Dean Shiels has confessed he is desperate to bring in the new year with the sweet taste of a derby victory over bitter rivals Falkirk.
The Dunfermline midfielder has found himself at the centre of a distasteful controversy following a meeting of the two sides in the Irn-Bru Cup earlier in the season.
Falkirk pair Kevin O’Hara and Joe McKee were accused of abusing Shiels over his missing eye and were subsequently found guilty of “excessive misconduct” at SFA disciplinary hearings.
O’Hara was hit with an eight-match suspension and McKee a four-game censure, with both still sidelined for tomorrow’s potentially powder-keg encounter at East End Park.
Shiels was red-carded in the game in question back in October and a month later both Kallum Higginbotham and Declan McManus were sent off in the league clash.
With Craig Sibbald and Lee Miller dismissed when the teams met back in August, it seems bad blood is never far from the surface.
Shiels, a veteran of derbies during spells with Rangers, Hibs and Kilmarnock, has refused to publicly discuss the unsavoury episode but admits a win against the Bairns would be significant.
He said: “The matches against Falkirk have been good games and, obviously, they are ones that our fans definitely want to win.
“It gives you that wee bit extra motivation.
“But, at the end of the day, it is three points and we want to win every game, not just because it is a derby.
“I have played in the Old Firm derby, Hibs v Hearts and the Ayrshire derby too.
“They are good games and the players understand what it means to the supporters.
“It is definitely a game that we want to be winning.
“I enjoyed them all because it adds that bit of spice to it.
“It’s against your rivals, you are aware that it’s a derby and that there is a little bit more at stake for the supporters and people in their local areas for bragging rights.”