Derby promises to be tastyMonday, 1st Jan 2018
Pars keeper Sean Murdoch claims Falkirk "is the fixture that we are always looking out for and they have been feisty this season."
Sean Murdoch is anticipating another tasty derby when Dunfermline host Falkirk on Tuesday. The goalkeeper told the media:-
"These are always good games, good crowd, good atmosphere and form goes out the window in these games. It is the fixture that we are always looking out for and they have been feisty this season.
"There have been sendings off and Falkirk, with respect, have not been doing as well as they probably should be this season. Our form has not been great as well so hopefully we can take the three points and kick on."
The Pars won 3-1 at East End Park in August but drew 1-1 at The Falkirk Stadium at the beginning of November. That was a match which Dunfermline finished with just nine men after red cards were shown to Kallum Higginbotham and Declan McManus. Sean felt that there had to be a fine balance between being up for it and staying within the laws of the game.
"You don`t want any men sent off. You want to keep a cool head but it is different when you are in the game and someone is either winding you up or having a bad tackle. Obviously Dean Shiels situation was a little bit different but the other guys have to stay cool because we need everyone on the park for what is going to be a tough game."
Manager Allan Johnston knows that being a derby you want to beat Falkirk but he too will be stressing the importance of keeping eleven players on the park:-
"Everyone wants to see a competitive game but obviously you need to remain calm in these situations. We have all played in derbies before and should be able to handle that. There is nothing better as a player, playing in a good atmosphere where you are getting a bit of stick from the crowd and it`s back and forward."
With five men sent off in the three matches between the sides this season the competitive reputation of the fixture Sean Murdoch identified as an attraction for neutrals.
"I have had people contacting me through social media saying that they need to get to a Falkirk Dunfermline game. On paper they seem great and they are good games to be involved in. It means so much to the fans, it means just as much to our fans as it does to Celtic and Rangers ones. Okay smaller scale but it means just as much."
Sean felt that the history from the Irn Bru Cup tie in October created a greater desire to win the return on league business at the start of November:-
"We are all teammates and friends with Dean so we wanted to definitely get one over them. We got the two men sent off, I`m not saying that influenced it but what happened to Dean does play on your mind. It was pretty poor on Falkirk`s behalf but it is done and dusted now.
"Dean is a senior pro and has had a fantastic career but we just need to focus on the game now. We need all eleven men on the park, we don`t want wound up by what happened in the past."
Three points would be very important for both sides. Falkirk are in the play off place at the wrong end. Even with the three points from their first home league win of the season on Saturday, they still lie five points behind Dumbarton, albeit with a game in hand on the Sons. Sean claimed that the three points were equally important for Dunfermline:-
"We want to stay with the pack because we want to be promoted. Three or four wins on the bounce could take us back up there with Dundee United and St Mirren. We need to try and keep winning."
The Pars keeper claimed that the encouragement from the fans should not be underestimated in this derby:-
"Falkirk fans are noisy and make it lively. Our fans do as well and that makes these good games to play in. I know that it means so much to fans, there are bragging rights at stake."