John McGlynn is adamant there is no playoff pressure on Raith Rovers after they held Fife foes Dunfermline Athletic to a 0-0 draw at East End Park.
Rovers rode their luck at times — with goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald making one particularly fine save to deny Kevin O’Hara — but held firm to ensure the tie remains tantalisingly balanced.
Raith now boast home advantage for the decisive second leg on Saturday and, having also finished one place above the Pars in the Championship table, can reasonably be considered front-runners to progress.
“Dunfermline’s away record is not that great, so I would think slight [favourites],” agreed McGlynn when that was put to him in the aftermath of a nerve-shredding night.
But the experienced coach has brushed off talk of ‘pressure’ on Rovers, having only been promoted from League 1 last term,
“There’s no pressure on us,” said the Rovers boss. “We didn’t expect to be here.
“Now we are here, our ambition is to get through the tie. We have a pride and a desire about us to do that. But there’s no pressure on us. I’m sleeping well tonight — and I did the previous night!
“The tie is very evenly poised, both teams have a great chance of getting through. Bring it on.”
However, McGlynn is at pains to point out that eschewing the weight of expectation should not be misconstrued as a lack of ambition, with Dundee — whose manager, James McPake was in attendance on Tuesday evening — awaiting the victors.
He added: “Make no mistake, we want to get up to the Premiership every bit as much as Dunfermline or Dundee, but we don’t have the same liability as the others.”
Reflecting on an often-frustrating 90 minutes, during which they struggled to break down the Pars and, when those attacks broke down, were left vulnerable to counter-attacks, McGlynn was again calm.
“Dunfermline were well organised, they tried to force us into errors and then counter-attack — and that actually worked on a few occasions because our passing wasn’t great,” he added.
“That won’t happen on Saturday. The pitch here [East End Park] is very good, but we’re used to our pitch. It’s much slicker for us on our own pitch.
“We live to fight another day, and Saturday can’t come quickly enough.”
Dunfermline boss Stevie Crawford, meanwhile, reckons a goal was the only missing ingredient from his players’ showing; albeit a mighty important one.
“We didn’t win the game but there were a lot of positives to take,” said Crawford.
“The boys showed they’re on good form and some of our attacking play was very, very good.
“I think our goal attempts were into double figures and Jamie MacDonald pulled off a couple of great saves — but our application and focus on the game was excellent.
“We’ve got 90 minutes or longer on Saturday, and it’s one to look forward to — we know the job in hand; we know what we’ve got to do to go through and play Dundee.”