STEVEN LAWLESS admits he has been left with a massive point to prove at Dunfermline as he lets out 18 months of frustration.

The winger is in line to make his debut for the Pars in this afternoon’s Fife derby against Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park after penning a short-term deal this week.

It will be the 30-year-old’s first game in almost five months and is expected to be just his 12th league start since leaving Livingston for Burton Albion in July 2020.

The former Partick Thistle stalwart spent only six months south of the border before leaving Burton for ‘family reasons’.

And, then irritated by a lack of opportunities at Motherwell, he eventually negotiated his early release from Fir Park in October.

Lawless decided it would be better to know he was not playing until January rather than be constantly exasperated to be left out in the cold with the Steelmen.

It is a spell that has left him determined to make a telling impact with Dunfermline - and no better place to start than a clash with the Pars’ local rivals.

He said: “My debut is going to have a wee bit of added spice, being a derby, and I can’t wait.

“But, to be honest, I would look forward to any game just as much, because I’ve not played many games in the last wee while.

“It’s been a stop-start for me, basically since I left Livingston.

“I picked up a couple of niggling injuries and then even when I did play I was played out of position.

“It’s been disappointing, more so because I don’t feel I got a fair chance at Burton or Motherwell.

“Since I left Livingston, I’ve played only something like four or five games in the position I did so well in at Livingston.

“I’m just looking forward to getting as many games as possible in that right position for Dunfermline and hopefully I can replicate that Livingston form.

“I’ve never felt I couldn’t have done that again at Burton or Motherwell. I just felt I didn’t get the right opportunities there.

“I was training really well at Motherwell and felt I should be getting the opportunity.

“But sometimes you’re just not to a manager’s fancy and knowing I wasn’t going to get a chance, even though I was training really well, was the most frustrating thing.

“So, rather than feeling frustrated every weekend and maybe being a bit angry, I decided it would be best for myself to get away and get a clear head.

“I do feel ready to go now, so I’m really looking forward to it - and I’ve obviously got something to prove as well.”

Lawless is convinced John Hughes’ passing style can bring out the best in him at Dunfermline.

But, with the Pars sitting joint bottom of the Championship, he is fully aware of the relegation battle he has stepped into.

He added: “Nobody is under any illusions. We’ve got must-win games now.

“We need to pick up as many points as possible as quickly as possible, and then hopefully that will breed some confidence and we can play the way the manager wants us to play.”