Dowie is convinced Dunfermline are ready to bridge gulf from First Division

Dunfermline defender Andy Dowie admits he has found a huge difference between the Irn-Bru First Division and the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, but is convinced the Pars can meet the demands and ensure their top-flight survival.

Promoted Pars go into today’s meeting with Celtic, which heralds the second half of their campaign, bottom of the table and without a home win.

But they are only a point behind Hibernian with a game in hand and Dowie feels they can be competitive in the SPL if they rid themselves of the individual errors that have undermined many of their recent performances.

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Dowie had only ten minutes of SPL experience as a teenager with Rangers before Dunfermline were promoted and he admits the first half of the season has been a learning curve for Jim McIntyre’s side.

The 28-year-old said: “It’s a massive, massive difference. The First Division is a good league with some really good players, but the standard of the SPL is obviously much higher. The mistakes that you would make in the First Division, you would get away with, but you don’t get away with them in the SPL.

“Although you get slightly more time on the ball at the back to pass it, if one of those passes doesn’t hit its target, you can get punished for it.

“It has been a learning curve for a lot of the players and the manager. But we just need to keep at it and see what happens come the end of the season.”

Dowie was determined to do himself justice on his return to the SPL following spells with Partick, Stranraer and Ross County, and has been one of Dunfermline’s more impressive performers.

“You just need to try and make sure you’re fitter and stronger and try to concentrate,” the centre-back said. “You maybe think you are quite comfortable in a game, but in one second the whole game can change because the first goal is so important. We saw that against St Johnstone in our last game. We were quite comfortable until they scored and then the game totally changed.

“We had a right good pre-season and fitness certainly isn’t a problem. That’s not the reason we’re getting beat. It’s the mistakes we’re making. For the last few games, it has been individual mistakes that have been killing us.

“There have been games where we’ve maybe not got the point or the three points that we deserved.

“Hopefully, come the second part of the season, in the games where we are on top of our opponents, we will make sure we manage to hold on to three points and that will help with our survival.”

Dunfermline face a Celtic side that are on the back of nine successive SPL wins, including a 2-1 victory over the Pars at Parkhead.

Again, individual errors saw Dunfermline concede two early goals but they were pushing for an equaliser at the end.

“We can take confidence from that performance. We passed the ball about well,” Dowie added. “We made a couple of mistakes that Celtic took advantage of, but we certainly gave a good account of ourselves.”