BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Dunfermline have signed former St Mirren stopper Marc McAusland after their defensive crisis deepened.
The Pars have snapped up the 27-year-old for the remainder of the season after seeing skipper Callum Fordyce and full-back Ryan Williamson ruled out long-term, and Shaun Rooney and Jason Talbot succumb to injury.
Rooney was signed earlier this month to help ease the Pars’ rearguard worries but limped out of last weekend’s 5-0 win over Stenhousemuir and missed Tuesday’s League Cup defeat to Dundee United.
He and Talbot, who is struggling with a hamstring injury, are both doubts for tomorrow’s meeting with Airdrie, whilst Fordyce and Williamson are likely to be sidelined for some weeks with broken legs.
McAusland has been without a club since leaving hometown team St Mirren by mutual consent in April at the end of his second spell with the Paisley club.
The former Scotland under-21 cap, who played nearly 200 times for the Buddies, had been keen on playing abroad but returned his sights to Scottish football after failing to find a suitable move.
Manager Allan Johnston said: “I’m delighted to bring in someone of Marc’s quality. He’s played most of his career in the Premiership and he’s of a good age that will bring a bit of experience to the squad.
“When you lose two very important players like Callum and Ryan, they’re obviously going to be a big miss.
“Then Shaun Rooney picks up an injury and Jason Talbot picks up an injury.
“If you look at the game on Tuesday night, we ended up with Rhys McCabe at left-back, so that shows you how short of defenders we were.”
The Pars return to action when they host Airdrie tomorrow seeking to continue the form that has seen them net 26 times in seven League One matches so far this season.
And Johnston admits the Fifers will have to ensure they lift themselves for the bread and butter of the league after a gruelling 3-1 extra-time loss at Tannadice.
He added: “Tuesday took a lot of out of their legs, obviously, but they’ve had a couple of days to recover and I’m sure come Saturday they’ll be back to normal again and raring to go.
“When you come back from big games, it’s always hard, especially with the atmosphere and then it’s not the same on league business.
“But it’s a massive game for us and we’ve got to make sure we’re 100 per cent focused, we can’t afford to be playing at 90 per cent.”