BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
FAISSAL El Bakhtaoui has accused manager Allan Johnston of spoiling his family reunion and title celebrations at the weekend after surprisingly leaving him out of Dunfermline’s starting line-up.
The French-Moroccan, who was named PFA Scotland’s League One player of the year on Sunday, was left devastated by Johnston’s decision for the Pars’ last game of the season on Saturday.
With the champions being presented with the trophy after their clash with Peterhead, El Bakhtaoui was being visited by members of his family from the south of France – some of whom had never seen him play.
The 23-year-old, who has been linked with interest from the likes of Hibs, Motherwell and Aberdeen, was also desperate to overhaul opposition striker Rory McAllister as the division’s top scorer, with the pair both standing on 22 league goals.
However, the fans’ favourite was not introduced to the fray until the 76th minute, when he was afforded a standing ovation, and has spoken of his frustration at being restricted to a bit-part role.
The Frenchman said: “I was on the bench and the fans were calling my name. I wanted to start but the manager made the decision to put me on the bench.
“It was a big crowd for me and the fans were singing my song. It was a massive day for me.
“I wanted to play, 100 per cent, and I do not know why the manager did not start me.
“I was not happy but I have to listen to what the manager says.
“My family had never seen me play football. Just my brother, but for my sister it was the first time. I came on for 15 minutes but I did not touch the ball much.
“The manager didn’t give me enough time and I was not happy.”
It may prove to be a parting shot from El Bakhtaoui, whose prolific season has ensured there will be plenty of interest in him this summer.
Johnston has already acknowledged his difficulties in retaining the marksman, who until his arrival at Dunfermline in 2012 was more used to the indoor game of futsal and had seldom played 11-a-side football.
And, although every effort is being made by the East End Park club to keep him, the Saint Tropez-born player now looks set to move on.
In an interview on the official club website, www.dafc.co.uk, he added: “I don’t know if I will be here next season. I will need to see what my agent, who is looking after me, says. He will see what is the best for me to do.”