Home opener a tough test

Gareth Wardlaw, in red, in action for East Fife at Alloa (picture by Kenny Mackay)

Gareth Wardlaw, in red, in action for East Fife at Alloa (picture by Kenny Mackay)

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EAST Fife welcome Queen of the South to Bayview on Saturday and boss Gordon Durie reckons the fixture will be among the season’s toughest.

Speaking to the Mail on Monday, he said Queens’ full-time status will stand them in good stead as the season goes on, and that he expects them to be challenging for the title come May.

The manager also reflected on a massive week for the club after the Fifers clashed with Rangers in the first round of the League Cup.

Speaking about the Ibrox visit, Durie said: “It was a great occasion for us but I was still a bit disappointed with the goals we lost.

“They were a bit sloppy from our point of view and I told the players that, against quality sides like that, you’ll get punished.

“But it was a good experience overall for the players because of the atmosphere and occasion and they’ll have learned from it.”

The Fifers got their Division Two campaign off and running with a visit to Alloa.

The sides couldn’t be separated and East Fife returned to Methil with a single point.

“I think a draw was a fair result overall,” said Durie.

“I wasn’t too happy with the way we played and, again, the goal we gave away was sloppy.

“It came from a set-piece and we’d told the players about their set-pieces before the game.

“I don’t think we played as well as I know we can but I suppose, at this stage of the season, it’s good to just get the point on the board.”

This weekend, Allan Johnston brings Queens north with the recently-relegated side favourites to bounce back up as champions.

The manager says he’s preparing for a tough 90 minutes.

He said: “We’ve had them watched already.

“They’re staying full-time this season and, in this league, you’ve seen before how well sides who are full-time usually do.

“I expect it to be one of the more difficult games for us but it’s our first home game of the season so I’m hoping it will be a good occasion for our players as well.”

Former Arbroath defender Craig Wedderburn was pitched in to the Alloa fixture and is currently trying to prove his fitness to Durie.

Another who is still at the club and trying to win a deal is former Rangers defender Bob Malcolm who, like Wedderburn, is short of fitness.