1-1 v Ayr United
0-0 v Dumbarton (A)

Points: Four

Dunfermline Athletic:

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)
0-1 v St Mirren (A)
0-1 v Dundee United (Challenge Cup)
1-0 v Dundee United (A)

Points: Nine

Last four meetings

Championship

05/11/2016: Dunfermline Athletic 0-0 Raith Rovers
20/08/2016: Raith Rovers 2-0 Dunfermline Athletic

Challenge Cup

05/08/2014: Dunfermline Athletic 1-0 Raith Rovers 
20/08/2013: Dunfermline Athletic 0-2 Raith Rovers

Last away Dunfermline win 17/11/2012.

Table

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Prediction

Raith Rovers 1-1 Dunfermline Athletic

Odds

Raith Rovers 107/100 Draw 68/25 Dunfermline Athletic 13/5

Best bet

Both teams to score @ 3/4


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Three things we learned about: The first half of the season

1) Stating the obvious is pure and simple

Dunfermline:

10.5 shots per game, 4.33 on target (189 S, 78 OT)
22 goals.
11.64% shot conversion.

Opponents:

10.38 shots per game, 4.38 on target (187 S, 79 OT)
29 goals.
15.50% shot conversion.

The Pars do not convert the chances they create. 17.5% and above is great, 15% falls in the good category and anything below 12.5% will likely a team struggling at the wrong end of the table.

On paper, at the stage of the season, Athletic should be aiming to have at least 27 goals which would have gave them a 14.28% conversion rate; in the ballpark of what you would want.

This problem is getting worse. In the first quarter, Dunfermline scored 12 times with a 13.33% conversion rate. During the reverse fixtures, the Pars found the net on 10 occasions, beating the keeper once every 10 shots.

Which brings me on to my second observation.

2) You make your own luck in life

Two penalties from eight awarded. Missing is not bad luck.

One of four outcomes can happen from a legally taking spot kick:

You score;
You strike the woodwork;
You knock it wide;
The goalkeeper saves.

Since the implementation of the Premier League in 1992, 1,887 penalties have been taken; 1,591 were scored (84.31%). This season all the other teams in the Championship have a 70% success rate (12/17).

Converting seven out of 10 would be the absolute minimum you would accept. Under the Johnston era in league competition the number stands at four out of 14 (28.57%). Two from eight in this campaign.

Missing a penalty is disappointing but understandable. Failing to convert on multiple occasions in separate games is nigh on unforgivable and highlights a mentality issue within the group.

3) Moving up in the world

It is not all doom and gloom with the Pars. There has been the unnecessary disappointment and frustration but after a difficult nine-game start, there has been a noticeable improvement as the campaign has progressed.

Comparing quarters: it went from 0.77 points per game to 1.22; the goals conceded reduced from 18 to 11; clean sheets double from one to two and instead of six losses there were five draws.

Grinding out results is important in any league but when you are in a league where the majority of teams are of a similar ability then picking up eight points every five games will see you in the mix to finish in the top half. Dunfermline has only had once such run in which they picked up nine points to end 2016.


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match Preview: Dunfermline Athletic v Falkirk

The festive festivities roll on to Boxing Day for a feast of footballing action in Fife.

While all the other Championship teams could not wait past Saturday, these rivals have managed to contain themselves better than a hyperactive child on Christmas Eve.

However, akin to the excitable kid being told they can open their presents from Santa; when that first whistle blows supporters and players will also be unable to control their emotions.

In this real life pantomime, Peter Houston plays the role of the Grinch with his reluctance to take anything less than a share of the spoils. To use the same analogy that would put Allan Johnston in the guise of Cindy Lou Who whose generous and naive nature sees them in peril more often than you would like.

Whether Dunfermline can produce the joyful football to better the reductive nature of Falkirk remains to be seen. Although, whatever the outcome it will be an interesting watch. Purely just to see how far the Pars have come since their last meeting, and whether or not Falkirk are in limbo of being not good enough to challenge for the title, but too good to drop out of the Premiership playoffs.

Keys to the game

The Bairns are an unforgiven outfit on the road. Seven goals have been produced in eight games away from home and only one of the fixtures has seen over 2.5 goals (league average is 44%). Therefore netting first is imperative in taking at least a point out of the tie. Especially for Athletic when taking into account that Falkirk has failed to score twice in the Championship (league best).

John Baird, Lee Miller, and Myles Hippolyte have scored 15 times and are clinical when in front of goal, especially Miller who is their focal point and leads all Bairns scorers with six. Lee Ashcroft will be tasked to deal with his former teammate in the aerial duels while Callum Fordyce will have to be alert to Baird drifting in from the right wing to come centrally to pick up any scraps that fall around the box.

If Dunfermline goes with two in midfield then they will be overrun by Craig Sibbald and James Craigen pressurising them before they can pick out a pass with Mark Kerr being that safety value in front of the back four. Although, if Andy Geggan and Nat Wedderburn were to sit with that pair and allow John Herron to be level with the former Par, it may stop Falkirk being as relentless in pursuit of winning the ball back.

Joe Cardle will be important to try and stop Luke Leahy marauding from his left back position while Paul McMullen needs to use his pace to get the better of Aaron Muirhead and leave him in the dust and he travels to the byline.

