Supporters were afforded their first glimpse of Peter Grant’s Dunfermline on Saturday and considering, by his own admission, they are a ‘work in progress’, it could barely have gone better.
There will be substantial upheaval prior to the end of the summer transfer window, with as many as six new signings destined to arrive at East End Park.
In the meantime, however, Grant’s relatively thin squad turned in a heartening display at Firhill, sweeping Partick Thistle aside 4-2 and — in doing so — answering a few questions regarding the campaign to come.
Grant utilised a 3-4-3 during pre-season but there was uncertainty regarding whether he would stick with that formation when the completive action kicked off. He did, and it paid dividends.
On-loan Dundee United kid Ross Graham was magnificent to the left of Paul Watson, with Aaron Comrie playing an unfamiliar role of right-sided centre-back. It made for a solid unit.
Josh Edwards and Kyle MacDonald — the latter scoring — were marauding threats on the flank and Dom Thomas shone in the centre of midfield.
— SPFL (@spfl) July 12, 2021
The shape also allows Grant to utilise the pace of Kevin O’Hara and the intelligence of Craig Wighton either side of Nikolay Todorov. That trio already look a decent proposition, as evidenced by the Bulgarian’s brace.
The Kirkcaldy Kyle Walker
Ex-McDiarmid Park youngster Comrie, who hails from the Lang Toun, deserves to be spotlighted individually.
Think Jason Kerr in Perth or, perhaps being a little more glib, even Kyle Walker with England; the centre-back who steps out, starts attacks and disrupts the midfield, creating overloads as well as doing his defensive duties.
Comrie took to the job like a duck to water, even finding the net, and gives Grant a completely different option for the coming campaign.
The captain conundrum
The Pars are yet to officially announce their club captain following the departure of Euan Murray but it was fascinating to see Dom Thomas sporting the armband in Maryhill, not least because Paul Watson was on the pitch.
There was a widespread expectation — even among some within East End Park — that Watson would be made skipper due to his experience and influence. He may still be.
However, Thomas is a hugely popular figure within the dressing room, bringing a bombastic energy to the group and keeping spirits high.
Allied with Grant fielding him in the heart of midfield on Saturday, Thomas appears destined to have a central role — quite literally — to play under the new gaffer.
Grant has been open about his desire to utilise the talented young players at East End Park.
After talking that talk, he walked the walk against Thistle, handing midfielder Paul Allan just his third senior start for the Fifers following a fine pre-season.
With the vastly more experienced Dan Pybus on the bench, that was a show of faith in Allan, while Matty Todd, 20, was introduced in the closing stages.