ROVERS RALLY ROUND RIVALS

Action from the last derby at Stark's Park
Action from the last derby at Stark's Park

THEY may be bitter rivals on the football field, but Raith Rovers have joined the fight to help Dunfermline Athletic survive.

Rovers welcome the cash-strapped Pars to Stark’s Park on Saturday for what could be the last ever Fife derby – unless the visitors can be pulled back from the brink of liquidation.

Dunfermline’s dire situation has prompted their Kirkcaldy neighbours to offer to donate the gate receipts from every away fan over the 2000 mark to the Dunfermline Athletic Steering Group led, by Jim Leishman.

It’s an offer that could see the visiting club net anything up to £12,000, depending on the turnout.

With the match pay at the gate, club chairman Turnbull Hutton hopes that the offer proves to be a win-win situation for both clubs.

“We had 1800 away fans at Stark’s Park for the last derby - and that was before the Pars meltdown really kicked in,” he said.

“I doubt if there would have been 1000 fans in the away end this Saturday, and given the apathy of our support after our defeat last week we were looking at a low crowd for a Fife derby.

“Hopefully this offer not only mobilises the Dunfermline fans, but gives our fans a challenge to turn out in big numbers and make themselves heard.

“We’re not doing this to be magnanimous towards mismanagement at Dunfermline, we’re trying to get a bigger crowd for our home game.

“We’ve had some fans saying we shouldn’t be donating any money towards Dunfermline, but in any other business it would be called good marketing.”

Meanwhile, league reconstruction took another twist this week when SFL chief executive David Longmuir put forward alternative proposals.

Instead of the preferred 12-12-18 on the table, he has suggested a 12-12-10-10 set-up with the two extra places created going to Rangers and Celtic colt teams,

With the SPL and SFL due to vote on league reconstruction in four weeks, Hutton slammed the timing of the new proposal, and branded the idea as “silly”.

“Who wants a league with colt teams in it?” he asked. “We’ve already got a colt team league.

“All the talk about Rangers and Celtic leaving Scottish football has been going on for the last decade and they are still here.

“This is all about Longmuir getting into bed with Rangers, and we will be rebelling against it.

“People need to get a grip and accept that the 12-12-18 proposal is the best deal that’s been around Scottish football for 20 years - sign up to it and move on.

“If we continue to try to cherry pick we’ll end up with nothing.”