FORFAR Athletic earned their place in the First Division play-off semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Ayr United on Saturday, writes Sarah McLean.
The Loons needed a win to leapfrog Arbroath to get back into fourth place and with the Lichties losing 1-0 to Alloa Athletic it was enough to do just that.
The first leg of the semi-final will take place tonight (Wednesday, May 8) at Station Park against Dunfermline Athletic.
Loons’ boss Dick Campbell said: “I said last week that all we had to concentrate on was us winning and we went on and did that.
“I am very happy with the result, the conditions were horrific. But at this stage of the game it’s not about how you play but about the results.”
The manager has already decided his team for tonight and Gavin Swankie is available once again.
Michael Bolochoweckjy trained earlier in the week alongside Steven Tulloch and Martyn Fotheringham, however, the manager says it would be too soon a return for them.
Speaking after the game, assistant manager Ian Campbell said: “We have come a long way.
“We have had a few injured players, defensively we have not been as good as we should have been but we have played some really smashing football and scored a few lucky goals.
“So probably in the end we deserve to be in this position.
“We are now delighted to go into the play-offs and see what we can do because really we have not got a lot to lose.
“Of course we will be organised and professional. We are also playing Dick and I’s home team so we are delighted about that.
“I am delighted for the fans and the club and the players, because I think they deserve it. Simple as that.
“I think that it has been a bit of a journey and there are some things we have been disappointed in but we have also been encouraged and enthused by a lot of things.
“The youth teams are doing well, there are young players coming through and we are starting to play some nice football - the team are playing the way we would want them to play.
“I’m just absolutely over the moon.
“The result went for us and we deserved it. Last week we went down to Stranraer and were magnificent.
“The conditions [on Saturday] spoiled the game, there is no doubt about that, but we work hard and are starting to get a wee bit belief in ourselves.
“We lost an unfortunate goal but we still came back from that which was the main thing.
“There is a tremendous spirit at the club.
“Dunfermline will have to be starting favourites because they are a full-time club, they have good players and they are a club we respect but bring it on!”
Following discussions yesterday morning the police have advised that they wish segregation to be enforced on the terracing on the night, similar to the arrangements for the Pars’ visit in the Ramsdens Cup in July.
Within the stand area the segregation will be on a voluntary basis and Forfar Athletic season ticket holders who wish to stay in their normal seats in the west end of the stand can do so.
On the terracing Forfar supporters will enter by the main turnstile block in Carseview Road and occupy the East Terracing, the North Terracing and South East half of the covered enclosure.
Dunfermline supporters will enter by the turnstile block at the North East corner of the ground and occupy the West Terracing and the South West half of the covered enclosure.
Free coach/car parking facilities for visiting fans will be available in the Forfar Mart Car Park adjacent to the North/East turnstile block. Access is off Jail Road through the Market Muir which is signposted.
The usual admission prices will apply. Ground admission will be £12 with Under-17s and those 65 and over £6. Stand prices are £13/£7.
Forfar Athletic season tickets are valid for the game utilising voucher 24.
A spokesman for the club said: “All connected with the club from the directors to the youngest fan would obviously like to pass on their congratulations to Dick, his back room staff and the players on their achievement in reaching the play-off stage.
“It is hoped that the local public will turn out in reasonable numbers on Wednesday to give their backing to Mark [McCulloch] and his team-mates, especially with the Pars’ likely to bring a substantial travelling support.
“It will be Jim Jeffries side’s second visit of the season to Station Park, the first on a sunny July afternoon in the Ramsdens Cup resulting in a 3-2 win for the home side in front of a crowd of 840.”
The second leg will be at East End Park on Saturday with a 3 p.m. kick-off.
A supporters’ coach for the semi-final second leg at East End Park on Saturday will be available.
The coach will depart from the Myre Car Park at 12.45 p.m. and the subsidised cost of a seat will be £7.
Coach tickets will be on sale from the Loons Direct Shop prior to kick-off, at half time and after the final whistle tonight.