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Dunfermline have a very good set up in place with good youngsters coming through and if they can play the same way as they did last season and have a go at teams in the premiership they will do OK. There’s not too much difference from the top first division teams and teams in the bottom half of the premiership so they shouldn’t really have to change too much to compete with these teams. The manager has brought in some experienced players, i.e. Ian Ferguson and Barry Nicholson From Rangers, as well as PSV Eindhoven's 23-year-old Lithuanian international defender Andrius Skerla. If they have a go this season it could work out well for them.
Now this is another team that will be interesting to watch. The appointment of Jimmy Calderwood last Christmas left everyone asking “who?” but I can’t shake the feeling that Dunfermline may have struck gold here. Formerly coach of NEC Nijmegen in Holland, Calderwood brings with him a desire to play football on the ground. His belief in the values of pace, passing and movement may not seem that radical but having watched Dunfermline perfect the route one approach over the past few years it will be bizarre to see a team in Black and White attempt to play football the way God intended. Over 15 years in Holland appears to have created something of a culture shock for Calderwood when he returned to Scotland. Expecting the first division to be nothing more than a stroll he was disappointed at the lack of basic ability possessed by Scottish players. This has led to wholesale changes for the Pars with 11 new players having been signed since Calderwood’s arrival. With a manager having spent so long in the Netherlands it is only to be expected that the new Dunfermline team will have a strong Dutch flavour. Dutch Rob Mattai, Michel Doesburg have made the short journey from Motherwell and former Go Ahead Eagles keeper Marco Ruitenbeek has joined them. Ruitenbeek replaces Ian Westwater who has left for Hibernian – no matter how bad Ruitenbeek is that sounds like a good bit of business to me. It is a testament to Calderwood’s powers of persuasion that Lithuanian Andrius Skerla arrived from Nijmogen and Youseff Rossi, the Moroccan international, has left Rennes. Rennes to Dunfermline? Well each to their own I suppose. More understandable is Junior Mendes decision to leave the delights of Paisley. Like myself Mendes clearly thinks that Dunfermline are less likely to make a sharp return to the first division than his former club Saint Mirren. Obviously the priority for the Pars is survival – 11th place will be an achieveme
nt for them. I have no doubt that they will stay up – there are at least two teams in the SPL who are, in my opinion, worse than Dunfermline. I can’t shake the feeling that they will surprise people this year. No review of Dunfermline would be complete without a mention of the club captain – Ian Ferguson. It will be a delight to see the former Ranger's midfielder strut his stuff once more in the Premier League. Quality players throughout the SPL must be doing cartwheels over the possibility of facing this thug. If Calderwood really wants his team to play football he’ll need to get shot of this character pronto. Player to watch: Steve Crawford. His last attempt at SPL football with Hibs left him looking out of his depth – can he do better this time? Prediction: 10th.
Nicknamed the Pars, Dunfermline Athletic have recently been promoted back to Scotland's Premier League after one year in the wilderness of the Scottish First Division. Their time in the lower reaches, battling out matches against the cavemen from Falkirk, was a tough one, and their status as favourites for promotion was a bit of a millstone round their neck. They eventually finished second to a inconsistent and fortunate St. Mirren (sour grapes ? never), but promotion was automatic due to Falkirk's inability to find seats for the 5 fans. Still, the coming season has the fans full of expectation and with a visit of Arsenal to East End Park in August to come, the signings of Viera, Petit, Henry and co are all but inevitable.