Match preview: Dunfermline Athletic versus Brechin City

The Pars will not want to slip up to the Angus outfit that remain winless in this Championship season. If, the homers were to suffer defeat, it would not only be a personal embarrassment, but it could have grave ramifications on their Premiership playoff aspirations.

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Ticket prices:

South Stand: Adults £20, Concessions £14
All other stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12
Away Stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12, U12s £5

Match information:

Saturday 14th, 15:00 at East End Park.

Team news

Dunfermline Athletic:

Aaron Splaine, James Vincent and Sean Murdoch (injured).
Tom Beadling (doubt).

Brechin City:

Paul McLean (suspended).
Andy Jackson, Craig Storie and Ryan McGeever (injured).
Gary Fusco (doubt).

Referee

John McKendrick.

Games reffed involving either side:

Brechin City 0-3 Dunfermline (2Y)
Brechin City 1-1 Greenock Morton.

What Dunfermline Athletic said

“It is a right good opportunity but we know that Brechin are playing without any pressure. They had a really tight game last week against St Mirren so we know that we are going to have to go out there and put a performance in. On paper it is possibly the easier one but in this league I do not think there are any easy games. The last thing you want to do is underestimate Brechin. They have been really unfortunate this year, they have not picked up many results and have not a lot of points. But there have been a lot of games where they have got right to the wire. We need to make sure that we start right, get the goals we need and hopefully move on to the next one.”(Allan Johnston, manager)

What Brechin City said

“We can take some confidence from the performance against St Mirren. Heads didn’t go down after losing an early goal and in the end they were the team happy to see the game out. When we played Dunfermline in September they were top and looked like real candidates to win the league. They’ve got some strong attacking options and after a sticky spell are looking good for the play-offs again. We made it hard for them at East End Park the last time and hopefully we can do that again.” (Darren Dods, manager)

Line ups last time out

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Euan Spark (2016-17)
Finn Graham (2012-16)

Former Brechin City players

Andy Ryan (2013)
Michael Paton (2008)

Last seven meetings

Championship:

20/03/17. Brechin City 0-3 Dunfermline Athletic
23/12/17. Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 Brechin City.
23/09/17. Brechin City 0-3 Dunfermline Athletic.

League One:

26/03/16. Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Brechin City.
20/02/16. Brechin City 1-2 Dunfermline Athletic.
05/12/15. Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Brechin City.
08/08/15. Brechin City 1-6 Dunfermline Athletic.

Prediction

Dunfermline Athletic 5-0 Brechin City

Odds

Dunfermline Athletic: 0.21
Draw: 6.00
Brechin City: 14.00

Best bet

Dunfermline -2: 1.87

Table

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Complete fixture list

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You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

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The four games that cost Dunfermline Athletic second place

This season, the Pars in venues all over Scotland have been everything from title contenders to mid-table mediocrity through undulating levels of performances having an effect on the results.
 
The popular opinion was that the Fifers were to finish a spot better this time around and come fourth; the last Premiership playoff position. Dundee United, Falkirk and St Mirren were expected to be above Allan Johnston’s men. While, two of the three are still on course to make that prediction a reality, the Bairns have underachieved with Livingston overachieving by everybody’s reckoning.
 
With the League One champions, four points away from securing the runners-up spot. Here are the matches in which Athletic will be kicking themselves in not achieving the required result to finish second:
 
09/09/17: Greenock Morton 3-2 Dunfermline Athletic
 
The perfect example of how to throw a lead away. Athletic had been two-nil up and cruising going into half-time against a side they had beaten in their previous three meetings.
 
Clear errors through a lack of concentration allowed for the first and final Ton goal coming in the opening and last minute of the final period for Jim Duffy’s men to snatch all three points. That outcome allowed their rivals, St Mirren to displace the Fifers at the top of the table five games in. It also closed the gap to the Pars to two points when it could have been eight; the biggest gap either side has had is half a dozen.
 
