BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
RHYS McCabe insists Dunfermline will be out to prove they are on their way back to the Scottish top-flight when they take on title favourites Hibs this afternoon.
The former Rangers youngster will be making his first visit to Easter Road since suffering a 4-1 defeat to Italy on his Scotland under-21 debut in 2012 and is hopeful of building some happier memories of the Edinburgh stadium.
The 24-year-old believes the trip is just reward for the Pars after their lengthy recovery from near financial ruin and April’s promotion back to the Championship at the third time of asking.
And the midfielder, who joined Dunfermline in September last year after being released by Sheffield Wednesday, is desperate to enjoy the occasion by helping the Fifers to a positive result.
He told Capital City Press: “As a football player, you want to play in the best games you can and having Hibs and teams like that still in the league attracts crowds.
“Going to Easter Road and playing in front of over 10,000 people is great, especially for Dunfermline, considering where the club’s been in the last few years.
“But it’s only deserved for the way we played last season and it’s where we should be.
“You want to play against the best and, at the moment, we’re hoping to push for that play-off place.
“We’re going to have to play against the best teams at some point if we want to progress back to the top league, where this club belongs.
“I’ve played at Easter Road once before, in a Scotland under-21 game. We lost to Italy, unfortunately.
“But it’s a good stadium and there will be a big crowd, so it’s important you handle the occasion well and focus on the job you’re set out to do, which is to try to get a result.”
After narrowly missing out on progress through the Betfred Cup group stage, Dunfermline opened their league campaign with a 4-3 victory over Dumbarton last Saturday.
The shine was taken off the performance and result by the Sons netting two injury-time penalties, and McCabe sees today’s clash as a way of gauging the improvements they will need to make this term.
He added: “Hibs are the main title challengers this season, so I think playing them early in the season will give us a marker and let us know where we are and how far we’ve come, and how far we need to go to try to challenge this season.
“It’s a game the boys are really looking forward to.
“They’ve got the advantage of being at home but I don’t think it’s anything we fear.”