Here is the final part of my half season review for Dunfermline’s season so far. In the first two parts I focused on the goalkeepers, defenders and midfielders, and now I’m going to conclude my review by looking at the performance of the attacking players.
RW: Ryan Dow, 8/10.
How Ryan Dow was playing football in league two last season I will never know. Arriving from Peterhead in the summer, Ryan Dow was one of the proven and experienced players to arrive at Dunfermline in the transfer window. Many Pars were initially sceptical with the signing of Dow, having dropped to the fourth tier of Scottish football last season some thought that maybe Dow’s best days were behind him. Right from the start of the season it was obvious that Dow was going to be a standout for the Pars this season, an impressive start away to St Mirren in the first competitive game of the season set the tone for what was to come from Dow. In fact, when Dow is on form Dunfermline tend to really do well as a team. A constant threat down the right-hand side and a goal threat throughout the season so far has earned Dow real favourable status amongst the Pars supporters.
LW/ST: Greig Kiltie, 7.5/10.
The Kilmarnock loanee has been the best of the bunch in terms of loan players for the Pars this season. Kiltie has linked up well with Kevin Nisbet and Ryan Dow in his time at Dunfermline so far and been an effective player in attack for the Pars. Mainly deployed on the left hand-side or up front alongside Nisbet, Kiltie is very neat and tidy with the ball at his feet and is always looking to create space and chances for teammates as well as having an eye for goal himself. Dunfermline will be desperately looking to keep hold of Kiltie this month although with the change in management at Kilmarnock and the recall clause in the loan agreement it’s looking increasingly likely that the Pars will lose Kiltie this month, at least temporarily.
ST: Gabby McGill, 3/10.
Offered a two-year deal and given the number nine shirt in the summer, Dunfermline fans would have been forgiven for expecting Gabby McGill to be brought in as a big player for the club this season. There have been absolutely no signs in his first team outings so far that suggest McGill will be of any use for Dunfermline anytime soon. Whilst I accept that McGill is a young player who perhaps brought in more with the future in mind, there is no doubt that he was expected to make an impact on the first team by the coaching staff. Near enough ever present on the bench, McGill has done nothing to impact games when called upon this season and the fact that he was preferred to Andy Ryan in the squad on Saturday past is baffling. Hopefully I’m proved wrong by McGill and I do wish him every success, but I, certainly not expecting much from him in the second half of this season.
ST: Andy Ryan, 6.5/10,
The curious tale of Andy Ryan has continued again this year. Ever since arriving at the Pars Ryan has shown he can be a capable option up front and he definitely has goals in him. For whatever reason, Ryan has never been able to consistently nail down a starting spot for a run of games and every time he does look like he’s hitting his stride he either picks up an injury or is dropped. This season has been more of the same, on some occasions he has shown real promise, away to St Mirren in the league cup and being the matchwinner at home to Ayr are two examples that Ryan definitely has quality. It seems that his best role in a Pars player is as an impact sub, he almost always looks a threat coming off the bench however when he starts, he leaves a lot to be desired and can’t quite make the same impact. With rumours of Ryan leaving in the January window arising in the recent weeks, you certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he were to move on. I still think Ryan has something to offer to the Pars squad and if I he was to move on it would be a blow to Stevie Crawford.
LW/ST: Lewis McCann, 5/10.
I think most Dunfermline fans expected this to be a real breakout season for Lewis McCann. There have been some signs that McCann can be a useful member of the first team squad but he’s yet to really cause Stevie Crawford any selection headaches and put pressure on the starting attackers. The young forward has undoubted potential and hopefully he can contribute positively between now and the end of the season.
ST: Kevin Nisbet, 9/10.
The top scoring striker in Scotland in 2019, the Pars talisman and the best striker the Pars have had for a long time. Kevin Nisbet has all the attributes you would look for in a top striker, strong, tall and quick. Nisbet can operate as a loan striker with effective hold up play and is more than capable of running the channels and feeding off scraps as he proved when gave Christopher Jullien a torrid time at Celtic Park back in August. Nisbet is even more effective as a penalty box striker as his impressive goal return suggests. 15 league goals and three assists and averaging a goal every 105 minutes, it’s fair to see that without Nisbet, Dunfermline would be in a spot of bother near the bottom of the table. It did take a while for Nisbet to get going in the league for the Pars but now he is very much viewed as one of the very top strikers in the championship and his performances will be sure to have attracted the attention of bigger clubs. If Dunfermline are to have a successful second half of the season and reach the promotion playoffs, you can guarantee that Nisbet will be at the heart of the Pars joy. It is imperative that Dunfermline keep Nisbet beyond the January window if they have any real aspirations of a promotion push this season. The only reason that I’ve not given Nisbet a 10 rating is that I very much believe that he still has another level to reach for the Pars and if that is true then it could be an exciting second half of the season if his current trajectory of form continues.
The ratings for the attacking players look a lot more positive than the rest of the team. Dow and Kiltie have been very good with Nisbet performing sensationally so far this season. Even in recent weeks when results have faltered, you certainly couldn’t attach blame to the attacking players as whilst they’ve kept scoring, individual defensive errors have cost the team. Stevie Crawford will be desperately hoping to keep Greig Kiltie for the remainder of the season in order to maintain the link up of the front three of Kiltie, Dow and Nisbet that has been successful for him in the past month or so. Also keeping Nisbet at the club would be a big coup for Dunfermline as without his goals you’d suspect the team would very much be looking down the league rather than up it.