STEVIE CRAWFORD admits that he is "frustrated" that Athletic's cup corker with old foes Falkirk will be played without fans.

But the Pars head coach is confident that the commitment and attitude of his players will ensure that the game tonight (Friday) night is no less passionate on the pitch as he eyes Betfred Cup progression for a fourth successive season.

In the past three campaigns, Dunfermline have progressed from the group stage to reach the last 16, losing to Rangers and Hearts under previous manager Allan Johnston, and then to Celtic – only after extra-time – under Crawford's stewardship last term.

They face a Bairns side that, having been awarded a 3-0 win over Kilmarnock after the Ayrshire side forfeited the tie between the clubs on Tuesday, will have similar ideas of winning the group and reaching the knockout phase.

The game, which is being beamed live by Premier Sports, is the Pars' first competitive home game since a 1-1 draw with Queen of the South on March 7, and is a fixture that would have guaranteed a large attendance.

That is not to be but, speaking after Tuesday's 1-0 win at Dumbarton, Crawford said: "I thought it was played to a decent intensity considering the lay-off the boys have had.

"The Falkirk game brings that edge to it. I'm not going to kid anyone on, there's a frustration at not having the supporters there. It will take something away from it but, if the boys can apply the same attitude and commitment levels they did the other night, I'm sure it will be a tasty affair.

"We know that it will be a challenging game. We've looked into Falkirk over the course of pre-season to try and have an idea of what they're all about.

"They've added a very good squad that's going to be competing at the right end of League One to try and get back into the Championship, so we just have to make sure we pick the right starting 11. A massive thing for us was the impact that the substitutions had the other night, coming off the bench, that allowed us to go on and win the game against Dumbarton.

"Overall, it's making sure there's a focus to winning games. I've said that I want to progress in this tournament. We have done for the last few years now and it's about collectively looking to play together as a team and win games."

Crawford, who said that Lewis Martin picked up a slight injury problem during pre-season but is back training, admitted he was still in the dark as to whether his team's scheduled trip to Kilmarnock on Tuesday will go ahead.

Their whole first-team squad were asked to self-isolate for 14 days last Friday after six positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed at the club, and the game with Dunfermline falls within that period.

"We've really just got to control what we can control," he added.

"There's been situations already in the season where it's affecting clubs at different times and it's not great when you see that Kilmarnock have ended up picking up the virus and losing out on points to Falkirk but the rules state that.

"As we're speaking at this moment, I'm no further forward in knowing if the game's going to go ahead but we'll very much prepare. No-one's told us otherwise so we'll prepare for the Falkirk game and be in over the weekend to make sure that we're preparing right for the Kilmarnock game on Tuesday."

Meanwhile, Athletic's home Championship clash with Hearts next month has been chosen for live broadcast by BBC Scotland.

The game, which had been due to be played on Saturday November 21, has been brought forward to Friday November 20, with kick off at 7.45pm.