Dunfermline are on the hunt for a new manager after Allan Johnston’s tenure at East End Park was ended yesterday.
Courier Sport understands that Jim Goodwin, Alan Archibald and Darren Young are the early frontrunners, with former Pars favourite Jackie McNamara an outsider.
Goodwin has been a big success with Alloa, whose part-time team’s two-goal comeback against the Pars on Saturday sealed Johnston’s fate.
Young, an ex-Dunfermline player, has achieved promotions with Albion Rovers and East Fife and has taken the Methil club into the League One play-off places this season.
Archibald was sacked by Partick Thistle in October but was Scotland’s second longest serving boss at the time and had led the Glasgow club to promotion to the top flight.
McNamara is still popular with the Pars support from his playing days but, after doing well at Partick and initially with Dundee United as a young manager, things went horribly wrong at Tannadice and then York City.
Stevie Crawford will also be considered for the post and has an early chance to impress as he will be in charge against United on Saturday – ironically in the opposite dug-out to the man he worked beside at Hearts and MK Dons, Robbie Neilson.
Johnston was appointed at East End in 2015 but leaves after a run of just three wins in their last 12 Championship games.
There was a board meeting last night, at which the decision to seek a new manager was arrived at.
The Pars confirmed that Johnston and his number two Sandy Clark had left the club in a statement, with chairman Ross McArthur saying: “I wish to place on record our sincere thanks to Allan and Sandy for their considerable efforts on behalf of our club. We wish them well in the future.
“Stevie Crawford has agreed today to take charge of the team for Saturday’s visit to Tannadice.”
Johnston had been the sixth longest serving manager in the SPFL, and won the League One title with Dunfermline in his first season in charge.
The Pars finished fifth in the second tier the following year before losing out to Dundee United in the play-offs last term.
Johnston’s departure comes after McArthur released a recent statement in which he described the behaviour of a minority of supporters as “disgraceful”.
The Pars chairman revealed that the families of club employees, including Johnston’s, and even ball boys and girls had been verbally abused.
He said at the time: “This is not an attempt to distract from the fact that so far this season, results are not what any of us would have hoped for and that supporters will feel disappointed and frustrated, as I do too.
“I fully accept that I, the board and the manager are all accountable for this.
“However, what I will not accept is the level of abuse affecting the families of our employees including those of the players, manager and me.
“Sadly, there has been a number of recent instances where several of our own players, the manager, the coaching staff and the directors have been routinely abused by our own supporters. It has also now spread to abusing our families too.”