Barry Smith expected at Bayview as Fife fortunes turn

East Fife have returned to winning ways.
East Fife have returned to winning ways.

“We’ve been playing better than the results suggest.”

“If we keep doing what we’re doing, results will turn."

“We’re in a false league position.”

Just a couple of the cliched soundbites that dress things up when a club is struggling to put any sort of winning run together and is praying things will start turning in their favour.

Any one of them could have, and probably has been, used by an East Fife player or coach in the past couple of months to sum up the club’s on-field fortunes.

The difference is, though, that, although they are cliches, there is more than a ring of truth in them when it comes to the Fifers.

Any newly promoted side can expect to struggle against clubs in a division higher, often outplayed and occasionally on the end of a sore thumping or two.

But there really hasn’t been any side in League One which has give the Methil club a going over.

All the more galling, then, that the club went into their Saturday tea-time game at Brechin in the division’s relegation zone.

Quite simply the side HAS been playing a lot better than that, but a combination of individual errors and bad luck has seen them slip.

Things were always going to change and when the side grinded out a 1-0 Scottish Cup win over Edinburgh City on Wednesday, there was a feeling that it was the catalyst to help the side turn the corner.

Saturday’s win over Brechin City gives that theory even more credibility.

City are one of the clubs aiming for promotion out of the division, but failed to lay a glove on a much more confident looking East Fife.

Dougie Anderson, taking his last game before joining up with Gary Naysmith at Queen of the South, handed Jordan Austin a start in attack.

It was a rare sighting of the forward and he repaid Anderson’s faith by putting in an outstanding shift.

There wasn’t a loose ball he didn’t chase, a header he didn’t content for or a clearance he didn’t charge down.

Anderson said after the game that the youngster has all the tools, it’s just up to him if he wants to use them.

Should Austin decide to down those tools, on this evidence, it really would be a pity.

East Fife scored the only goal of the game when Austin picked out Scott Robinson on the edge of the box.

The former Hearts midfielder, another of the side’s outstanding players, shifted his feet and sent his effort beyond Graeme Smith.

Finn Graham went close to equalising while Scott Mercer went close for the Fifers.

With Brechin pressing, their hopes of getting back into the game were given a boost when Robinson saw red for a second booking.

But the numbers were levelled when Elliot Ford also walked for a rash challenge on Kevin O’Hara.

Anderson paid credit to the club’s players and says the new man at the helm at Bayview, expected to be former Dundee boss Barry Smith, is inheriting a great group of players.

He said: “They are a group of players who all want to play for this club and their first half performance in particular was as good as we’ve had in a while.

“They’re a credit to themselves and handled the situation brilliantly.”