30/09/17: Dunfermline Athletic 1-3 Dundee United
 
In eight league attempts, Johnston has failed to mastermind a plan to topple them and in the Challenge and League Cup, he fairs no better. Even recent strugglers, Dumbarton have a better winning record over the Tangerines since the Dundonian’s entrance in Summer 2016; three wins from eight. While the Livingston results offset the defeat at Tannadice. Getting a doing at home to the 2010 Scottish Cup winners was the second defeat of the season and was the beginning of a rot that set in until Christmas Eve Eve. A draw would have sufficed even though it would have relinquished control of top spot to the Buddies.
 
09/12/17: Dunfermline Athletic 2-5 Queen of the South
 
The most pathetic display in the Johnston era as a 35-year-old Stephen Dobbie was given free reign to rip the pish out of the Pars defence. 15% of the goals conceded so far this season by Athletic came in this match. That is abysmal considering no team has more clean sheets or a better goals conceded per game record than them.
 
Gary Naysmith’s men are on course to finish seventh, a spot worse than they did last time out with the second worst defensive record. For them to get such a convincing win, especially, when these matches tend to be close affairs was embarrassing for the homers. A 2-1 win would have been fine and kept the Doonhamers on the outside looking in for the Premiership playoffs in the remainder of the campaign.
 
26/01/18: Dunfermline Athletic 1-2 St Mirren
 
There is no shame in defeat to the impending champions, but it would have been a positive to go five games unbeaten with a draw; a feat that the Pars took until March to achieve. Considering this match was live on BT Sport, a decent performance instead of an insipid one would have brought plaudits upon the squad on a national stage. Instead, they were subject to a goal that went worldwide thanks to Barcelona’s Twitter feed and was made to look a far second best.

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Match preview: Falkirk versus Dunfermline Athletic

Tomorrow, Grangemouth will host – in reality – the last meaningful game for the Bairns this season due to their worst league finish since 2002 when they were ninth in the second tier. While it has been an unsatisfying nine months, the disappointment could end by impeding the Pars reaching the Premiership playoffs with a first league victory of the campaign against their rivals.

Kickoff time and where to watch

Match information:

Saturday 7th, 15:00 at Falkirk Stadium.

Team news

Falkirk:

David Mitchell (injured).

Dunfermline Athletic:

Aaron Splaine, Michael Paton and Sean Murdoch (injured).

Referee

Don Robertson.

Previous games refereed involving either team this season:

Championship

St Mirren 3-1 Falkirk (4Y, 1R)
Dunfermline Athletic 1-3 Dundee United (6Y)
Falkirk 0-0 St Mirren (4Y)
Queen of the South 0-0 Dunfermline Athletic (2Y)

League Cup

Rangers 6-0 Dunfermline Athletic (3Y).

What Falkirk are saying

“We want Saturday to be a good derby game with a little bit of spice to it. We want the game to pass by with a good atmosphere. There is going to be an edge to the game, I think there will be a great crowd in, but we do not want anyone to cross the line.” (Paul Hartley, manager)

What Dunfermline Athletic are saying

“There is still a lot to play for, the league is still really really tight. We just know that we have to continue playing the way that we have been playing because we need to get ourselves into the play offs. It is going to be a really tough game at the weekend. Falkirk’s record shows that they are on a good run as well.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

Line ups last time out

Former Falkirk players

Fraser Aird (2017)
James Craigen (16-18)

Kallum Higginbotham (10-12)

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Rory Loy (09).

Last eight meetings

Championship:

02/01/17. Dunfermline Athletic 2-0 Falkirk
04/11/17. Falkirk 1-1 Dunfermline Athletic
19/08/17. Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Falkirk

22/04/17. Dunfermline Athletic 1-2 Falkirk
04/02/17. Falkirk 2-0 Dunfermline Athletic
26/12/16. Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Falkirk
15/10/16. Falkirk 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic

Challenge Cup:

07/10/17. Falkirk 2-0 Dunfermline Athletic

Prediction

Falkirk 2-3 Dunfermline Athletic

Odds

Falkirk: 1.60
Draw: 2.40
Dunfermline Athletic: 1.70

Best bet

Dunfermline Athletic to win and over 2.5 goals: 3.80

Table

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Complete fixture list

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You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

 

Match preview: Dunfermline Athletic versus Livingston

The Lions have been tamed by the Pars in the previous encounters this season and Athletic will be hoping to at least share the spoils with the West Lothian outfit at the end of play tonight.

