BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Allan Johnston insists tomorrow’s Scottish Cup clash between Dunfermline and Ayr United will have no bearing on the title battle between the teams in the league.
Ayr currently lead League One thanks to an astonishing run of 14 league games without defeat.
However, Dunfermline are hot on the heels of their Somerset Park rivals, just three points adrift, after putting together an unbeaten sequence of nine matches themselves.
The pair play each other in the league in just a fortnight’s time, in an encounter that could help decide the destination of the championship and the division’s one automatic promotion spot.
However, Johnston is adamant the title fight does not lend tomorrow’s cup tie any more significance.
He said: “I don’t think the outcome of this game will have any bearing on the league.
“We’ve just got to focus on this game; I don’t think you can look forward and say ‘if we win this game, we should win the next game’.
“Football doesn’t work like that. It’s a totally different game.
“But, obviously, if you win it then it gives you a wee bit more confidence.”
Ayr won the only meeting of the teams this season, earning themselves a controversial 2-0 win at East End Park in September.
The clash saw Pars skipper Callum Fordyce sustain a broken leg and dislocated ankle in a tackle from Ayr’s on-loan Motherwell striker Craig Moore.
And Johnston expects another physical encounter.
He added: “They’re going great in the league. They’ve not done so well in the cup competitions but they’ve got a great record in the league.
“The atmosphere will be good and it’ll be two teams who are doing well just now, playing with a lot of confidence, so it’s got the makings of a good game.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game. You saw in the last game that it was really competitive, there were a lot of tackles going in. Callum broke his leg and there were a lot of other poor tackles as well.”