Dunfermline Athletic

Top v Bottom on Sunday as Pars welcome Celtic!

Author: Jason Barber Date: Friday, 8th Dec 2006

Runaway league leaders Celtic face a Pars side rock bottom of the SPL table, and apparently rock bottom on confidence after the capitulation against Kilmarnock last Saturday afternoon.

Whilst Stephen Kenny has been given the task of shaking up the playing squad into something reminiscent of a football team capable of competing in the top flight, his injury ravaged charges have falled adrift at the bottom of the table.

Last weeks embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Kilmarnock was the latest result which has seen the defence go from a tight unit, which rarely conceded goals, at the start of the season, to one that now cannot seem to stem the tidal waves of attacks that opposition sides throw at them.

Kenny`s task is made all the more difficult by that age old problem of the injury list which blighted Jim Leishman`s time in charge of the side. With no first team players back in time to face Celtic, a similar side to that which lost heavily to both Killie and Aberdeen is likely to feature. Sol Bamba is however suspended obviously after his red card last week!

However, it`s not all doom and gloom!

Last season`s top scorer, Mark Burchill, returned to training this week. Whilst Burchill has yet to open his account this season, it seems some people are quick to forget just how big and vital a role his goals provided for the club last season in almost single handedly keeping DAFC in the top flight.

Owen Morrison at Parkhead in September

Another key man whose absence has been glaring is Phil McGuire. The defender/midfielder was an absolute stand out during the first part of the season, but has been badly missed by that oh so leaky defence ever since.

Burchill and McGuire were joined in a light training session by testimonial man Andy Tod this week. Tod had a great performance in the 1-1 draw away to Hearts a few weeks ago, but has only featured in the 3-0 home defeat to Falkirk since. With the squad so low on numbers, and indeed options, Toddy`s return gives experienced back up at a time when it is badly needed.

This game comes too quickly for Toddy`s return

This Sundays game is likely to come too quickly into the recovery process for the recovering trio, however they are in line for a return in the vital away trip to St. Mirren next weekend.

Scott Thomson also reported this week that a final "clean up" operation on his troublesome ankle was taking place, and he hopes to be back in full training within the next month.

With the visit of Celtic on Sunday afternoon, Dunfermline have a great opportunity to try and restore some confidence and support going into the crucial spell of matches over the Christmas and New Year period.

Sundays game kicks off at 2pm, due to the live Setanta coverage, and it is one of four home matches in the next six fixtures ending up with the visit of Hearts on the 2nd of January.

Made the mistake of equilising back in February.........

The kick off time may seem slightly alien to most regular attendees, and the prices may seem even more out of this world. For a match that is being shown live on the box, ticket prices are as follows:

Adults: £24 main stand, £23 other stands.
OAP/Under 16s: £16 all stands
Under 12s: £11 all stands.

Whilst the game in Scotland continues to have committees and meetings to discuss the sports future, is the complete lack of common sense completely taking over?

This fixture has NOT ONCE sold out since East End Park became an "all seater stadium" back in 1998. Whilst the match is deemed all ticket by outside forces, the pricing structure must surely be looked at when the gaping areas of plastic red seats are stared at come kick off time on Sunday?

This is of course also forgetting that it is three weeks before Christmas for those on a family budget!

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