On Saturday, Queen of the South’s playoff hopes were ended by a Nicky Clark hat-trick while the League One champions remained on course to finish runners-up to St Mirren with a three-nil win in Dumbarton.

Allan Johnston will be hoping to put all the pressure on Greenock Morton  – who do not play this evening – and push them down into at least fourth. David Hopkin will aim to defeat the only side he has not been able to in the Championship this season.

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Ticket prices:

South Stand: Adults £20, Concessions £14
All other stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12
Away Stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12, U12s £5

Match information:

Tuesday 3rd, 19:45 at East End Park.

Team news

Dunfermline Athletic:

Aaron Splaine, James Vincent Joe Cardle and Sean Murdoch (injured).

Livingston:

No news.

Referee

Stephen Finnie.

Games reffed involving either side:

Queen of the South 0-0 Dunfermline Athletic (5Y).
Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Greenock Morton (2Y)
Livingston 3-2 Brechin City (5Y, 1PEN)
Livingston 0-1 Queen of the South (3Y)

What Dunfermline Athletic said

“We have to focus on ourselves and make sure that between now and the end of the season we get as many wins as possible. A win rather than a draw makes a massive difference. We will focus on this next game because everything changes so quick when you see the results and the table. So one game at a time, I know it is an old cliche but it is really really important. There are no easy games in this league. It doesn’t matter whether you are playing a team at the bottom or a team at the top they are that similar. You cannot lose focus.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

What Livingston said

[On signing Adam Frizzell]: “Adam is a attacking player who gives us some options and cover for the games ahead. We are coming into a busy period of games that are going to be massive for everyone at the club. I think Adam can help us through this period and he brings Premiership experience with him. He is an explosive player, and can play anywhere across the midfield or up front.” (David Hopkin, manager)

Line ups last time out

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Scott Robinson (2016)
Shaun Byrne (08-16)
Gregor Buchanan (14-15)

Former Livingston players

Jason Talbot (2008-15)

Last seven meetings

Championship:

10/02/17: Livingston 1-1 Dunfermline Athletic
21/10/17: Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Livingston
05/08/17: Livingston 1-1 Dunfermline Athletic

First Division:

30/03/13: Livingston 1-1 Dunfermline Athletic
26/01/13: Dunfermline Athletic 0-1 Livingston
08/12.12: Livingston 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic
22/09/12: Dunfermline Athletic 4-0 Livingston

Keys to the game

The Lions can prey on Athletic’s weaknesses just by playing their natural game. Hopkin likes a direct approach from his squad, and that can mean launching long balls into the channels that force the centre backs out to deal with them, scavenging on the loose ball and pepper the goal from there. 

While Lee Miller is closer to the end than the start of his career, he can provide a good base in which to attempt win headers, hold up the ball and allow Ryan Hardie to do the running for the pair. The on-loan Rangers centre forward has netted seven times in nine starts.

Prediction

Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 Livingston 

Odds

Dunfermline Athletic: 1.50
Draw: 2.40
Livingston: 2.10

Best bet

Over 2.5 goals: 1.10

Table

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Complete fixture list

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You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match preview: Dunfermline Athletic versus Queen of the South

Today, the Pars have the opportunity to right a massive wrong in their eyes and keep the pressure on Greenock Morton, who will likely finish in that last Premiership playoff spot.

The last time the Doonhamers visited Fife they left with three points after inflicting the worst league defeat on Athletic since the Ton won by four goals: 28 March, 2015.

With just one point separating both sides and the homers being 13 goals better off and having to play the bottom four in the final fixtures of the regular season. It is likely that a win would kill off the Dumfries outfit’s chances of finishing fourth.

