Managers ready for Fife derby showdown

Dunfermline host Fife rivals Raith Rovers on Saturday
A sell-out crowd will watch the Fife derby at East End Park on Saturday

Raith Rovers boss John McGlynn thinks Saturday's trip to Dunfermline is the biggest match of his career.

Dunfermline top Division One by one point from their Fife rivals, with just three games of the campaign remaining.

"It would be a tremendous achievement to take Raith Rovers into the SPL," McGlynn told BBC Scotland.

"To pit your wits against the best - it would be an awesome situation when you think of where we've come from without any real money being thrown at it."

The 49-year-old former Hearts coach took over at Stark's Park in November 2006 when Rovers were second bottom of Division Two.

And his achievements this season have already won praise from Scotland boss Craig Levein, who said his old coaching colleague at Tynecastle would be his first choice for manager of the year.

"When I came to Raith Rovers, if we were told we'd play Celtic or Rangers in the cup, we'd be very excited," added McGlynn.

"Now to be in a situation where we could play Celtic and Rangers here twice and the likes of Hearts, Hibs, Dundee United and Aberdeen, it's a massive carrot to dangle in front of us.

"It's massive for this club to get to the SPL, both financially and from a professional point of view."

With 14 miles separating the towns of Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline, local rivalry is always fierce and East End Park will be bursting at the seams on Saturday.

"This is game 34 of 36 in the league campaign and the stakes are high," said McGlynn.

"This is not a title-decider but it will have a big bearing on where the title will go."

Rovers last won Division One in 1995 and were relegated again in 1997, while the Pars dropped out of the top flight in 2007.

The home side are a point to the good and enjoy a superior goal difference but Rovers have had the better of this term's head-to-heads, winning twice at Stark's Park and drawing 2-2 at East End Park in November.

"We're hoping to go there and win the game and Dunfermline will play that way because it's the only way they know," continued McGlynn.

Raith Rovers have beaten Dunfermline twice this season
Rovers have beaten rivals Dunfermline twice this season

"If we can win, it's advantage us. If it's a draw, it's not a disaster, with both teams having difficult games to play.

"Obviously, I would not like to go four points behind with two games to play, so we have 90 minutes to make sure that is not the case."

Following Saturday's derby, Dunfermline are away to Morton and home to Falkirk, while Rovers host Queen of the South and travel to Partick Thistle.

Dunfermline manager Jim McIntyre refused to be drawn on the prospect of leading his side back to the SPL but is looking forward to a sell-out game.

"Saturday's game will have a significant impact," he admitted. "There will be a big lift for the team that gets the victory but even if we do win there is still a lot of hard work to be done.

"The atmosphere is going to be fantastic. It will be like a cup final, both sets of players will be going at it hammer and tongs.

"We will have to have control and maturity about our performance but you also have to embrace it and enjoy the occasion.

"When you get to the business end of the season, the pressure is on but that's why we are in the game."

McGlynn is also anticipating a degree of nervousness from his players.

"Of course there will be tension, so we need to make sure we play the game and not get caught up in the occasion," he explained.

"Sometimes the atmosphere can spur you on but we have to make sure we are professional. We must stick to our game plan.

"We've got three games to get to the SPL and we'd have bitten off anybody's hand for that at the beginning of the season.

"I think we've got a great chance. Second is not going to be good enough for us now. We don't want a near miss or a moral victory, we want to do it."

Dunfermline Athletic v Raith Rovers (kick off 1500 BST) will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Scotland 810 MW.

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