ALLAN JOHNSTON hopes that Dunfermline’s first league loss will “re-focus” his team for this weekend’s top-of-the-table crunch.

The Pars boss was frustrated by his side’s collapse at Morton on Saturday, where they surrendered a two-goal advantage and were beaten by Jai Quitongo’s stoppage-time winner.

It knocked the Championship pace-setters off the summit to be replaced by St Mirren, who travel to East End this Saturday for what is set to be a cracking clash between the league’s top two.

While disappointed to see their five-game winning run in all competitions come to an end, Johnston believes that the nature of defeat could actually stand Athletic in good stead in their bid to bounce back and return to the top.

“It’s a hard place to go at the best of times but when you’re 2-0 up you expect to win the game,” he reflected.

“We’re better than what we showed in the second half. We’ve got to do more ourselves in terms of attacking because we weren’t anywhere near as good as we have been.

“Overall, it’s been a good start to the season but it shows you how competitive this league is. If you take your foot off the gas a wee bit, that’s what happens. Sometimes I think you need a bit of a wake-up call – it certainly gave us that.

“I’d have rather won the game, obviously, but I think it maybe just re-focuses everybody again. I can’t really complain though because the boys have been excellent but we’ve got to make sure come Saturday we’re ready.

“St Mirren are flying; they’re top of the league and will be coming here full of confidence so it’s going to be a hard game. But we’ve got a great record at home, there’ll be a great atmosphere so we’re really looking forward to it.

“We have to make sure we defend better than we did second half and that our energy and quality on the ball is back to where it was but we’re in a good place. We’ve just got to try and get consistency.

“I don’t think there’s anything to be scared of in this league; I think the boys have showed that already against the teams we’ve played. There’s a lot to play for this year and it’s going to be a really close season.

“It’s always encouraging when you put in the performances that we have been but you need to be able to handle a defeat and react to it.”

Johnston confirmed that Jason Talbot, who was injured on Saturday, will be fit to face the Buddies.