BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Allan Johnston has hailed the record-breaking defensive run he hopes can help catapult Dunfermline to promotion.
The Pars have kept a clean sheet for more than 10 hours of league football, stretching back 612 minutes to their 1-1 draw with Airdrie on September 26.
It is an incredible mean streak that has allowed keeper Sean Murdoch – the League One player of the month for October – and his team-mates to beat the previous record of 601 minutes set during the 1985/86 campaign.
The Fifers have received plaudits this term for their free-scoring form at the other end of the pitch, scoring 55 times in 20 matches.
But six consecutive shut-outs – and eight from their last 10 outings – has given the East End Park outfit the solid foundation Johnston demands.
Johnston told Capital City Press: “We said at the start of the season that it’s important we pick up clean sheets.
“Obvously, we’ve been scoring a lot of goals but it’s important that at the other end of the park you’re safe as well and don’t lose goals.
“You’re not always going to score three or four goals and that’s why it’s important that the defenders play their part as well.
“It means you’re still picking up points.
“Of course, we would rather be scoring goals and winning the game but if you keep a clean sheet the minimum you’re getting is a point.”
Long way to go
Johnston is hopeful Dunfermline’s return to goal-scoring form in last weekend’s 2-0 win away to Airdrie is not interrupted tomorrow when his side are due to travel to face Albion Rovers.
Given the triple postponement of Albion’s encounter with Cowdenbeath and the heavy rain this week there may again be doubts over the Cliftonhill pitch.
Currently a point behind league leaders Ayr United, the Pars do not want to fall any further behind, but Johnston is adamant there are plenty more twists and turns ahead in the title battle.
He added: “Ayr have been doing really well and showing good consistency.
“But it’s only the start of the season. We’re not even half-way yet, there’s a long way to go, and we’ve just got to make sure we focus on ourselves and keep on putting in good performances and scoring a lot of goals.
“That is how we’re going to get to our ultimate aim of finishing top of the league.”