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Dunfermline: No ‘panic stations’ for Kai Kennedy as on loan Rangers kid seeks to haunt Raith Rovers

Kennedy in action
Kennedy in action

Kai Kennedy had a foot in each camp as Rangers decimated Dunfermline Athletic last week.

The 19-year-old spent the prior week undergoing treatment at the Gers’ Auchenhowie training base after picking up a slight knock.

He would have been unable to line up against the Ibrox giants last Friday night — regardless of fitness — due to rules regarding players facing their parent clubs.

Nevertheless, Kennedy was present in the Pars dressing room after the Ibrox collapse and witnessed the disappointment, anger and desire to bounce back.

Kai Kennedy
Kennedy at Rangers

The Scotland under-19 star said: “I have been at Rangers for the last week or two but I was in the changing room with the Dunfermline boys after the Rangers game.

“It was always going to be a tough game. They are top players and that is why they are at Rangers.

“It is a massive club, you could see how they played last season and it is hard to get near them.

“There are lessons to learn from every game, always things that you can get better and fix.

“It was a learning curve for everyone and we are all determined, and looking forward to Friday now.”

Rovers return

As a player who one day hopes to thrive in the cauldron of the Old Firm, Kennedy is relishing his first experience of a Fife derby in front of supporters.

It is made all more intriguing by the fact Kennedy spent the second half of last season on loan at Raith, notching four assists and one goal from 19 appearances.

“I don’t mind that, I am just hoping to play,” he smiled, when asked whether he might be singled out by the home fans. “I want to go out there, play well and for the team to win.

“I have never played in front of the fans in a Raith v Dunfermline derby and I can’t wait until Friday.

Kennedy in action against Dunfermline for Raith Rovers last season

“I enjoyed my time at Raith. It was a good experience and enjoyed working with everyone at the club, but my sole focus is Dunfermline now.

“It is going to be a tough match — they all are — but with the quality in our changing room, we just need to get it going.

“I think we have the quality to go Stark’s Park and win.”

‘We know how good we can be’

Indeed, Kennedy’s confidence that Dunfermline’s jittery start to the campaign is a mere blip shines through.

The Pars followed up a 2-2 draw against Morton with 3-0 and 5-0 defeats against Partick Thistle and the Gers — however, the fact remains that just two league games have been played.

“It is not panic stations at all,” continued Kennedy. “We know, as a team, that we have got more to prove.

“We know that it has not been good enough for the last few games. However, we know how good we can be and the gaffer knows it too.

“Friday is a great chance to prove it.”

Dunfermline: Why ‘fantastic’ Rangers loan star Kai Kennedy must start against Raith Rovers