BY IAIN COLLIN –[email protected]_sport
MICHAEL Paton insists competition for places can spur Dunfermline on to Championship success this season.
The former Aberdeen attacker is back fit after undergoing a hernia operation during the close-season and made his first appearance in four months in Saturday’s 4-3 win over Dumbarton.
With David Hopkirk also recovering from injury to net the Pars’ fourth goal, the East End Park squad is returning to full strength at the right time.
And, with a trip to face title favourites Hibernian coming up this weekend, Paton believes the determination of every player to make an impact can only be good for Allan Johnston’s men.
He said: “It’s always better when there’s competition for places, to keep the other boys on their toes.
“The manager has brought in a good few players and everyone will up their game to keep the shirt.
“Saturday showed how strong the squad is, with the likes of Callum Fordyce, David Hopkirk, myself and Paul McMullan on the bench all eager to get on.
“No game in this league is going to be easy, we know that, but we’ll take it one game at a time.
“That’s the first one done, we’ve found our feet, and we’ll take the positives out of the game and go in to Saturday with high spirits.”
Prior to Saturday’s comeback, Paton’s last game for Dunfermline was back on April 9.
It had been hoped that rest would cure his persistent groin trouble but, after going under the surgeon’s knife, the 27-year-old is keen to get back up to speed.
He added in an interview on Dunfermline’s Youtube channel: “All that’s left is match fitness. I’ve been back training maybe two weeks now and I just need to get that match sharpness.
“But that will come with game-time and I’ll hopefully get that over the next couple of weeks.”