KYLE MACDONALD has already sprinted his way into the Pars’ scoring charts and he is backing his team to be contenders in the Championship race.

The 21-year-old, who joined the club in January from Airdrieonians, scored his first goal in a Dunfermline shirt in last Saturday’s 4-2 win at Partick Thistle, in what was just his sixth appearance.

He clocked up his seventh and eighth in Tuesday’s defeat at St Mirren, and Saturday's 5-1 hammering of Dumbarton respectively, in a right wing back role, and reckons that the “bonus” of five games last season will stand him in good stead for the upcoming campaign.

Speaking to Press Sport ahead of the competitive action getting under way, MacDonald has been enthused by the impact of new manager Peter Grant, and shares his belief that Athletic can challenge for the title and promotion to the Premiership.

“That’s what the gaffer says as well; there’s no point starting a race if you don’t want to win it,” he said.

“I know there’s good teams in it this year, as well as last year, but we’ve got to back ourselves. What’s the point of going into it if you don’t think you can do it?

“We’ve got to go in with a good bit of belief. We’re fit, ready to go and let’s hopefully start a really good season and go for it. Why not?

“The training’s been really good. It’s been hard; you can see the way he wants to play, he wants one-, two-touch football, wants the ball moving really quick, and he’s putting that across in training every day.

“There’s lots of possession drills, lots of passes and things like that, so he’s just reinforcing his ideas and trying to get us to play the way he wants us to play. It’s going well just now, training’s got a good intensity about it.

“Especially with the way he wants to play, it maybe takes a bit of time.”

MacDonald could only watch as Dunfermline’s Premiership dreams were ended by rivals Raith Rovers in their play-off quarter-final tie last term and, when asked if the team can use that as motivation this time around, he replied: “We’ve got to.

“I never played in those games but even watching, I wanted to play. I was dying to get on the pitch, dying to show what I could do, dying to show I was a good player.

“I want to show that I can play in this league and show that I can play at a top team in this league. I want Dunfermline to be that top team at the end of the season. That’s why I came here.

“It’s down to me to prove that I’m good enough to play at this level. We’ve got good players in the squad, maybe better players than I’ve had to battle with for positions before, but I’ve got to believe in myself that I can do it.

“Last season was a bonus because I wasn’t meant to be here; I was meant to go back on loan to Airdrie. Those five games I played, I can take that experience into this season.

“I’ve had those games, I know I can play at this level, so I’ve just got to take it into this season and kick on again.”