Dunfermline v Alloa: Pars plot great escape

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First team coach Neil McCann insists Dunfermline’s bid to turn the play-off final around has been bolstered by suggestions that they have already been relegated.

The former Rangers and Hearts winger believes Alloa are still showing them the respect they deserve but reckons the rest of Scottish football has not given them a hope of overturning Wednesday’s 3-0 first leg defeat. The administration-hit Fifers rallied in the semi-final to come back from a 3-1 opening loss to Forfar to set up a First Division decider against the Wasps.

Dunfermline have had to rely on youngsters since being forced to axe seven first team players and McCann insists Jim Jefferies’ side are desperate to prove people wrong tomorrow.

He said: “It was a monumental effort against Forfar last week when a lot of people had us down. I think Forfar had us beat because they came and had a go. I fully expect Alloa to come and try to contain us. I thought they worked very hard behind the ball on Wednesday and I feel they will do the same although they’ll still feel they have a threat going forward. If we have the backing of a massive crowd again then it will help.

“It’s definitely a motivation that everyone seems to have us down already, it’s the that old thing when you’re told you’re beat. I believe we have a dressing room full of winners and the first thing you want to do is prove people wrong. That’s the message coming from the management staff and I can see the hunger in them, and the desire. They showed it last Saturday and I expect them to show it again on Sunday.

“We’ve got a brilliant opportunity and the gaffer has said to them that they have the chance to become heroes and I still believe that they can. Everybody has got us beaten already but we don’t believe that and it’s up to them to prove that.”

Alloa manager Paul Hartley wants his players to show the same focus and resilience that he was well known for in his playing days when they travel to East End Park tomorrow.

Hartley explained: “It is now a case of showing great focus and incredible concentration levels to complete the job. Football can turn against you very quickly but we will do okay if everyone does their job properly. I would have enjoyed a challenge like this as a player and hopefully my players will enjoy it as well.”

The Wasps stand on the brink of back-to-back promotions and the former Scotland international said: “We won 3-0 in the first meeting by playing really well particularly in the second half. We have given ourselves a good chance but we have not achieved anything yet. We are the underdogs in this final and to be honest I would have settled going to Dunfermline with the score even. To go in three ahead is terrific but it is only half-time.”