ALLAN Johnston believes his striking options can help shoot Dunfermline up the Championship table.
The Pars arrested a five-game losing streak with last weekend’s 4-3 victory over bottom side St Mirren and Johnston hopes the long-awaited success can spark a winning run.
Former Rangers forward Nicky Clark netted a double against the Buddies to take his tally to three in his last two outings, whilst ex-Hibs and Falkirk marksman Farid El Alagui came off the bench to bag the winner five minutes from time.
With on-loan Hearts striker Gavin Reilly a regular starter and Michael Moffat, who scored 15 times last season, and David Hopkirk in reserve, Johnston is banking on his team’s attacking prowess lifting the League One winners higher than their current seventh place in the table.
He said: “It’s always great when you see your strikers scoring goals; I think it gives the whole team a lift.
“But it wasn’t just their goals. I thought Nicky and Gavin’s work-rate was brilliant and set the tone for the rest of the team.
“There was a lot of quality play – and then Farid came on and got the winner, and made an impact as well.
“We’ve still got Michael Moffat and David Hopkirk coming back, so we have got a lot of competition there and good players.
“That’s probably the difference between the top end of the league and the bottom end – having goal-scorers – and I think we’ve got them.”
After an opening to the campaign reacquainting themselves with old opponents, Dunfermline are facing familiar foes on Saturday.
Ayr United were promoted with the Pars last season via the play-offs and have already proven their qualities with a shock 2-1 victory over title favourites Hibernian at Easter Road.
The Fifers won three times in the league and Scottish Cup at Somerset Park last term, and four times in all against the Honest Men, but Johnston is steeling himself for a difficult 90 minutes against Ian McCall’s side.
Johnston added: “It was great to get the win against St Mirren. It was a long time coming, even though I don’t think we’ve been far away in a few games. We’ve played well and just maybe not got the breaks or made a bad error.
“But the boys showed a lot of quality, a lot of character and thoroughly deserved the win. We’ve got to make sure we maintain that and keep improving, and hopefully climb our way up the table.
“It’ll definitely be competitive against Ayr, it’s always a hard game when you go there. They are a hard team to play against.
“We had a lot of close games last season – they beat us here and we beat them there – so it’s going to be a competitive game.
“They’ve freshened up their squad by bringing in a couple of players and we know they’ve got a lot of quality in their team.
“Going by reports they played really well and were unlucky to lose last weekend against Falkirk.
“So we know it’s going to be a difficult game, but we’ve just got to focus on ourselves because we’ve got a lot of quality players and if we play to our potential we’re a really good team.”