Stevie Crawford is adamant Dunfermline’s Celtic connection will be crucial during the Pars’ playoff campaign.
Ewan Henderson, who arrived on loan from the Hoops on March 26, has been a revelation in the Fifers’ midfield in recent weeks, notching three assists and one goal in his last four appearances.
The 21-year-old has added creativity and an eagerness to burst forward which had been sorely lacking for much of 2021, helping Crawford’s charges piece together a five-game unbeaten run at the perfect time.
2⃣⚽️ – Craig Wighton
2⃣🅰️ – Ewan Henderson
— SPFL (@spfl) April 26, 2021
The East End Park boss has also lavished praise on Henderson’s work ethic and strength of character, with the youngster already a popular member of dressing room — aided by his fellow Celtic loan ace Kerr McInroy.
The duo are of the same age group and have played together since the age of 12 with the Glasgow giants.
“We feel really fortunate to have added Ewan towards the end of the loan window,” said Crawford. “We tried to bring him in during January but, for one reason or another, it didn’t go through at that time.
“But he looks like he is enjoying his football and has settled in to the group, especially with having Kerr McInroy in the building — as he knows Kerr really well.
“He has calmness in possession and has that art of being able to carry the ball and dribble forward, while being in total control. He sees things going forward and is a good character.
“Towards the end of the game on Saturday [4-3 win over Arbroath], he was chasing one down in the left-back area, trying to get there before Jason Thomson.
“The only reason I took Ewan off was that he was on a yellow card and I was worried he might pick up another. He’s been a massive plus and has added competition, which we needed.”
McInroy has endured a more frustrating period. He was withdrawn at half-time during Dunfermline 5-1 defeat against Raith Rovers on March 30 and was omitted from the Pars’ next three games.
However, the former Celtic youth skipper has climbed from the bench in their last two games — helping to solidify key wins over Arbroath and Queen of the South — and Crawford believes he will have a key role to play in the coming games.
“Kerr has been great for us,” continued Crawford, who takes his side to Alloa on Friday night. “He’s probably a little frustrated that, since the turn of the year, he’s not personally had as much game-time as he would have hoped.
“But he has shown me in the last couple of weeks that he will have a big impact in what we do between now and the end of the season.
“Sometimes, a person coming in that you know can allow you to kick on again — and I believe that Ewan has brought the best out of Kerr in recent weeks.”