Pars welcome Hibs in first of double headerAuthor: Jason Barber Date: Wednesday, 4th Apr 2007
Having lost 2-0 to Motherwell last weekend, Dunfermline have only this one pre split fixture left at home to sixth place Hibs, we take a look ahead to the match:
The gap between ourselves and St. Mirren extended to seven points on Wednesday night, when St. Mirren played their game in hand, against Hibs ironically enough, and no doubt Dunfermline were well represented at the match on two fronts. The opportunity to scout the opponents for Saturday will perhaps be outweighed with wanting them to have beated St. Mirren on the night!
Hibs seem to have suffered an anti climax following on from winning the League Cup in rampant fashion against Kilmarnock a couple of weeks ago. Their 5-1 win saw them win a major trophy since they beat Dunfermline in the 1991 final, which was a tremendously anti climactic afternoon at Hampden!
Hibs came back down to earth with a horrible bump however, losing 1-0 at home to bitter rivals Hearts last weekend and dropping three vital points in their race for third or even fourth place in the SPL table. With Aberdeen having put together a good run of form, both Edinburgh sides now trail The Dons in the race for third spot and the guaranteed UEFA cup spot that goes with it.
Dropping further points at St. Mirren on Wednesday did Hibs, and more selfishly Dunfermline, no favours either. Hibs now find themselves a huge thirteen points behind Aberdeen now and even seven points behind Hearts. Kilmarnock also overtook them into fifth spot after their midweek win at Motherwell.
St. Mirren will no doubt have been delighted with their last minute equiliser, from John Sutton, on Wednesday night. Whilst they have still not won a game in 2007, draws here and there are all they need whilst Dunfermline continually fail to capitalise on their poor form.
Whilst The Pars won in Inverness recently, that was the first (and only) three points won since the 18th November win over Dundee United. Such a run highlights precisely why Dunfermline remain rooted to the bottom of the table.....
Our games against Hibs this season don`t exactly give an abundance of hope going into Saturdays match, however Dunfermline are still more than capable of beating them given the right performance.
The sides first met in October, in a Monday night live on Setanta clash. Mark Proctor was the caretaker manager for Hibs on the night, following Tony Mowbray`s move to West Bromwich Albion. A crowd of 6,057 watched the match which soon became a second half nightmare for Dunfermline as Hibs ran out easy 4-0 winners.
Jim Leishman stepped down from his position the following day and his second spell in charge of the club ended on a very low point. It was Dunfermline`s third defeat on the trot and one which left them sitting just ahead of Dundee United who were bottom of the league at that time.
The busy Festive season saw the teams meet in the return game at Easter Road. 0-0 at half time saw Dunfermline look like they might rescue something from a rather disatrous Christmas spell of matches, however Hibs` top scorer Chris Killen grabbed a second half double to win the game 2-0.
Killen is obviously missing this weekend as the injury he suffered earlier in the Scottish Cup run against Aberdeen has ruled him out for the season. He remains the top scorer at Easter Road however, and Hibs have shown on occasions that they are still capable of finding the net often enough without the New Zealander`s services.
Whilst some may take the doom and gloom outlook that Dunfermline are "already down" that is clearly not the case. With six matches to go, Dunfermline need to overhaul that seven point deficit and it has to start on Saturday.
Hibs are no doubt a very capable side on their day, but they are also prone to underachieving on occasions and Dunfermline must look to extending the Hibernian post cup final hangover for at least one more week (though preferably two!)
With both managers having selection problems, Stephen Kenny rather moreso, on Saturday the match may not be the pre cup semi final rehearsal that some may deem it to be.