BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston is convinced Scotland needs bigger leagues after facing Ayr United in the first of two matches in the space of just a fortnight.
The Pars progressed past their League One rivals to reach the fourth round of the Scottish Cup with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Somerset Park at the weekend.
After hosting Brechin City this Saturday, the Fifers then return to Ayr in 10 days’ time for the second of four league meetings between the sides.
It is a familiarity that Johnston insists was thankfully missing when he played south of the border with Sunderland and Middlesbrough, as well as during loan spells with Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday.
And, after Falkirk chairman Doug Henderson called recently for a return to larger leagues, Johnston believes playing each team just twice over the course of a league campaign would be a welcome move.
He said: “That’s probably the problem with Scottish football – you play the same teams too many times.
“If you look at last season, Dundee United and Celtic played each other something crazy like seven times. It just gets ridiculous.
“We need bigger leagues, just to freshen things up.
“I think it’s better for the fans when you go and see different teams in different grounds, rather than ending up with wee vendettas between people when you’re playing them so many times.
“Playing in England, I much preferred playing teams home and away. It was great going to different grounds and different clubs.
“You really looked forward to going to clubs because you were only going to play them once away from home.
“It was brilliant and a real occasion. It was good for the fans as well, so I think bigger leagues would be better.”