In the week Dunfermline were purchased by German consortium DAFC Fussbal GmbH, the Pars swept Stenhousemuir aside 4-1 to claim their place in the last-16 of the Premier Sports Cup.
Four games; three wins; 13 goals scored — a laudable effort from a side style adapting to a fresh style and shape, and with several new signings yet to arrive.
Courier Sport analyses the talking points from the victory over Stenny.
It is apparent that Peter Grant will be a hard man to please.
While he has cultivated a reputation for attacking, progressive football, his desire to build a solid defensive unit is similarly fierce and the former Alloa boss has been irked by the lack of clean sheets in the group phase.
🎥 Watch the #DAFC goals from yesterday's 4-1 win 🏁
Full highlights later 😎 pic.twitter.com/C7WviGdkc4
— Dunfermline Athletic (@officialdafc) July 24, 2021
The Pars may have rippled the net on 13 occasions but they allowed Partick Thistle, St Mirren, Dumbarton and Stenhousemuir to breach their backline at least once — and that fact was a thorn in Grant’s paw on Saturday.
“Yet again we lost a goal from our own possession in the opposition’s final third,” rued Grant. “The one thing that we asked for in the second half — a clean sheet — is the thing we never got. That is the big disappointment.”
The pursuit of Kai Kennedy was a protracted test of patience for everyone involved.
Covid; isolation; interest from West Ham — all those factors conspired to ensure a loan move from Rangers which should have been completed three weeks ago was not rubber-stamped until last Thursday.
However, the diminutive forward looks like he will be worth the wait.
Despite a testing pre-season, Kennedy was as sharp as a tack after entering the fray as a half-time substitute, displaying explosive pace, surging forward with possession and causing havoc with his direct dribbling.
He also afforded Dunfermline intriguing tactical fluidity, inspiring a change from 3-4-3 to a 3-4-1-2, with Kennedy in the No.10 role and using that freedom to pick up pockets of space and set alarm bells ringing.
A 19-year-old has no right to have the awareness of space that Kennedy does. The challenge will be to find consistency, which was — for all the plaudits he did receive — lacking during a stint at Raith Rovers earlier this year.
Not content with targeting the title, Grant reckons Dunfermline can stick the Premier Sports Cup in the cabinet this season.
“Why shouldn’t we [aim to win it]? We have got good players and the aim is to win every game that you play,” said Grant. “I have won cup competitions with Birmingham, I have got to finals with West Ham when people least expected it.
“It is possible — anything is possible in football.”
Grant is no starry-eyed fool. He is acutely aware that the Pars are unlikely to hold the trophy aloft at Hampden.
However, it is worth remembering that Dunfermline only lost out to double-winners St Johnstone on penalties in the competition last season and, on current form, are a dangerous proposition.