New Dunfermline signing Kallum Higginbotham plans to step into Fassial El Bakhtaoui’s shoes



New Dunfermline forward Kallum Higginbotham admits he is hoping his arrival can soften the blow of Faissal El Bakhtaoui’s departure.

The 27-year-old signed a 12-month contract with the Championship newcomers on Monday after negotiating his release from Kilmarnock.

Higginbotham, who made his debut from the bench in Tuesday’s convincing 3-0 Betfred Cup victory over Arbroath, joined as the Pars resigned themselves to losing El Bakhtaoui after the 30-goal French-Moroccan striker went on trial with Blackburn Rovers.

kallumhigginbothamEven though he is not regarded as an out-and-out striker, attacking midfielder Higginbotham is hoping he can become the new East End Park fans favourite.

He said: “I think Dunfermline were probably Scotland’s top scorers last year, they play attractive free-flowing football and they scored plenty of goals. Hopefully I can add to that.

“They’ve obviously lost Faissal but hopefully I can come in and show that I can take his place.

“You can see it’s a club heading in the right direction and the fans, players and the club are all singing off the same hymn sheet.

“I think the Championship next year will be a fantastic league and I’m looking forward to being part of it.

“I think this is a squad that can challenge in the Championship. When I was training with the boys I saw them on the training pitch and it’s a quality dressing room.

“If they keep adding more additions, I’m pretty sure they’ll be up there in the play-offs at the very least.”

Higginbotham admits a switch to Fife was ideal so he could commute from his family home in Edinburgh.

He said: “I live in Edinburgh, which is 15 minutes down the road, and I don’t have to move away from my family, which was a massive thing for me.

“It’s good to be able to live at home and play football at a good standard.”

Higginbotham admits he had no qualms about being told he was free to leave Rugby Park just half-way through a two-year deal.

The playmaker scored six goals in 31 appearances for a Kilmarnock side that preserved their Premiership status with a play-off final victory over Falkirk.

He added: “I would be the first one to admit that I didn’t have a fantastic season although I thought I finished it strongly.

“That happens in football, the gaffer (Lee Clark) wanted to go in a different direction and I’ll hold my hands up and accept that.

“I’ll not say a bad word about Kilmarnock. It’s a fantastic club but I’ve moved on and I’m at a fantastic club now.

“I still had another year left at Killie so I had to get sorted out. When I became a free agent, I asked the gaffer (Allan Johnston) if I could come in at Dunfermline and train and he said he’d like to sign me, so we got the ball rolling on that.

“I’ve been in a for a week-and-a-half and I’ve enjoyed my time.”