East Fife boss delighted with youngsters

Darren Young heaped praise on his young players after they stepped in to see off Peterhead on Saturday.

By Scott Inglis
Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 12:00 am
Jude Smith and Aaron Steele combine to keep out Russell McLean. Pic by Duncan Brown
Jude Smith and Aaron Steele combine to keep out Russell McLean. Pic by Duncan Brown

The East Fife boss rotated his squad for the cup tie, bringing into the starting XI teenagers Liam Newton, Aaron Steele and Jude Smith.

Andrew Osei-Bonsu and Daniel Higgins, just a couple of years older, were also handed starts.

And the youngsters refused to allow the standards set seven days previous, when the Fifers beat Peterhead 3-0 in the league, to drop, ensuring a deserved 1-0 victory to advance in the Challenge Cup.

Young said: “We gave a couple of the young guys some game time and they came in and took their chance.

"It was brilliant.

"The only frustrating part was that we maybe didn’t take a few more of our gilt edge opportunities, but the way we started the game and opened them up with the one-twos was great.

"Young Jude Smith in goals was brilliant, making two good saves but, apart from that, coming for cross balls and taking the pressure off the defence.

"He was outstanding, as were Aaron Steele and Danny Higgins as well, going in there against big Russell McLean and Derek Lyle.

"Andrew is maybe a bit behind on fitness but he's showing what he can bring.

“Collectively it was tremendous.”

The win over Peterhead has set-up a Fife derby tie at Stark’s Park against Raith Rovers on October 9.

There’s plenty of football to be played between now and then, though, and East Fife will first focus on their return to League One this weekend.

They make the trip to Dumbarton to face a Sons side which sits three points ahead of Young’s men.

The game is a chance for the Fifers to haul themselves back into the pack chasing a place inside the top four.

"Dumbarton are a team who have recruited well and have a manager who has done very well at this level,” said Young.

"He knows these leagues inside out, the same as the players he’s brought in.

"I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a hard game.

"There are usually lots of goals between us so hopefully, again, we’ll go there and take our chances when we create them.”

Chris Higgins, Danny Swanson and Ross Davidson are likely to miss out.