Frustration for Celtic's Jonathan Afolabi as Dunfermline fail to take big opportunity

By David Walton

March 5, 2020

It was a night of frustration for Jonathan Afolabi’s Dunfermline Athletic last night as they spurned a huge chance to throw themselves into the promotion playoff spots in the Championship.

Dundee had drawn 0-0 with Alloa Athletic on Tuesday night to give Afolabi’s Pars the chance to go above them when they faced Arbroath last night. However, Dunfermline were to be frustrated as they were held to a goalless draw.

Afolabi, on loan from Celtic, had one notable effort late on that flew off-target. However, he did come close to an assist with a positive run down the right before crossing for Euan Murray who failed to connect.

Celtic prospect Jonathan Afolabi (Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The striker came into the Arbroath game having just scored his first for the club against Dundee United at the weekend. However, the draw means that Dunfermline now sit two points behind fourth-placed Dundee having played a game more.

Afolabi did manage the full 90 minutes as he continues to have plenty of faith placed in him by Dunfermline boss Stevie Crawford.

Afolabi wasn’t playing alongside his regular partner

In an ideal world, Afolabi would be plying his trade alongside Dunfermline’s top scorer Kevin Nisbet. However, Crawford revealed that Nisbet was out injured on the club’s official website. It remains to be seen how long he’s out for.

That meant that Afolabi was up top with 19-year-old Gabby McGill. That may be a partnership that our young forward has to get used to developing.

But all that matters from our perspective is that Afolabi is getting regular game-time. The injury to Nisbet, whilst unfortunate, will likely mean that Afolabi stays in the team for the foreseeable future. From a Celtic perspective, that’s exactly what we’re after.

Jonathan Afolabi (Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The excitement of the promotion race down in the Championship is also a great experience for Afolabi. It gives him a taste of that first-team pressure that he’s going to have to get used to when he comes back to Parkhead.

However, last night’s game was highly disappointing for him. Dunfermline would’ve been looking to take a comfortable three points from Arbroath, regardless of it being away from home.

Next up for Afolabi is a home game vs Queen of the South on Saturday. To say it’s a must-win would probably be an understatement.

Is the Championship a good enough league to send our youngsters down to? How do you predict Afolabi will do between now and the summer? Let us know via our discussion forum below.