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Ticket prices:

SRJ Windows South Stand: Adults £20, Concessions £14
All other stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12
Away Stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12, U12s £5

Match information:

Saturday 31, March 15:00pm at East End Park.

Team news

Dunfermline Athletic:

Aaron Splaine, Joe Cardle and Sean Murdoch (injured).

Queen of the South:

No news.

Referee

William Collum.

Games reffed involving either side:

Dunfermline Athletic 2-5 Queen of the South (1Y, 1PEN).
Dunfermline Athletic 2-0 Falkirk (5Y)
Queen of the South 1-1 (6-5 Pens) Hamilton Academical (1Y)

What Dunfermline Athletic are saying

“Hopefully we are timing our run well and we can put a run of results together. You can see the confidence in the players and we just need to make sure that translates into three points. From our point of view the fans have stuck by the players and it makes a big difference when you have the fans on side. There are other clubs where that is not the same scenario. We are lucky and we have to make sure that we repay them with performances on the pitch.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

 

Line ups last time out

 

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Callum Fordyce (2015-17)
Scott Mercer (12-15)
Shaun Rooney (15-16)

Former Queen of the South players

Lee Robinson (09, 10-13, 16-17)
Michael Paton (08)
Nicky Clark (11-13)

Last seven meetings

Championship:

24/02/18. Queen of the South 0-0 Dunfermline Athletic.
09/12/17. Dunfermline Athletic 2-5 Queen of the South.
14/10/17. Queen of the South 0-0 Dunfermline Athletic.
06/05/17. Queen of the South 0-1 Dunfermline Athletic.
07/03/17. Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Queen of the South.
17/12/16. Queen of the South 2-2 Dunfermline Athletic.
27/08/16. Dunfermline Athletic 0-1 Queen of the South.

 

Prediction

Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Queen of the South

Odds

Dunfermline Athletic: 1.05
Draw: 2.66
Queen of the South: 2.80

Best bet

Dunfermline Athletic to win: 1.05

Table

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Complete fixture list

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You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match preview: Dundee United versus Dunfermline Athletic

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Ticket prices:

Lower Tiers: £20 Adults / £10 Concessions (u12s – £5)
Upper Tiers: £22 Adults / £13 Concessions

Match information:

Saturday 24th, 15:00 at Tannadice Stadium.

Team news

Dundee United:

Lewis Toshney, Fraser Fyvie and Jordie Briels (injured).

Dunfermline Athletic:

Aaron Splaine, Joe Cardle, Michael Paton and Sean Murdoch (injured).

Referee

Euan Anderson.

Previous games refereed involving either team this season:

Challenge Cup

Dunfermline Athletic 2-0 Arbroath (5Y, 1Y/R, 1R)

Championship

Dundee United 1-0 Brechin City (2Y)
Dundee United 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic (7Y, 1PEN)

What Dundee United are saying

“If you play at home and you lose you get criticism and it is legitimate. However, I also have to defend the players because they tried and we did come back from 2-0 down [against Queen of the South] to make it 2-2 before losing an easy goal which killed us. We have to go now and win games. The next game against Dunfermline will not be easy but if we want to go higher then we need the three points. You are under pressure all the time. Look, this is not just about me. This is about the club and the team. OK, we had some individual mistakes against Queen of the South but I trust my players and they have to trust their own quality. I am still looking to have a team on the field that can win the game. I told the boys that it is not about individuals it is about the club. If we want to go into the play-offs we have to win games.” (Csaba László, manager)

What Dunfermline Athletic are saying

“You can see the confidence. Getting the win in the Inverness game, and even in that, you could see the confidence coming back. The players were trying to create, and taking chances, and having that bit of creativity in the team makes a difference. We have just go to to make sure we follow up every result with the type of performance we have lately. Teams are struggling to score goals against us, which is always a good sign because you don’t want to give away cheap goals. We are going to have to defend at times this weekend, because they have got decent players as well. But hopefully we can make them defend.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

