Smith’s men are flying

East Fife's players mob Nicki Paterson after his winner.
East Fife's players mob Nicki Paterson after his winner.

Stranraer will arrive at Bayview on Saturday with a potential new manager bounce, but that good feeling pales when compared to the Fifers.

The Methil men are on a superb run at the moment, a weekend Scottish Cup win over Livingston making it nine in a row without defeat.

It’s clearly a squad packed with confidence, a confidence which acted as a leveller when visiting the home of the run-away league leaders on Saturday.

But form, and the confidence which come with it, can only get you so far, the truth is the Fifers have earned the plaudits which have came their way by sheer hard work.

After hitting second bottom towards the end of November, the players have rolled their sleeves up and turned their season around.

Saturday’s visitors, currently sitting bottom of the league, will be looking to do the same as new manager Stephen Farrell steps into the dug-out for the first time.

However they do respond, the Blues will be have to be at their very best if they’re going to give the new manager a debut win.

Bayview boss Barry Smith said: “It can go either way when a new manager comes in with players maybe going out to impress him.

“It also really depends on how well he can get his ideas across to his players this week.

“Stranraer may be bottom of the league but they do have some experience in their ranks.

“But if our guys play like they have been playing then we can be confident.”

Saturday’s 1-0 Scottish Cup win was an impressive one, and set up a last 16 clash with Jack Ross’s St Mirren.

The Buddies currently prop up the Championship, while Smith’s Fifers are the form side one division below.

A few will look at the fixture as having the potential for an upset.

Smith concedes St Mirren, who beat Dundee 2-0 at Dens Park to advance, will go into the match as favourites.

“It’s a home tie for us which is good,” said the manager.

“We’ll be underdogs for it because they’re a division higher than us.

“The pressure will be on St Mirren but they’re a good side, you only have to look at their result in the last round to see that.”

The manager was delighted to welcome Kevin Smith back to the starting line-up on Saturday while Chris Duggan was also given some more time on the park.

In goal Ryan Goodfellow was handed the number 1 jersey.

On-loan ‘keeper Mark Hurst will come back into contention this weekend, and the manager will have a tough decision to make as to who he hands the gloves to.

Smith said: “It’s one of the decisions at the club which is difficult to make and not something we take lightly.

“But it’s a good problem for me to have because I know that whoever I pick to play in goal is more than capable.”

The manager says he’s still actively looking to bring in fresh faces to the club, but only if the right fit comes along.

“The board have been good and we have some extra money,” said the boss.

“You can see we’re short on numbers.

“But it has to be the right player for us.”