Michael Moffat is now in his third season as a Pars player and is possibly the most enigmatic player in the squad, dividing opinion among fans, mainly due to the differing expectations relating to his output. Signed from Ayr United in the summer of 2014 by then-Pars boss Jim Jefferies, the move was greeted enthusiastically by Dunfermline fans. Here was a striker who had scored 46 goals in 77 appearances for Ayr in the previous 2 seasons, and a total of 65 goals in total for the club. Seen as a natural finisher, he opened his Pars account with a very well taken goal against Annan in the League Cup in August 2014. By mid-September he had scored 4 goals, but then went on a run of 16 games without scoring; when he ended that sequence in January 2015, it was followed by a further 10 game goalless run, and he ended the season with 6 goals in 41 appearances. He was not helped by the miserable displays of a massively under-performing Dunfermline side, who finished seventh in League 1 and who had one manager (Jefferies) "resign" in mid-season, and another (John Potter) relieved of first team manager duties at the end of the season but retained by the club as a coach.
Last season was to prove much more successful for Moffat and the team, winning League 1 in style, with Moffat scoring 15 times, and proving to be the perfect striking partner for the emerging Faissal El Bakhtaoui. Moffat was the ideal foil for the French-Moroccan, and used his experience to guide the young forward through games, and unselfishly watched as El Bakhtaoui hit 30 goals and won multiple Player of the Year awards. Moffat's contribution did not go unrecognised by the fans, and indeed this blog named him as the Player of the Season based on having the most Man of the Match awards on the blog's match reports over the season - one more than El Bakhtaoui. The photo below shows Moffat accepting his Pars Review award at the club's end of season awards event.
This season has seen the Moff evolve into a play-maker as opposed to a typical number 9 goal poacher. His goal return has been modest - 5 goals to date, with echoes of his first season, as he has played through spells without a goal that have lasted 14 games, and then another of 12 games. During these lean periods, he has continued to contribute with a total of 9 goal assists - the second highest of any player in the squad, behind Kallum Higginbotham, averaging a goal assist every 234 minutes. As a striker, his assists total compares favourably with strikers from other Championship clubs: Jason Cummings of Hibs has 4 assists (1 every 563 minutes), Stephen Dobbie of Queen of the South has 11 assists (playing more minutes than Moffat, with an average of 1 assist every 273 minutes) while Falkirk's John Baird has 6 (an assist every 403 minutes). However, these players have out-scored Moffat, and so the debate as to his value to the team will continue.
A highly likeable character, Moffat has possibly the best footballing ability of any current Pars player - his touch, link-up play and passing ability are of a high standard, and for a player who is now 32, he still has a fair degree of pace, and is a very hard worker. At times he has appeared to lack confidence in front of goal, looking to pass to a team mate instead of shooting. At other times he has been unlucky not to have scored more, including the most recent game, against Ayr, when he hit the post with a glancing header and then forced an excellent save from Ayr keeper Greg Fleming with a shot from inside the penalty box.
If Moffat was more clinical he would be playing for a Premiership side, as the other key elements of his game, as noted above, are all in place. I would like him to remain at East End Park beyond the end of his current 1 year contract, as I feel he still has much to contribute to the team, despite his goal tally being less than hoped for.
Photos by Pars Review.