BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Allan Johnston has insisted winning the Petrofac Training Cup with Dunfermline would mean the world to him – because he thinks the same about a five-a-side kick-about.
The former Hearts, Rangers and Kilmarnock winger has already lifted the trophy, when he was manager of Queen of the South in 2013, and would love to triumph again.
The Pars face a tough task in tomorrow’s quarter-finals after being drawn to face Championship side St Mirren away from home.
However, Johnston believes his side can take belief from their exploits this term in League Cup, in which they defeated Dundee and only lost to Dundee United after extra-time.
He said: “Hopefully we can go and enjoy it. It’s another step towards the final, and that’s where we want to be.
“A lot of people maybe sometimes write off this competition, but I want to win every competition I’m in – whether it’s a five-a-side game or a Petrofac Cup game or whatever.
“So, we’re desperate to go out there and get the win.
“Look at the way the boys have performed against Premiership opposition. We beat Dundee with a lot of hard work and even against Dundee United we had chances to win the game in the 90 minutes.
“We can take a lot of positives from that, but that means nothing come Saturday if we don’t go and put on a performance.”
The Pars looked unstoppable at the start of the season when they averaged five goals in their first five wins.
However, a defeat to Ayr United and a draw with Airdrie, as well as that brave extra-time loss to United at Tannadice, have broken their momentum in recent weeks.
Nonetheless, Johnston is hopeful his players will relish going up against opposition from a higher division for the third time this season.
He added: “We know St Mirren will be desperate to get a result and get back on track. Similar to us, they’ve got a lot of new players in their team and maybe some of them are still finding their feet.
“But there’s quality players there and we know how tough a test it’s going to be.
“We’re going to have to be at our very best again, because they have guys like Steven Thompson, who has a lot of experience and has scored a lot of goals throughout his career.
“They’ve got a lot of ‘Premiership players’, but it’s a great opportunity for our boys to go out and prove themselves.
“And it takes away the pressure of the league and adds a bit of freshness as well.”