Dunfermline keeper Paul Gallacher hoping to stay in SPL

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland
Dunfermline lost out to fellow strugglers Hibs on Saturday
Dunfermline lost out to fellow strugglers Hibs at East End Park on Saturday

Injured Dunfermline goalkeeper Paul Gallacher admits it will be agonising watching the East End Park side try to avoid relegation.

The 32-year-old is out for the season with a shoulder problem.

With the Fifers four points adrift at the foot of the SPL, Gallacher accepts simply surviving is now the priority.

"To finish second-bottom would be fantastic. If we stay in the league, we've achieved our objective," Gallacher told BBC Scotland.

"We'd like to get a run of victories and get ourselves up the table, but we've got to be realistic and come the last day of the season, if we finish second-bottom, obviously we'll be delighted."

But Gallacher's ability to influence the course of Dunfermline's season was ended when he was injured against Hearts at the end of December, and was subsequently ruled out for six months.

"Rudi Skacel fell on me and as a consequence of that I've strained ligaments," he explained.

"I've ruptured quite a few and I've also got a fracture at the top of the bone, so it's quite significant damage, which will require surgery to put a couple of pins in place and repair the tendons that have been ruptured.

"I'm in for an operation, which is not ideal. I'd rather be playing but at the minute I'm a frustrated supporter, out there cheering the boys on.

"I get frustrated watching the games. I don't enjoy it at all. I'd rather be out on the pitch trying to gain points and help us get up the board.

"At St Mirren I was out for about eight weeks with a knee injury, but six months is a long time to be out.

"Mentally and psychologically it'll be a trying time for me, but it gets me fully focused on trying to be ready for pre-season."

Gallacher's initial replacement was Chris Smith, but a number of costly mistakes led to him being replaced on Saturday by on-loan signing Iain Turner, who was himself at fault for Hibernian's winning goal in a 3-2 defeat.

Gallacher admitted he felt for Smith, who will return for the Scottish Cup replay against Inverness Caledonian Thistle since Turner is ineligible.

"I've been in that situation myself," Gallacher continued. "You go in and try to impress. He's unfortunate he's made a couple of errors and on top of that, we've brought in big Iain, so there's competition for places now.

"It looks like he (Smith) will probably play on Wednesday, so he's got an opportunity to try to rectify any mistakes he thinks he's made and show the fans what a good keeper he is."

And though Gallacher has seen little of Turner in action, he believes the former Everton man's track-record proves Dunfermline have made a good signing.

"He's had a couple of loan deals to some fairly high-profile clubs and he's been in a lot of Scotland squads, so he's obviously a good calibre goalkeeper."