Boss hails stand-out Fifers

East Fife's players celebrate Sean Dickson's opener - and winner.
East Fife's players celebrate Sean Dickson's opener - and winner.

All of East Fife’s players will be keen to push their side into the League Two play-offs, but boss Gary Naysmith says nobody’s place is assured.

The Bayview manager told the Mail on Monday he had been impressed with his side at the weekend as they beat league leaders Albion Rovers 1-0.

East Fife were missing a few regulars on Saturday and had to reshuffle the defence and midfield.

However, the patched up side excelled and managed to get the win that keeps them in fourth spot.

Naysmith said: “I had planned to play Ross Brown at right back on Saturday but Lewis Barr picked up an injury at training on Thursday.

“That meant Ross went into midfield and I played at right back instead.

“What I got was the most energy I’ve seen from the six players in front of the defence for a long time.

“They were great going forward and at the same time didn’t let Darren Young and their guys in midfield create anything.

“The midfield is where we won the game.

“Before the game we told the lads that having the best 11 players on the park doesn’t mean you always have your best team on the park.

“We should have a couple back for Saturday but to be honest I can’t see how I can drop anybody who started against Albion Rovers.”

The boss admitted there had been a pressure attached to Saturday’s game with East Fife looking to maintain their place in the play-offs and Rovers looking to wrap up the league title.

But it was an occasion the players handled well.

“When you looked at the other fixtures there was a chance we could lose our top four place,” said the manager.

“But the players did really well and we started on the front foot.

“We won our battles all over the park and picked up all the second balls.

“It wasn’t a great game of football but we made them defend a lot and then got a deserved goal.

“After that I thought we were quite comfortable.

“They had a chance near the end that came off the post and another we cleared over the bar, but apart from that we limited them to few chances.

“We started with three strikers to limit their full backs getting forward and had another three in midfield because they have a lot of players in that area.

“It was a game plan that worked for us.

“They don’t always work, but it did on Saturday.”

With three games left and nine points to play for, the battle for fourth spot is almost a two horse race.

East Fife currently hold it, but Elgin are only two points behind.

Annan, who host the Fifers on Saturday, are now six points adrift.

“I was speaking to Sandy Clark (Albion assistant) on Saturday and we were saying how, apart from the top three teams who raced away earlier in the season, the league has been very, very close.

“If you’re not up for it and the other side is, you’ll get beat,” added the boss.

“In terms of the league, Elgin are the priority now and we know that if we win at Annan on Saturday then we continue to keep things in our own hands going into the last couple of games of the season.”

Stevie Campbell and Lewis Barr are both expected to be available again for the trip to Annan.