Dunfermline looking for first Ibrox win in 34 years!Author: Jason Barber Date: Friday, 10th Nov 2006
Whilst the media spotlight will be on Rangers at home to lower league opposition in the cup for the first time in their history, PLG (Please leave Govan...) will be looking to potentially save his reputation, and his stock, but getting his team to beat Dunfermline on Saturday afternoon.
Craig Robertson will be in charge for the third, and potentially last, time as all reports seem to have Stephen Kenny in place as the new permanent Pars boss. At the time of writing however, the club have yet to confirm that an offer has been made and accepted by the Irishman.
On the back of the abysmal 3-0 defeat at home to Falkirk last week, it would be a brave man to bet on Dunfermline at odds of 11/1 this Saturday, despite Rangers’ relatively poor form themselves. Having dropped home points to Dundee United and St. Mirren already, a 1-0 defeat to Inverness Caledonian Thistle started a poor run which saw them also lose at Tannadice and that cup tie at home to St Johnstone in the past few days.
For all their problems, Dunfermline must surely be their opposition of choice given that The Pars have still to break that run of having not won in Govan since 1972. Jim Leishman is rightly proud of the fact he “rounded” John Grieg before chipping Peter McLoy from X number of yards (depending on the occasion!) However, that record is long overdue to be broken, though it has rarely been threatened.
As per usual this season, Dunfermline don’t have their injury problems to seek. Along with the long term injury list of Noel Whelan, Scott Thomson, Jim McIntyre and Jamie McCunnie, Dorus De Vries and Scott Wilson are still likely to be missing on Saturday afternoon. Thankfully Phil McGuire and Stevie Crawford made a return to action in the second half last week, but Mark Burchill, Andy Tod and Darren Young have apparently joined the walking wounded in time for this game.
McGuire and Wilson have clearly been missed in recent games, when a once reliable defence has started shipping goals left right and centre (if you’ll pardon the pun…..) Wilson and McGuire added a far more assured look to the backline earlier in the season when Dunfermline rarely leaked goals. In their absence, a distinct lack of confidence seems to be running through the back four which needs to be resolved urgently.
Meanwhile, the ongoing lack of drive from the midfield is still the main concern for any watching supporter, with Mason and Young still failing to live up to past achievements/performances.
The wide men either side of them are chopping and changing on an almost weekly basis. Freddie Daquin appears to be most productive when coming off the bench on the hour mark, whilst Scott Muirhead continues to be an enigma.... To be fair to Owen Morrison, he has shown glimpses of entertainment value which has been long since missing in the side. His equiliser in August will no doubt get him the usual round of "boos" reserved for players who have the audacity to come from the Emerald Isle.
The return of Stevie Crawford would be a huge boost to the team lacking in any form of guile or goal threat for weeks now. Mark Burchill has now had a few games under his belt, before his latest injury scare. If Burchill can make the starting line up, given an opportunity alongside Crawford he may finally break his duck for this season. The main concern with this rather simplistic plan, of course, continues to be the woeful service provided by that midfield. Given even scraps to work from, the likes of Crawford and Burchill would be capable of taking the team onwards and upwards, they are rarely given even that unfortunately.
A new manager will no doubt see that the midfield needs a major rocket up its collective backside if this team is to fulfil the “potential” that it seems to have awarded itself. Until then, they will have to be content with trying to pull the side off the bottom of the table through hard work and grinding out results all of a sudden. Ibrox on Saturday may be the bogey ground above all others, but if this team of players have any delusions of grandeur still remaining within the dressing room, then they have ample opportunity to follow in the footsteps of such alumini as Inverness and St. Johnstone on Saturday.
COME ON YE PARS!