BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
ALLOA ATHLETIC ace Callum Smith insists witnessing the devastation of his Dunfermline pals has only made him more determined to grasp promotion glory with the Wasps.
Smith, who is on loan at the Indodrill Stadium from the Pars, was left heartbroken after seeing his parent club suffer an agonising exit at the hands of Dundee United, with their Premiership dream ending 2-1 on aggregate despite a fine showing at Tannadice.
However, the 18-year-old has enjoyed better luck during a hugely beneficial stint in Clackmannanshire, featuring as Alloa dumped Dunfermline’s Fife rivals, Raith Rovers, out in the Championship playoff semi-final.
Jim Goodwin’s men now face a mouth-watering tie against Dumbarton, with the first leg on home soil tonight.
The Scotland under-19 internationalist said: “I’ve spoken to the boys at Dunfermline about it and you can see how devastated they are, especially since for so much of the game at Tannadice they were the better team.
“It’s tough for them to take and I’m absolutely gutted for them. It’s a really harsh way for things to end after they did so well this season.
“It’s definitely not something the boys at Alloa want to go through and I think we’ve got a really good chance tonight.
“We are winning most weeks, whereas Dumbarton were getting beat most weeks, which can have an effect. That could give us the upper hand.”
Indeed, Smith has played his part in many of those defeats for the Dumbarton.
He is uniquely placed to exploit the Sons’ weaknesses, having lined up against them THREE times already this term for Dunfermline prior to leaving on loan. The Pars won two of those meetings, drawing the other, and scored seven goals in the process.
He added: “I know how they play, I’ve gone up against them a few times this season and in those games Dunfermline managed to beat them and score a few goals – so hopefully that repeats itself and we can get a win with Alloa this time.”
Smith, meanwhile, is adamant Alloa’s place in the playoff final vindicates his decision to joins the Wasps on loan.
Having already made 19 first-team appearances for Dunfermline, there were no shortage of suitors for his signature in January, however the talented teenager made it clear he wanted a switch a club where the stakes were high.
That has come to fruition at Alloa – and he reckons, regardless of the outcome over the next four days, he will return to Dunfermline ready to play his part in a push for the top-flight next term.
Smith continued: “When it was decided I would go out on loan, I said to the coaching staff that I needed to go somewhere where it would be a really competitive environment, I would play in big games and push on for promotion. That’s what I’ve had at Alloa.
“I’m still a young player, working hard to learn and improve and playing in these massive games with so much riding on them is ideal.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here. We’re winning most weeks, we’re in the final of the playoffs now and there’s nowhere better I could be.
“If we do go up through the playoffs then that is fantastic and, if we fall a little bit short, then it’s an experience I’ll look back on with a lot of positivity. When I go back, I want to be playing most weeks and hopefully play a big part.
“I feel like I’ve got the ability to make an impact at Dunfermline and I just need experience.”