BY IAIN COLLIN –[email protected]_sport
DUNFERMLINE striker Gavin Reilly knows all about the potent threat Stephen Dobbie will pose to Dunfermline this afternoon after marvelling at the forward’s displays during his first spell at Queen of the South.
Dobbie ended a seven-year stint in English football playing for the likes of Swansea City, Blackpool, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Bolton Wanderers when he made a surprise return to Palmerston Park earlier this month.
It was a real coup for the Doonhamers, who have been rewarded for their ambition with four goals from the 33-year-old in the last three games.
However, Reilly is not surprised the former Rangers and Hibs player has made such a striking impact at his old club after keenly watching on goggle-eyed as Dobbie strutted his stuff during his two years at the club from 2007.
The on-loan Hearts player explained: “When I was young at Queen of the South I used to watch Stephen Dobbie.
“We had to do the turnstiles on a Saturday for the home games and then we would watch the games.
“Some of the stuff he used to do was incredible. He’s a real top-quality player.
“I think he’s at that stage in his career now that he wants to be somewhere where he is settled and knows the surroundings, and I’m sure he always said he wanted to go back to Queens.
“He’s a brilliant signing for them and he’s already done the business.
“He’s one we’ll have to watch on Saturday, but it’s not just him, there’s a few really good, top-quality players there.”
With Dunfermline looking to bounce back from back-to-back defeats to Hibs and Fife rivals Raith Rovers, Reilly admits he is desperate to score against his old club – but insists he will not celebrate if he does.
The 23-year-old came through the ranks at his hometown team and netted 43 times in 133 games for the Doonhamers before leaving to join Hearts last summer.
With first-team chances likely to be rarer at Tynecastle this term, Reilly joined the Pars on a season-long loan deal last month and, fittingly, broke his duck in the recent 2-1 defeat to Hibs.
But he has confessed his reaction is likely to be in stark contrast to that goal if he is to score against his old pals this afternoon.
He added: “It was good to get off the mark against Hibs. I don’t think I could celebrate but it would be nice to get a goal against Queens and, hopefully, a win.
“But I would have to be respectful and not jump about the place like I did at Hibs!
“I’m always on the hunt to get more goals, so hopefully there will be a chance on Saturday.”
After a comfortable opening-day victory over Dumbarton, Reilly confesses the subsequent defeats to Hibs and Raith have been a wake-up call, but he feels there is plenty room for improvement in the coming weeks.
He went on: “Winning the first game in the league, at home, was good but the last two games have been a bit frustrating.
“We were under the cosh a wee bit in the first-half against Hibs but in the second-half we showed good quality and proved we are a team that can be right up there.
“Last week against Raith it was more frustrating because we never really created anything and they never really cut us open. But the heads went down after two goals in quick succession.
“But it’s in the past now, we need to put it behind us and get going again on Saturday. It’s still early days and I feel the best is still to come from us.”