DUNFERMLINE v HIBS - Match Preview

Last updated : 30 September 2004 By Pars Mad
Brewster shows his delight after signing for Hibs
On the back of the proverbial 'humping' from Martin O'Neill's Celtic side last Saturday, the Pars face a tough task against an ever-improving young Hibs side at East End Park this week.

With Davie Hay's men aiming to get their league campaign back on track, the fixture list could have been somewhat kinder -the Pars facing a Hibs side with three away wins in four. With an impressive collection of youngsters - including top scorer Derek Riordan - new boss Tony Mowbray has made an equally impressive start to his managerial career.

With the Pars overall record against the Leith side not providing too much cause for optimism - the Pars winning 22 and losing 39 from a total of 93 encounters - the Pars East End Park record against Hibs appears far more favourable, the Pars winning a total of 16 times in 47 matches, losing just 12.
The Pars more recent record against Hibs offers further cause for optimism for Davie Hay's side. With Tony Mowbray's side not having beaten the Pars in ten attempts, Hibs fans would have to look even further back for the last time the Hibees took full points from East End Park, a certain Cowdenbeath manager, Keith Wright, scoring the winner in a 2-1 win for the visitors back in November 1991.

The Pars recent good record against the Edinburgh side is perhaps illustrated by last season's encounters between the sides - the Pars enjoying a fairly decent record.

The first match between the two sides last season, played on the 20th of September, also represented another first in the sense that it was the first ever match to be played on the infamous 'Plastic Pitch'. A fairly dull match - played out in front of an unusually large crowd of just over eight thousand - followed, with neither team truly looking like winning the three points - the match ending 0-0. All was not lost for Pars fans however, with celebrity pitch endorsers - Ian Rush, Karl-Heinz Riedle and Jean-Pierre Papin - making an appearance, aswell as the odd balloon being let free - although, having said that, Bobby Williamson did manage to find his way back to the dugout before the match had kicked off.

The second contest of the season between the teams, played on the 21st of December, came as somewhat of an early Christmas present for Pars fans who had, only one week before, witnessed their team chieve a historic victory over the blue half of Glasgow at East End Park. Christmas cheer was all around for the Pars fans after a Craig Brewster double ensured a 2-1 Pars victory.
The match - played in what must have been the coldest ever conditions known to man - got off to the best possible start for Pars fans and players alike, with Brewster getting on the end of a first minute corner to give the Pars an early lead. The striker added a tremendous second soon after, firing a 30-yard left-footed drive past Hibs keeper Daniel Andersson. Despite a late Derek Riordan consolation the Pars managed to hang on for the three points, sending their small, freezing support home happy.

The last match between the sides last season saw the Pars slap-bang in the middle of a gruelling April schedule, one which would see the Pars play five games in ten days. After going behind to an early Derek Riordan goal, the Pars eventually grabbed ashare of the points thanks to a late Gary Dempsey equaliser. In a fairly heated encounter - one which saw the sending off of Hibs youngster Kevin Thompson after an off-the-ball clash with Derek Young - the Pars, once again, spurned a number of good opportunities in front of a typically low East End crowd of just over five thousand.

Not for the first time this season, the Pars go into the encounter with one or two injury worries to contend with. With Noel Hunt and Gary Mason both picking up injuries in last week's Celtic Park encounter, both are very doubtful for this Saturday's game. With Ricthie Byrne likely to miss out - despite returning to training this week - the Pars will down to the bare minimums on the left-flank, meaning Thomas Butler could be set to start his first league match for the Pars.

With the Pars sitting only two points above bottom club Inverness Caley, Davie Hay's men desperately require a win this weekend. With a crucial run of - what some would desrcibe as - 'winnable games' coming up, the Pars need points sooner rather than later - three points this Saturday would be a good start!