No pressure on the fifers

Luke Watt made an impressive debut for East Fife
Luke Watt made an impressive debut for East Fife

East Fife enter the last 16 of the Scottish Cup this weekend with absolutely no pressure on them to see off St Mirren at Bayview.

And that may play right into the side’s hands according to boss Barry Smith who insists it’s the visitors who’ll be expected to leave Bayview with a quarter final place in their back pockets.

Under usual circumstances the Fifers would rightly be considered overwhelming under dogs for Saturday’s meeting.

But as things stand Saturday’s game is being played in far from usual circumstances.

St Mirren, who have plied their trade over the past few seasons in the nation’s top tier and who won the League Cup in 2013, are in free fall in the Championship and staring at relegation in the face.

The Fifers are flying, and head into the game as the nation’s form team - undefeated in 11 games.

There’s little doubt the fixture will be flagged up as having cup shock potential ahead of kick off.

Boss Smith said: “For us, there’s no pressure.

“They’re in a division higher and are expected to beat us.

“The cup usually brings a bit of a release but they’re on a bad run at the moment so it might add to the pressure and they may not get that release from it.

“Our boys can go into it full of confidence because of the run of results they’re on.

“That confidence is showing in our game at the moment.”

And it certainly showed at the weekend as East Fife came roaring back from being two goals down at Queen’s Park to rescue a deserved draw.

Fife forward Kevin Smith said after the game that the level of confidence brought about by the current undefeated run gives the side that added boost to haul themselves back into games.

Boss Smith said he was delighted with what his players had given him again.

“They deserve credit for the character they showed to come from two goals down,” said the manager.

“It shows the spirit they have.

“I don’t think we deserved to be 2-0 down at the break but the players did well to get themselves back into the game and as the second half went on we could have won it.

“We changed things at half time and pushed Kevin Smith and Scott Robinson a bit higher up the park and pushed up the full backs.”

The manager handed a debut to right back Luke Watt, brought into the club on a loan deal from Motherwell.

Watt impressed, his delivery from the wing setting up Scott Robinson’s equaliser, as did fellow loanee James Penrice at left back.

“We’d worked during the week on getting the ball out to the wide areas,” said the manager.

“We felt that the system Queen’s Park play would allow us to get a bit of joy out wide and Luke Watt and James Penrice did exceptionally well for us there.”

Watt has signed on at Bayview, and another is set to do likewise.

Former Hamilton defender Ben Reilly has been on the bench for the Fifers for the past couple of games with Smith saying he expected to have him signed up before the weekend.

Watt may be available for Saturday with the club waiting for confirmation.