Dunfermline Athletic vs DundeeScottish Championship, KO: 19:05 Aug 2, 2019, East End Park
ALL roads lead to Fife on Friday night for the start of the new league season in Scotland when Dunfermline Athletic welcome Dundee to East End Park.
Following a five-year stay in the top flight Dundee endured a disastrous 2018/19 season which culminated in relegation from the Scottish Premiership with a pitiful 21 points.
The Dark Blues' first fixture back in the Scottish Championship sees them come up against a Dunfermline side who narrowly avoided the drop last term following a wretched run at the end of the season that seen the Pars pick up only one point from their final eight league matches.
Consequently, both of these sides have overseen a big turnaround in their playing squads over the close season but the early signs are promising after both teams topped their respective Betfred Cup groups.
That perhaps explains why the bookmakers are struggling to separate these two with both teams priced at 8/5 (Bet365) to start the season with three points whereas the draw is available at 12/5 (Bet365) with the same firm.
After tumbling into the second tier Dundee appointed former captain and youth coach James McPake as their new manager – with former Scotland boss Gordon Strachan involved in an advisory capacity as the clubs technical director.
McPake has been busy rebuilding his squad over the summer having recruited eight new faces to date and notable new additions include Jamie Ness, Shaun Byrne and former Motherwell striker Danny Johnson.
The latter enjoyed a dream debut at Dens Park last Sunday after firing his side to a 1-0 Betfred Cup win over Inverness to clinch top spot in Group D for the Dee.
I tipped Johnson to make an immediate impact on Tayside last weekend and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him hit the back of the net when he makes his league bow for the Dark Blues.
On a side note – consider backing Johnson at 7/1 (McBookie) to finish the season as top goalscorer in the Scottish Championship as he should flourish at this level.
However, Dunfermline have acquired their own goal-getter in the shape of Kevin Nisbet who netted 34 times for neighbours Raith Rovers last season.
Nisbet is one of numerous new faces at East End which also includes defenders Euan Murray and Tom Lang as well as tenacious midfielder Paul Paton who made the move to Fife from rivals Falkirk.
Paton appears to be the new Pars captain and after picking up 11 bookings for the Bairns last season in 29 league appearances I like the look of the 9/4 (Bet365) on offer for the former Dundee United man to be carded on his league debut for Dunfermline.
With a bumper crowd expected at East End Park cards could be worth considering for what should be a fiery Friday night in Fife.
Yet, in terms of the overall outcome this is a tough one to call and a share of the spoils wouldn't come as surprise.
However, I'm expecting an entertaining game at East End Park as well as goals from both sides.
That may come as shock to some given the fact Dundee have been flawless defensively throughout their Betfred Cup campaign – they didn't concede a single goal.
Be that as it may the Dee are set to come up against a young Pars side who thumped in 13 goals on their way to claiming top spot in Group H and as such I suspect they can be the first side to breach this Dundee backline.
This Scottish Championship match between Dunfermline Athletic and Dundee will be played on Aug 2, 2019 and kick off at 19:05