Murrayfield Wanderers 22 Dunfermline 26, National League, Division Four

GAVIN EMERSON praised his Dunfermline players after they won at Murrayfield Wanderers to end a run of three successive defeats.

The McKane Park club's first XV hadn't tasted victory since a 31-5 triumph over Ross High, on September 30, before Saturday's trip to the capital, having since lost to Greenock Wanderers, Garnock and North Berwick.

Head coach Emerson revealed that his players held a self-led meeting on the back of their narrow 10-8 loss at home to the latter, and it appeared to inspire them to a second win over Murrayfield this season.

Dunfermline won the reverse encounter by a single point - 32-31 - at the beginning of September, and it was another close match in the shadow of the home of Scottish Rugby.

The visitors led 16-7 at the break, and added 10 more points in the second half, and held on to win despite Wandies scoring 15 points of their own.

Lewis Cumming, Harvey Gardiner and 18-year-old Andrew Storie, who contributed 16 points, all crossed the try line for Dunfermline, and Emerson commented: "We had a good week. The coaches had Tuesday off and the players led the session, just to give the coaches a bit of head space, and then I think the players had a bit of a meeting amongst themselves, just to reassess are they doing everything right, and get a bit of a players' forum.

"That proved to work well given the guys came in on Thursday in good spirits, and then transferred that into Saturday.

"The result on paper looks close, but we went in with our game plan saying any opportunity we get to get points, we're taking them, regardless if it's two, three, whatever. We're not going to be greedy and try and chase a bonus point where we just need to get win, and just try and keep ourselves in the lead throughout the game to avoid the heads going down.

"We managed to get away with that and it was great. The boys played well; they kept themselves going throughout. We had young Andrew, an 18-year-old at 10, and he took 16 points for the team, which was fabulous.

"It was good just to get things back on track, and it was something for the guys to celebrate. Obviously, the seconds' result didn't go that well (they lost 38-10 at Alloa in Caledonia Midlands Region League, Division Two), but from a club perspective, it did go well.

"They (the seconds) turned up, they got two scores, and from the coaches' feedback, they played well, but just to show the level of involvement that the players have, whether they're playing ones or twos on Saturday, they actually celebrated when they heard that the ones got the victory. They played a massive part in that through the Tuesday-Thursday preparations. That was brilliant.

"It just puts us on a good foot and gets us a little bit further away from the bottom end of the table, which is what we really want to try and stay clear of."

Emerson continued: "They (Murrayfield) took a red card and that then pushed their players into a better head space, and they got hungry, where we didn't raise our game and think, right, they're a man down here, we've got an opportunity to get more space and attack it.

"We always had the couple of points in it. It probably did creep into our heads on the sidelines, right, are we going to do what we did last week here and just fall away? Testament to the boys. We didn't, we kept plugging away, and we got the four points which were very much needed.

"The pitch was lovely, nice and flat, and it was really iconic playing in front of Murrayfield, so it was lovely. We did take a couple of early injuries to two of our forwards, which is probably going to see them out for quite a while to be honest. We've got a suspected broken foot, and one of our guys has burst a disc in his back, but testament to the boys on the bench. We brought the replacements on, and they kept the momentum going.

"It was great. We just need to try and build on that this week and go to Whitecraigs."

Dunfermline, who sit sixth in the table, make the trip west to play third-top Whitecraigs for the first time this season, with the match having been postponed from its original date of October 7.

"We've not seen Whitecraigs before but, going on how the Glasgow teams are, it'll be quite stuffy up front, so it'll probably be an arm wrestle for us," Emerson added.

"It's something we're hoping that we're able to step up to and come away with another win this week.

"It's just a bit of growth and development for the guys. If we get a win this weekend, we climb a bit further, which is what we're after.

"We just felt that little bit of pressure off ourshoulders after the full-time whistle on Saturday. It was nice, and the guys deserved it. They've shown a lot of resilience over the past few weeks when things haven't gone our way; they've kept turning up and kept working hard.

"Fair play. It was a big squad effort from the 30 plus guys that are turning up to training to support the 19 that are picked."

Saturday's fixture kicks off at 2pm.