FORMER Pars boss Allan Johnston has returned to the game after being confirmed as Queen of the South boss for a second time.

The 45-year-old, who left East End in January, has returned to the Doonhamers after they parted company with Gary Naysmith following their 3-0 defeat to Partick Thistle on Saturday.

That result, combined with Alloa Athletic's draw at Ayr United, which also consigned Falkirk to automatic relegation, means the Dumfries club enter the play-offs in a bid to preserve their Championship status.

They will take on Montrose - managed by former Par Stewart Petrie, who was last weekend inducted into Athletic's Hall of Fame - over two legs this week, and Queens chairman, Billy Hewitson, said: "After taking the decision to relieve Gary of his duties, it was vital that we moved quickly to put the new man in place.

"As a club, we have a very important week ahead and his priority will be to lift the players and have them up for two games against Montrose as we aim to hold on to our Championship status.

"Allan is someone who knows the club and the division very well and we feel he is the ideal appointment."

Johnston, who will again be assisted by Sandy Clark, led Queens to the Second Division title and the Challenge Cup in 2012/13 before moving to Kilmarnock.

Following his departure from Rugby Park, Johnston was appointed Pars boss in the summer of 2015 and immediately led the club to the League One title.

After finishing fifth in their first season back in the second tier, Dunfermline pipped Inverness Caledonian Thistle to fourth place - and a play-off place - last season but were knocked out by Dundee United in the quarter-finals.

He signed a fresh two-year contract to remain at the club but, despite an encouraging start, he left the club following a 2-2 draw with Alloa - in which the visitors scored a stoppage time leveller after fighting back from 2-0 down - which left the team in seventh place.