Dunfermline remain rooted to the foot of the Championship following Saturday’s forgettable 0-0 draw against Hamilton.
Both sides struck the post — Craig Wighton for the Pars and Josh Mullin for Accies — but it was an encounter which reflected the lowly position of the clubs.
The air of nervousness and lack of quality in the final third was illustrative.
Courier Sport analyses the main takeaways from another disappointing afternoon on the Halbeath Road for the Dunfermline faithful.
East End Park drought
Dunfermline have locked the stable door.
Whether the horse has already bolted for manager Peter Grant remains to be seen.
The Pars have reverted to a back-four, have cut out the silly errors and look a far more compact, narrow unit without the ball.
The problems are now at the other end. A renewed focus on tightening up has coincided with a failure to hit the net.
They have not scored in four Championship fixtures this term. Results read: 0-3, 0-3, 0-0 and 0-0.
Jonathan Afolabi’s penalty against Queen of the South on March 7, 2020 remains Dunfermline’s last league goal in front of supporters at East End Park.
It is easy to see why their fans feel a little morose.
The last thing Dunfermline need is persistent, creeping injury concerns.
However, that is exactly what they have.
The withdrawal of Kai Kennedy was greeted with jeers from the home fans; Nikolay Todorov’s exit was met with bafflement. Craig Wighton also left the stage early.
However, all three players were toiling with knocks and Grant’s hand was forced.
The next 48 hours will be absolutely pivotal as Grant prays that he is able to select his strongest side at Stark’s Park on Wednesday.
Dorrans has not enjoyed an auspicious start to his Dunfermline career.
He was visibly off the pace in his initial outings, endured a nightmare on his return to face old club Rangers in August and was disgruntled with the criticism being received during a recent defeat at Ayr.
🎥 Footage from yesterday's 0-0 draw at home to Hamilton.
— Dunfermline Athletic (@officialdafc) September 26, 2021
However, a player doesn’t represent Scotland 12 times and make more than 450 senior appearances — representing the likes of West Brom and Norwich — without possessing quality.
In the last two fixtures, Dorrans has shown signs of life: more progressive passes; snapping into tackles; eating up the ground — his improvement has been a major positive.
There is no such thing as an inconsequential Fife derby between Dunfermline and Raith Rovers — however, from a Pars perspective, this one feels pivotal.
Should the East End Park outfit depart Kirkcaldy with a victory, then they could yet rack up seven points from the three fixtures preceding the October international break.
One suspects that is what it would take to give Dunfermline supporters any belief that embattled Grant can turn this ailing ship around.
Another draw — while respectable against a side of Rovers’ quality — will only serve to exacerbate a feeling of apathy; of sleepwalking to mediocrity.
Defeat? Then there is surely no way back.