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Dunfermline: 3 major problems Peter Grant must solve after Rangers rollover — as Fife derby looms large

Challenges: Grant
Challenges: Grant

Given their miserable record at Ibrox Stadium, few Dunfermline supporters expected anything other than a defeat against Rangers.

The manner of the 5-0 reverse, however, was alarming.

Defensive errors abound, certain tactical issues are becoming a pattern and several players are either struggling for form or fitness.

So, boss Peter Grant has much to ponder ahead of a Fife derby on Friday night which the Pars can scarcely afford to lose.

Out of shape

The sense of deja vu was overwhelming at Ibrox.

Just as wing-backs Josh Edwards and Kyle MacDonald were left exposed in the 3-0 hammering by Partick Thistle on Saturday — victims of repeated overloads — the same happened against Rangers.

Dunfermline’s 3-4-3 formation left the pair with no support.

Kevin O’Hara and Craig Wighton were too high up the pitch to help; Dan Pybus and Graham Dorrans were unable to assist; centre-backs Ross Graham and Aaron Comrie were too preoccupied with the Gers’ threats down the middle to cover across.

Rangers left-back Calvin Bassey was awarded man of the match after two assists but, frankly, will have few easier shifts.

Dunfermline have conceded 10 goals in their last three matches and, against Raith Rovers, will face a team adept at marauding down the flanks.

Wide-threat: Zanatta and Tumilty

Wingers Dario Zanatta and Aidan Connolly are given freedom to cut inside while full-backs Liam Dick and Reghan Tumilty liberally overlap.

Unless the Pars alter their set-up (they were far more solid with a back-four in the second half at Ibrox) more of the same could be in store at Stark’s Park.

Graham Dorrans conundrum

Grant had two choices: put Dorrans through a gruelling mini-pre-season and delay his Dunfermline debut, or play the former Rangers and Scotland midfielder to full fitness.

He has chosen the latter and, as illustrated at Ibrox, the 34-year-old is still playing catch-up.

Dorrans’ wayward pass was responsible for the opening goal. Many more followed. He made niggling fouls as the game passed him by and conceded a penalty for Kemar Roofe to make it 5-0.

Dorrans: Toil

Dorrans has the talent, experience and vision to dictate a game — but he needs legs and energy around him.

To play him in a central-midfield two against Rangers, away from home, was impossible to fathom.

Between the sticks

Rangers’ third of the game, nodded in at the back post by Ianis Hagi, saw goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet once again flap at fresh air, as he did for Kevin Holt’s goal for Thistle on Saturday.

Mehmet is shipping goals, his distribution is scattergun and he does not exude the calm required from a goalkeeper at the heart of a young back-line.

It is difficult to ascertain what Owain Fon Williams has done to merit being benched, by comparison.

Ironically, it is Fon Williams, as goalkeeping coach, whose job it is to work with, and lift, Mehmet following another lamentable evening.

If he cannot, then the Wales international must be given the gloves for the trip to Stark’s Park himself.

Furious Peter Grant apologises to supporters after Rangers run riot – as Dunfermline boss makes ‘hurting and suffering’ promise

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