Nicky Clark is the Pars consistent goal threat, and him staying centrally, searching for pockets of space in the box may just be enough for him to latch on to half an opportunity and knock it past Danny Rodgers. However, these chances will be fleeting, and he may have to bide his time for them to come.

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Monday, 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

Team News

Dunfermline Athletic:

Ben Richards-Everton (injured)
Kallum Higginbotham (suspended)

Falkirk:

Nathan Austin (injured)

Referee

Euan Anderson.

Ayr United 0-2 Raith Rovers (two yellow)
Raith Rovers 0-2 Falkirk (four yellow)
Dundee United 1-0 Falkirk (two yellow)

What Dunfermline Athletic are saying

“Over the last seven or eight games we have shown more consistency but we need to turn more of them into wins. It is important that we are competitive but we have also got to show our quality and score goals. We can improve, we just have to make sure that we keep on improving. We are going in the right direction just now.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

What Falkirk are saying

“I’m glad we are playing a derby match against Dunfermline because that should spring us to life in some ways. I never criticised the players last Saturday though because they passed the ball well, but they did give soft goals away.” (Peter Houston, manager)

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Mark Kerr.

Former Falkirk players

Farid El Alagui and Kallum Higginbotham.

Common fixtures

Dunfermline Athletic:

1-1 v Ayr United
0-0 v Ayr United (A)
1-3 v Dundee United
1-0 v Dundee United (A)

4-3 v Dumbarton
2-2 v Dumbarton (A)
2-1 v Greenock Morton
2-1 v Greenock Morton (A)
1-3 v Hibernian
2-1 Hibernian (A)
0-0 v Raith Rovers
2-0 v Raith Rovers (A)
0-1 v Queen of the South

2-2 v Queen of the South (A)
4-3 v St Mirren
0-1 v St Mirren (A)

Points: 17

Falkirk:

2-0 v Ayr United
0-1 v Ayr United (A)
3-1 v Dundee United
1-0 v Dundee United (A)

1-0 v Dumbarton
2-1 v Dumbarton (A)
1-1 v Greenock Morton
1-1 v Greenock Morton (A)
1-2 Hibernian
1-1 v Hibernian (A)
2-4 v Raith Rovers
0-2 v Raith Rovers (A)

2-2 v Queen of the South
2-0 v Queen of the South (A)
3-1 v St Mirren
1-1 v St Mirren (A)

Points: 23

Last six meetings

Championship:

15 Oct 2016: Falkirk 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic

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Challenge Cup:

09 Aug 2014: Dunfermline Athletic 1-2 Falkirk

Division One:

27 Mar 2013: Dunfermline Athletic 0-2 Falkirk
16 Feb 2013: Falkirk 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic
26 Dec 2012: Dunfermline Athletic 0-2 Falkirk
06 Oct 2012: Falkirk 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic

Last Dunfermline win: 07 May 2011 (3-0).

Table

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Prediction

Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Falkirk

Odds

Dunfermline Athletic 39/20 Draw 5/2 Falkirk 29/20

Best bet

Both teams to score @ 3/4.


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Where Dunfermline Athletic need to strengthen in the winter window

Allan Johnston expects there to be at least a few ins and outs during January. In my mind, there are three players the Pars require to be brought in over the course of next month and these are the positions that need to be addressed.

Centre Back – Central Defender

With Ben Richards-Everton out for a while after knee surgery, and Lewis Martin being the utility man across the back line, an experienced head that can play on the left side of either Callum Fordyce or Lee Ashcroft would be ideal.

Neither Fordyce or Richards-Everton are contracted for next season, so this signing is not necessarily a priority, but it may be good to get a player on a pre-contract for the next tilt at the Premiership playoffs.

Player comparison: Frazier Wright (Dumbarton)

Defensive Midfielder – Ball Winning Midfielder

With the captain, Andy Geggan rotating between centre midfield and right back. A player that can step in for him and protect the back four would be a popular transfer that would be heralded by supporters.

As Nat Wedderburn is not always the first – or last – on the teamsheet, it may be a footballer that can step right into the starting 11.

Player comparison: Mark Miller (Queen of the South)

Central Midfielder – Deep Lying Playmaker/Advanced Playmaker

Lewis Spence is destined for the door having made six appearances for the club under Johnston’s tenure having seen himself loaned out to League One Brechin City twice this calendar year.

There is also no agreement with Blackpool to extend John Herron’s loan further than the new year. Consequently, a replacement for the attacking midfielder would be wise. Principally a playmaker with the drive from the middle of the field, who is willing to travel with the ball, running at the heart of a defences.

Player comparison: Michael Tidser/Conor Pepper (Greenock Morton)

Centre Forward – Advanced Forward/Target Man

Farid El Alagui’s deal ends shortly while Michael Moffat is out of contract on June 1st, and Gavin Reilly will be departing back to Hearts at the end of the campaign if not sooner.

All of them have been unable to live up to the expectations set by Nicky Clark, someone who can compliment the assistant manager’s son Sandy would be a shrewd investment to the squad, especially going on to next season.

Player comparison: Calum Gallagher/John Sutton (St Mirren)


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