Dunfermline boss Allan Johnston backs on-loan Hearts striker Aidan Keena to make his mark at East End Park after returning to full fitness

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

DUNFERMLINE boss Allan Johnston insists Aidan Keena has already illustrated his class as the Hearts kid seeks to make his mark at East End Park.

The 19-year-old joined the Pars on a season-long loan deal at the end of August but was unable to immediately link up with his new teammates as he recovered from a hernia operation.

However, the Irish marksman returned to action with the Jambos’ reserve side against their Kilmarnock counter-parts last week, before finally reporting for training with the Fifers. And Keena has wasted no time in impressing Johnston.

(Pic: Craig Brown @craigy_broon)

Keena could make his Dunfermline debut on Saturday when they host Queen of the South.

“Aidan did well last week and looked really sharp,” lauded Johnston. “He showed his quality straight away and you can see that he is going to bring something to the team.

“He hasn’t played an awful lot. That’s my only concern. He’s been out with an injury and playing full-size games and getting back up to speed is a lot different [from training].

“But it is always good to have options, especially players who look like they will be able to score goals for us.”

Keena enjoyed a hugely successful loan stint in League 2 last season, bagging eight goals in 15 starts for Queen’s Park.

However, Johnston acknowledges that the former St. Patrick’s Athletic man faces a step up in class to star in the Championship.

“It’s a step up and it’s also about dealing with the pressure of knowing that if you don’t do well, someone takes your place,” continued Johnston. “That’s the hard part and something you don’t get in reserve football. You can get away with a few average games at that level.

“That’s the challenge for Aidan coming into the first-team, especially with the squad and depth that we have at the moment.”

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