James McPake leads Dunfermline Athletic into a new league season hoping to replicate the success of last season, one in which they remained undefeated at home. Saturday’s visitors will be opponents that they know well since Airdrieonians were also promoted from League One, in their case through the play-offs. The sides met four times in that league programme and although Airdrieonians failed to register a win, the matches were close with three drawn and one game won by the Fifers having to come back from going 3-0 down early into the second half.
Based on their matches against each other last season James suggested that Airdrieonians were the best team they faced in the league season. He agreed that it will be an exciting game to kick off the Championship season:-
“They did well to come up with us. I think I said they the were the best team we’d played and I firmly believed that. They caused us a lot of bother but on the flip side we caused them a lot of bother as well. We should have won the game here.
“Both games here, I would say we should have won and then the games at Airdrie were really tight. Obviously, we went 3-0 down and won the game 4-3, and they would have been disappointed with that one.”
The second match at the Excelsior Stadium was eventful as, the week after securing the League One title, Dunfermline went down to nine men after red cards were shown to Kyle Benedictus and Kevin O’Hara. With the scoreline 1-1, the Fifers hung on to deny Rhys McCabe’s men as they bombarded their goal for the final thirty minutes. James always admires the leadership shown by Airdrie’s player-manager:-
“In the second game we went down to nine men and showed great character but all four games were good games of football for different reasons and he’s a good manager. I think he’s done a fantastic job and they’ll be coming up to this league desperate to win games of football, just like ourselves.”
Above: Flag Day – Saturday 6th August 2016
Saturday is ‘Flag Day’ when the League One title flag will be unfurled at KDM Group East End Park. The Pars boss has watched others celebrate such an opening day but is pleased to experience something new and while his players should enjoy the occasion he preferred to designate it a day for the loyal support demonstrated throughout last season:-
“I think that’s a day for the fans, it’s an important day for them. I’ve never been involved in that, although I’ve been involved in games when the opposition have been doing it, and that’s not a nice feeling.
“It’s different to trophy day or the day you win the league. It’s the start of a new season and this one is just for the fans, and the excitement is for them. There’ll be younger fans who haven’t seen it and there’ll be older fans who can remember back to when it has happened here before. For ourselves and the players, it’s a proud moment, but it’ll be out our heads completely.”