Rivals braced for epic East End derby

1611020 SSFF binos raith 'John Baird squeezes a low header through to get all three points - Raith Rovers against Stirling Albion FC at Forthbank Stadium, Stirling
1611020 SSFF binos raith 'John Baird squeezes a low header through to get all three points - Raith Rovers against Stirling Albion FC at Forthbank Stadium, Stirling

PRIDE is put to one side this Saturday as local rivals go head to head for a far bigger prize – a place in the SPL.

While the First Division title cannot be decided at East End Park this Saturday, the team that wins the most important Fife derby in a generation will be in pole position with just two games to go.

The crunch match between league leaders Dunfermline and second-placed Raith Rovers has captured the imagination of the public and was heading towards a near 12,000 capacity sell-out at the time of going to print.

Rovers had sold out of their entire 3000 allocation by Tuesday with club officials claiming they could have sold hundreds more, while the Pars were down to their final 500 by yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.

Dunfermline lead their Kirkcaldy rivals by one point going into the powder-keg clash, but Raith manager John McGlynn is backing his players to handle the occasion.

Massive boost

“I do not see us being intimidated,” he said.

“We came back from 2-0 down there the last time and that was a massive boost to the whole club. That’s very much in our favour this Saturday.

“The away end will be full and our fans will make as much, if not more noise, than the Dunfermline fans.

“It’s a big occasion for Fife, and it’s great that two teams are fighting for promotion three games from the end of the season.

“It should be a magnificent game of football.”

The title run-in has got everyone at Stark’s Park, McGlynn included, dreaming about a possible place in the SPL next season.

“When we came to the football club we were second bottom of the Second Division and just playing in the same league as Dunfermline seemed a long way off,” he said.

“But to think there’s even a chance that we could be in the SPL next year going to Parkhead, and they’re going to Palmerston, is incredible.”

l – For the full Fife derby preview, pick up a copy of this week’s Fife Free Press