HAVING crossed the divide over the Kincardine Bridge, Coll Donaldson knows that the fans who used to cheer him may feel differently when he returns to Dunfermline.

“That’s football. It’s all about the rivalries,” was the centre back’s assessment on whether he anticipates a hot reception from some Pars fans this Saturday while wearing a Falkirk shirt.

But, although the 27-year-old is focused on doing his job for the Bairns, he admitted to being “gutted” with how his short stint as a Pars player ended last season.

In January, Donaldson arrived at Athletic on loan from Ross County as one of seven signings then manager John Hughes, who had replaced Peter Grant in November, made in a bid to steer the club away from a relegation battle.

Despite the North Berwick native’s best efforts, which included scoring two goals in 18 appearances, Dunfermline couldn’t beat the drop, suffering relegation after defeat over two legs to Queen’s Park in the Championship play-off semi-finals.

Coll Donaldson will return to KDM Group East End Park with Falkirk (main pic) following his loan spell last season (inset). Photos: Main pic - Jim Payne. Inset - Craig Brown.

Coll Donaldson celebrates scoring for the Pars at Ayr United last season. Photo: Craig Brown.

That marked the end of Donaldson’s time with the club and, after his contract expired in Dingwall, he moved to the Falkirk Stadium on a two-year contract.

He joins a lengthy list of players to have turned out for both clubs, which includes Sir Alex Ferguson, Ivo Den Bieman, Owen Coyle and Jackie McNamara, while current Pars stars Kevin O’Hara, Deniz Mehmet and Nikolay Todorov, and Bairns defenders Ryan Williamson and Paul Watson, have also featured in both black and white and navy blue.

He has played in eight of Falkirk’s 11 matches so far in all competitions, including their recent defeat at Kelty Hearts, after which he caught up with Press Sport.

Perhaps understandably, it was a disappointed Donaldson that emerged following that loss at New Central Park, which was a first League One win of the season for John Potter’s side, and one the defender described as “comfortable” for the hosts.

The meeting with James McPake’s Pars side, who are unbeaten and top of the table, is a fixture that rarely needs hyping up, given the rivalry that exists between the clubs less than 20 miles apart.

When asked if he anticipated a hot reception on his return in a Bairns top, Donaldson replied: “Of course. That’s football. It’s all about the rivalries. I’m a football supporter myself, so I know what it’s like, but I’m looking forward to it when it comes about.”

With Hughes stepping down from his position following Athletic’s drop to League One, and McPake taking over, Donaldson said there was no offer made to him to move to West Fife permanently before he settled on a reunion with Bairns boss John McGlynn, with whom he had worked previously at Livingston.

“There was a lot going on there in the summer,” he continued.

“I didn’t really speak to anyone once I’d left. I was obviously gutted with how things ended there last season but I’m a Falkirk player now.

“I gave 100 per cent every game but that’s your bare minimum. You’re paid to be a footballer, so go out and give your best on a Saturday. I don’t think that’s difficult, or anything to brag about, either.

“I felt my performances there were decent but, on the whole, it was really disappointing the way it ended.

“There were a couple of things but, once I’d spoken to John (Falkirk boss McGlynn), and knowing John before, after the last year I’ve had, where there was six months not playing in the Highlands, and then the six months we ended up getting relegated with Dunfermline, I was just desperate to try and get back enjoying it.

“I thought Falkirk and the gaffer was my best opportunity.”

Donaldson’s current side are fifth, four points behind Dunfermline, having won three and lost two of their opening six fixtures, but he said: “I’m enjoying it. I worked under the manager before, which was a big selling point for me, and I obviously had a wee injury, a sort of niggle, a wee bit from last season.

“But, since I’ve got fit, I’ve been enjoying playing games, and enjoying working with the squad.”

Falkirk will arrive in West Fife looking to make amends for their last trip to the Kingdom, which gave Kelty their first win of the League One season.

Coll Donaldson will return to KDM Group East End Park with Falkirk (main pic) following his loan spell last season (inset). Photos: Main pic - Jim Payne. Inset - Craig Brown.

Donaldson battles former Pars defender, Lewis Martin, for the ball in the Bairns' clash with Kelty Hearts. Photo: Jim Payne.

Donaldson described that defeat as "extremely disappointing" against a "good, organised Kelty side", which came after a League Cup exit at Championship Dundee.

Prior to that, the Bairns had notched up three successive league wins, and Donaldson believes that the race for promotion will be tight.

"We've spoken about that. These aren't things that we need told; it's finding that consistency," he added.

"We thought we'd found it with three wins on the bounce, then you come here (to Kelty), bottom of the league, turned over.

"You need to pick the bones out of it and not let it happen again. I think after Airdrie (a 4-0 loss last month), we had that sort of chat, and we responded well with three wins, but we can't get turned over to then think 'oh well, we need to not let that happen again'.

"We've still got a long, long way to go as a team, as a squad, and we'll be working hard to put things right."