While it remains far too early in the campaign to countenance pressing the panic button, Dunfermline could do with a silver lining following a chastening fortnight.
One has materialised in the form of Kai Kennedy.
Courier Sport understands the on-loan Rangers midfielder is back in full training following a slight injury and is firmly in contention to face Fife foes Raith Rovers on Friday night.
And as the Pars seek to bounce back from 3-0 and 5-0 defeats against Partick Thistle and the Gers, respectively, Kennedy must be given the nod to line up against the Kirkcaldy club.
Dunfermline manager Peter Grant has spoken repeatedly about the need for bravery on the ball; to find the right pass; to brush off mistakes and keep probing. Kennedy fits the bill.
Although a fresh-faced 19-year-old, Kennedy has a healthy swagger, a richly-merited belief in his own ability and is unlikely to wilt under pressure of derby day with Dunfermline.
After all, he has been ‘the next big thing’ since helping Rangers’ under-17 side win the Al Kass International Cup in Qatar two years ago, attracting interest from AS Roma.
More recently, West Ham United made a six-figure bid for his services.
Kennedy has grown accustomed to spotlight and headlines.
That fearlessness shows on the pitch. Even in his brief cameos for Dunfermline, he tested Stenhousemuir and Morton with direct running, vertical passing and intelligent movement.
In terms of quality and confidence, he is just what the Pars need.
Dunfermline’s midfield desperately requires legs.
Graham Dorrans is still a super footballer — write him off at your peril — but cannot eat up the yards like he once could.
Reece Cole is yet to find match sharpness, Paul Allan in untested at this level and Dan Pybus can only cover so much ground himself.
The perception that Kennedy is solely a winger is mistaken and he is an intriguing option for a central role.
⚽️ #TOTW ML
👤 Kai Kennedy
🗣️ "A goal and an assist, Kennedy once more ran riot for John McGlynn's side as they staged an emphatic comeback against James McPake's visitors."
— SPFL (@spfl) February 2, 2021
He can certainly play on the flank and is arguably most effective cutting in from the left and causing havoc.
However, Kennedy was occasionally utilised at the tip of a 4-4-2 diamond formation with Rovers last season and was adept at picking up pockets of space, linking play and got stuck in defensively.
Regardless of where he plays, or whatever shape Grant fields, Kennedy could be key as Dunfermline seek to be less passive and press the game.
Dubbed a ‘fantastic talent’ by Grant, the sense of anticipation every time Kennedy receives the ball is palpable.
It is a hoary old cliche, but he lifts fans from their seats and — with the Pars supporters rather disenchanted by their team’s last three outings — that is valuable.
There is no doubt the visiting punters will be loud, proud and vociferously back their side on Friday.
However, Dunfermline must also give them something to shout about — and Kennedy’s name on the team sheet will do that.