Commitment to youth starting to bear fruit

Steven Campbell rises above Lee Sibanda to flash a header towards goal.
Steven Campbell rises above Lee Sibanda to flash a header towards goal.

East Fife’s first team is beginning to see the benefit of the club’s commitment to full-time youth development at Bayview.

That’s according to manager Willie Aitchison whose side faced Arbroath on Saturday with a host of youngsters filling the starting XI and the bench.

East Fife returned to Methil with just a point following a 2-2 draw.

Bayview boss Aitchison says the time he’s able to spend with the club’s younger players is having an impact.

“The beauty of working with these young players full time, rather than four or five hours a week, is you get to know them a lot better,” he said.

“Lewis Barr came on and made his debut on Saturday at a crucial time in the game. He did well and I knew I could trust him.

“You’ve seen with managers like Alex Ferguson that he’d give young players a chance in the first team to test them, and that’s what we want to do as well .

“It’s important we give them an opportunity.”

Saturday’s game saw the Fifers pegged back from being 2-1 up by a penalty given for a foul on Bobby Linn by Scott McBride.

Having watched the video back, the Bayview boss says he’s aggrieved with the decision as Linn appears to be outside the box when the foul is committed.

This weekend Stranraer visit Bayview.

“I’ve said before that, with the exception of Rangers, anybody can beat anybody in this league,” said the boss.

“Stranraer beat us down there and then went on a wee run so we won’t be taking them lightly.”

Missing from the line-up will be Scott McBride and Gary Thom who will serve automatic suspensions.

Paul Willis is injured and will also miss out but skipper Craig Johnstone will return to the side.