NIKOLAY TODOROV has said that the support he has received from the Dunfermline fans gives him “extra motivation” on the pitch.

The Bulgarian centre forward, who netted his fourth goal of the season in the team’s most recent outing, a win at Queen of the South, has revealed the visible backing he has been given makes him proud – and that it has been noted by his family at home.

The 26-year-old, who is preparing to face one of his former clubs, Falkirk, in what promises to be a blockbuster clash at KDM Group East End Park this weekend, has been able to spot the flag of the country of his birth being waved in his honour by some Pars supporters at matches during the season.

That show of support has not gone unnoticed by Todorov, who left Inverness Caledonian Thistle to join Athletic last summer, and he explained to Press Sport that he was determined to repay it with a successful season.

“It’s been great. My wife’s been coming to the games so she’s taken pictures and I’ve sent them over to family,” he said.

“They live back home and it’s a really proud moment because the fans, since the minute I’ve came in, have been brilliant with me and showing their support.

“Even when I was not getting a lot of game time, they’ve still showed that, and showed the Bulgarian flag, so for me personally, it means a lot. They’ve been brilliant with me since the first minute I signed for the club so it gives me extra motivation to do even better.

“They’re doing their job and I can’t wait to go out and perform for them.”

If Todorov is able to conjure up another match-winning performance – his goal was the difference in Dunfermline’s third League One match of the campaign, at home to Montrose – against the Bairns, he’ll be well on his way to hero status among the crowd.

The Pars go into the match top of the table, and still unbeaten, six games in and are four points clear of their fifth-placed opponents.

They have also won four of the last six meetings between the clubs – the most recent being a 2-0 victory in a Premier Sports Cup tie in 2020 – but Todorov, who spent the latter half of the 2018/19 season, which saw the Bairns relegated to League One, at the Falkirk Stadium, insists it’s important for the players to play the game, not the occasion.

“For me personally, and I think everybody else in the team, it’s like any other team,” he continued.

“Our mentality is we treat it game by game; it doesn’t really matter who we’re playing against. We’re going out there for the three points and we don’t need to put extra pressure on if it’s a derby or not.

“Of course, for the fans, for the club’s history and everything, it’s a derby but we need to go with the mentality that it’s another game, be focused and listen to the manager’s instructions.

“I’ve been in this league before and it’s a very hard league. I think that’s the right attitude to have.”

During two loan spells with Livingston, while still a Heart of Midlothian player, Todorov was part of their team that won the division in 2016/17.

Captain Kyle Benedictus, who did so with Raith Rovers, is another who knows what it takes to become champions but, although he concedes it is too early to talk about that, Todorov continued: “I’ve won this league, when I was part of Livingston, and it was the same mentality when I was there.

“From my experience, I can say that’s the right mentality. I know exactly what’s needed for this league, and I’m just glad the manager has said the same things!

“It’s been great working with the manager (James McPake), and Dave (Mackay, his assistant) as well. The team spirit has been high; everybody’s working really hard.

“If we can do it with that mentality, every single one of us, I’m pretty sure we’ll have success.

“But, as I’ve said, we need to focus game by game. We just need to focus on doing on our jobs; we need to do our job every single week.”

Todorov also praised the togetherness within the squad, adding: “I think this comes mainly from the manager, the way he has been with every single one of us. He needs to get a lot of credit I think for the way he brought us all together.

“The guys have been brilliant as well. It’s just credit to every single one of the players and the manager but, as I said, we just need to keep going, and see where it can take us.”