STEVIE CRAWFORD has said that he "couldn't be prouder" of his team's efforts over the last two weeks after watching Dunfermline clinch a promotion play-off place.

On a thrilling afternoon at East End Park, the Pars eventually edged Arbroath 4-3 in a 90 minutes that featured two penalty kicks and the hosts having a 2-0 lead after just 15 minutes wiped out before the break.

Craig Wighton - who produced a terrific display - won his side a 10th minute penalty, which was clinically netted by Declan McManus, before Kevin O'Hara's well-taken goal doubled their advantage.

However, Jack Hamilton's close range finish after half an hour was followed minutes later by a Nicky Low spot-kick for Arbroath, who were looking for the points to secure their place in the Championship.

Wighton's second half double seemed to put Dunfermline in command, only for Scott Stewart's fine header to ensure a nervy finish with eight minutes to go.

The Pars, though, saw it out and, as a result of Inverness' defeat Hearts, it means they can finish no lower than fourth.

A date with either Raith Rovers or Dundee, on May 5 and May 9, awaits and Crawford said afterwards that it was an emotional rollercoaster for he and his coaching staff, as well as his players and the club's supporters.

"That was our objective from the start of the season (to reach the play-offs) and I can’t be prouder of the players in the last two weeks," he commented.

"There was pressure on us, and we will still prepare properly for the Alloa game on Friday night, but to have scored seven goals and faced what we have faced is a credit to us all.

" I thought we got off to a tremendous start to the season. The second third was a hard period in terms of fixtures but you are going to face that over the course of a season.

"We knew that there were going to be three big games coming up at the end and thankfully we have managed to do it with a game to spare with two good victories over Queens and Arbroath today."

Arbroath piled on the pressure after making it 4-3 and Crawford joked that he, Greg Shields and Jason Dair were all tempted to "start throwing ourselves at it".

But he credited his players' attitude, and continued: "Credit to Arbroath, they were throwing everything at us in a never say die attitude to come from two goals down to level the game.

"Again I thought that there was a positive reaction from us. We lost a goal against Queens last week but we went up the park and scored another. That takes a certain mentality and I do think that we are improving as a squad.

"I have said it before I think that there is potential in the squad that we can get better. We have not maximised where we are at yet. We will enjoy the fact that we are now in the play offs and it is guaranteed and prepare for the Alloa game on Friday.

"Decisions were made today. Declan McManus is playing with a shoulder that is strapped up. He didn’t want to rule himself out of the game and he has been a big part since coming back into the team.

"You take Declan off today for no other reason other than he is carrying a shoulder injury and he has given us what he can.

"Big Vytas, there was nothing wrong with his performance but there is a guy who has come over from Lithuania in the lockdown to live on a flat and people forget that. To come out under difficult circumstances at the moment, he is a human being and when results don’t go for you it takes character and he will be the first to say that the players have rallied round to make him feel welcome at Dunfermline. I think that it has shown in his performances.

"As I said there were decisions made in the last couple of weeks, it personal decisions just the right decisions to win games of football. That is what we have to remain focused on."

While Dunfermline have secured their Premiership play-off spot, Arbroath go into the final day on Friday looking to secure Championship football for next season.

The Lichties remain seventh on 29 points, one ahead of both Ayr United and Greenock Morton.

While Ayr travel to Inverness, Dick Campbell's host Morton, who are currently second bottom and in the relegation play-off place on goal difference.

If Arbroath avoid defeat, they will be safe, and former Pars boss Campbell saw plenty of positives from his team.

"It's all down to us. The place to be next week is Arbroath; it'll be a game, I can assure you of that," he said.

"My players gave me their lot, and that's all I ask for as a manager, so I've not got any complaints. I wish Dunfermline all the best as well, they're my club anyway, and they did well today to score four. But just talking about my own team, I've no complaints whatsoever."

He did, however, have a complaint over Dunfermline's third goal.

In the build-up, Thomas O'Brien jumped over the back of O'Hara in attempting to win the ball and landed on his shoulder.

Referee Steven McLean saw no foul and allowed play to continue.

As Arbroath's players stopped looking for a free-kick, Ewan Henderson slipped the ball through for Wighton, who finished brilliantly under goalkeeper Derek Gaston.

Campbell was also unhappy with the decision to award Dunfermline a penalty, commenting: "The penalty Dunfermline got in the first half is the softest they'll get all season.

"However, they got it, the second goal's a great goal - was it O'Hara? He's running the length of the pitch and we've not been guilty of losing four goals.

"The third goal is the argumentative point to me. Their striker doesn't even jump; Tam jumps to header it, the boy backs into him, and he has a bad fall on his shoulder right in front of the referee. Everybody stops, and they play on.

"I said to the referee in there, why did you not give a foul there? It wasn't a head knock. So I said are you trying to tell me it has to be a head knock? I said you're an experienced referee. I thought it was a serious injury. So they got the break there.

"Then the fourth goal I thought was a good goal. I know Craig; I had him long before Dunfermline had him, and Craig Wighton's got that in his make-up.

"But the credits for me are for my team. When you see Dunfermline playing the game out there, and taking 20 minutes on every kick from the goalkeeper, for me there was only one team that was worried - it was Dunfermline. I wasn't worried. It was the way it is.

"If we'd got beat today, which we did, I wouldn't have complained. I didn't think there was anything between the two teams, I'm very proud of my own players, but defensively we're not used to losing four goals."