Meek Dunfermline jeered by own fans as they prepare for relegation play-offs as Ayr escape

Dunfermline Athletic will be involved in the play-offs for the second successive season in the cinch Championship – only this time it is at the wrong end of the table.

Aaron Muirhead converts an early penalty to put Ayr United ahead against Partick Thistle.
Aaron Muirhead converts an early penalty to put Ayr United ahead against Partick Thistle.

They go into those matches on a downbeat note, losing 2-1 at home to already relegated Queen of the South. The Pars are in grave danger of joining them in League One, booed off by their 5000-strong fans. This performance is clearly of concern.

In truth, any hope Dunfermline had of escaping ninth place was ended very early into the evening as Ayr United chalked up an early two-goal lead against Partick Thistle to make sure they finished a point better off in eighth place. Lee Bullen’s men eventually won 3-1.

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John Hughes’ men will now have to successfully navigate a pair of two-legged play-off matches, starting with Queen’s Park next week. They travel to Firhill on Wednesday before welcoming the Spiders back to Fife three days later. A do-or-die battle with either Airdrieonians or Montrose awaits the victors.

Defeat is not an option for the Pars, who have got caught in a web of poor performances. Under Stevie Crawford, they finished fourth last term and had a shot at promotion. Axing Peter Grant was the right call back in the winter but John Hughes has not been able to bring much sunshine to Dunfermline. They have never looked properly equipped to fight relegation.

Elsewhere on closing night, champions Kilmarnock drew 1-1 with Raith Rovers, Inverness routed Hamilton 4-0 and Arbroath beat Morton 3-0. Next up for Caley is the promotion play-off quarter-final next week against Partick, with the winners facing Arbroath in the semis.