Dunfermline Athletic

Preview Stirling Albion

Thursday, 24th Jul 2008

Dunfermline would no doubt like to follow in the footsteps of the clubs from the three seasons before last - St Mirren, Falkirk and Inverness Caledonian Thistle in achieving the double.

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One of the consequences of Dunfermline's relegation from the SPL in 2007 was the re-entry to the League Challenge Cup. Last season wins over Clyde, Airdrie and Ayr United took the Pars to their first ever Challenge Cup Final. Unfortunately they were on the wrong end of a five goal thriller as St Johnstone lifted the trophy at Dens Park in November.

The Challenge Cup has, in some ways been a peculiar trophy in that since its inception as the Centenary Cup in season 1990-91, there have been twelve different winners. More often than not the winners have gone on to win the First Division although Gretna and St Johnstone were exceptions.

Dunfermline would no doubt like to follow in the footsteps of the clubs from the three seasons before last - St Mirren, Falkirk and Inverness Caledonian Thistle in achieving the double.

Given the tournament rates only fourth in most of the entrants priorities it is likely that Jim McIntyre will copy Stephen Kenny's selection criteria and use the match to exercise his squad members. Macca has already indicated that he will treat Saturday as a pre season match with his focus clearly on the next game - the league opener against Partick Thistle on 2nd August.

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Kevin Harper celebrates his 88th minute winner v Stirling in August last year

Stirling Albion are the visitors to kick off the new season in the first round of the Challenge Cup on Saturday, July 26 and Allan Moore was at East End Park on Tuesday night to witness Dunfermline trouble Dundee United.

It is the earliest ever start to a campaign and Albion have twice reached the semi-final stage but have suffered relegation last term and have crashed out in the first round in each of the last two seasons.

In 2006, Stirling were hammered 4-0 by Cowdenbeath at Central Park and 12 months on they suffered an embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Third Division Montrose, although they did reach the last eight in 2005. They last won at East End Park on 3rd April 1993.



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