Derby fever as Raith Rovers face Stevie Crawford’s Dunfermline in Scottish Cup

Former Raith striker Stevie Crawford returns to Stark's Park on Saturday as the new manager of Dunfermline.
Former Raith striker Stevie Crawford returns to Stark's Park on Saturday as the new manager of Dunfermline.

One of the most eagerly anticipated Fife derbies in years takes place at Stark’s Park this Saturday as Raith Rovers and Dunfermline Athletic go head-to-head in the Scottish Cup fourth round.

It is the first time since 1972 that the old rivals have met in the national competition, and on that occasion the Kirkcaldy side claimed a 2-0 home victory in front of a crowd of 7483.

Another sizeable turn-out is expected for this weekend’s tie, with brisk tickets sales suggesting an attendance in the region of 6000 is possible.

The match has an added edge due to the appointment of Rovers legend Stevie Crawford as Dunfermline’s new manager, following the recent sacking of Alan Johnston.

Crawford is revered at Stark’s Park as a member of the club’s most successful ever side, scoring in the Coca-Cola Cup final win over Celtic in 1994 as well as playing a major role in two First Division title wins and the UEFA Cup adventure.

There will be no room for sentiment, however, as both clubs will be desperate to claim the local bragging rights, as well as a potentially lucrative draw in the fifth round.

Raith manager John McGlynn is no stranger to the fixture, having led the team in several big derbies during his first spell at the club, including some memorable victories.

He hopes Saturday can be another day to remember.

“It’s very exciting,” he told the Press.

“It’s created a buzz at training this week in anticipation of the game.

“Tickets are going really well so there should be a terrific atmosphere which will help the players.

“I’m sure both teams will put on a good show. That’s what we want to do but also come out on the winning end.”

McGlynn’s fondest derby memory from his first stint came in August 2009, when goals from Grant Murray and Damian Casalinuovo sealed a 2-0 win at East End Park.

“For as long as you live you’ll remember Davie McGurn making that save down the far end,” McGlynn said. “It was up there with Gordon Banks save in Mexico 1970.

“As we know, from that save, we went up the park and scored. That was a memorable one, and we’ve had a few.

“It would be nice to come out on winning side again, and we’ll give it everything we’ve got.”

McGlynn believes that Raith can go into the game with confidence as he reckons there is little to separate the two sides, despite Dunfermline playing at a higher level in the Championship.

“I don’t think there will be an awful lot in it,” he said.

“We can take inspiration from Ayr United and Alloa who have went into that league and done well.

“We’re talking about the width of a post between that being ourselves in that league, and Ayr still being in this division.

“You see how well they’ve done over half a season, and that gives us hope and encouragement that we can do that in a one-off situation.”

Raith’s derby rivals in League One this season are East Fife, and after back-to-back defeats to the Methil men, McGlynn is hopeful a positive result on Saturday can give the fans a much-needed lift.

“It’s up to us to raise our game,” he said.

“We’re very much the team who are under pressure in this league, because we’re seen as the big club and the likes of East Fife can try to put a spanner in the works.

“If we can win this game, I think everyone will forget about the defeats to East Fife, because this is the big one.”