Line ups last time out

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Paul McMullan (2016-17)

Former Dundee United players

Callum Morris (2014-16)

Last seven meetings

Championship:

10/09/16. Dunfermline Athletic 1-3 Dundee United
08/11/16. Dundee United 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic
28/01/17. Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Dundee United
11/04/17. Dundee United 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic
30/09/17. Dunfermline Athletic 1-3 Dundee United
02/12/17. Dundee United 2-0 Dunfermline Athletic

Challenge Cup:

12/11/16. Dunfermline Athletic 0-1 Dundee United

Prediction

Dundee United 1-2 Dunfermline Athletic

Odds

Dundee United: 1.15
Draw: 2.40
Dunfermline Athletic: 2.70

Best bet

Under 2.5 goals: 1.07

Table

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Complete fixture list

Greenock Morton v Brechin City.
Queen of the South v Livingston.


Match preview: Brechin City versus Dunfermline Athletic

Relegation can be sealed on Saturday against Greenock Morton if they fail to pick up three points in either tomorrow or the weekend’s encounter. Regardless, they look destined to finish last and return to where they came from last season.

Victory seems unlikely as the City have won only once in all competitions this season.They avenged the loss to the Highland League outfit in the League Cup earlier on in the campaign against Buckie Thistle in the Scottish Cup. The City’s best result in the league is a one all home draw with Dundee United, a week after their national cup success.

If there was ever a game for the Pars to boost their poor away form – a run of results so poor that they rank below Dumbarton – there is no more favourable opponents than the part-timers. It can improve their odds as outsiders in the pursuit for that last Premiership playoff spot. If Athletic were victorious in this game in hand on the Ton then they would lay a point behind with the better goal difference.

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch
 
Ticket prices:

Parent & Child: £18 (plus £2 for each additional school-age child in family party)
Adults: £15
Adult Concession (over 65’s and under-18’s) : £8

Match information:

Tuesday 20 March 19:45pm at Glebe Park.

Team news

Brechin City:

No news.

Dunfermline Athletic:

Aaron Splaine, Michael Paton and Sean Murdoch (injured).

Referee

Barry Cook.

Previous games refereed involving either team this season:

Championship

Dumbarton 0-4 Dunfermline Athletic (4Y, 1Y/R),
Falkirk 1-1 Brechin City (3Y),
Dundee United 1-1 Brechin City (5Y, 1Y/R).

League Cup

Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3-0 Brechin City (3Y).

Line ups last time out

Former Brechin City players

Euan Spark (2016-17)
Finn Graham (2012-16)

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Andy Ryan (2013)
Michael Paton (2008)

Last six meetings

Championship:

23/09/17. Brechin City 0-3 Dunfermline Athletic.
23/12/17. Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 Brechin City.

League One:

26/03/16. Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Brechin City.
20/02/16. Brechin City 1-2 Dunfermline Athletic.
05/12/15. Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Brechin City.
08/08/15. Brechin City 1-6 Dunfermline Athletic.

Challenge Cup:

03/09/16. Brechin City 1-5 Dunfermline Athletic.

Keys to the game

While each and every one of their four points have came in Angus, Brechin are slightly better scorers on the road (nine in 14 compared to 10 in 13). Yet, they are shrewder in terms of goals conceded at home; they have only conceded four or more once and held sides to just one goal in half the fixtures at Glebe Park. Patience will be key but Athletic could do with netting seeing as they failed to do so from open play in 427 minutes and counting. It is the longest league run since the 10 hours and eight minutes from October 6th to December 8th 2007. If that means putting more emphasis on attack and being more susceptible to conceding, so be it. They need anything to revitalise the strike force out a slump that has seen no centre forward score since the mid-season transfer window closed.

 

Prediction

Brechin City 1-3 Dunfermline Athletic

Odds

Brechin City: 8.00
Draw: 3.50
Dunfermline Athletic: 0.53

Best bet

Dunfermline Athletic (-1): 1.50

Table

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Other fixtures

Dundee United v Queen of the South


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.