Dunfermline manager Stevie Crawford is glad James Keatings has been given a cup final reprieve but is convinced the good news will not have any bearing on tonight’s clash with Inverness Caley Thistle.

The Scottish FA’s decision to look again at the yellow card for simulation that ruled Keatings out of Caley Thistle’s Challenge Cup final against Raith Rovers next month has afforded the Highlanders and their striker a timely pick-me-up for their trip to East End Park.

During his spell as Hearts assistant-manager, Crawford worked with the 28-year-old and is thrilled his former charge will now be freed to play in the final.

However, he believes the controversial episode and its happy ending will not be allowed to affect Inverness’ preparations for this evening’s crucial league encounter.

He said: “I worked with James at Hearts. He’s got a decent left foot on him and he’s a very good finisher.

“I never like to see any player missing out on a cup final, whether it’s in the World Cup, European football, Scottish football or at any level.

“When you’ve played your part in the run-up to the final, it is never nice to see someone miss out through whatever circumstances.

“But I don’t think that will have an effect on how Inverness prepare for our game. Robbo and his staff will take care of that.

“James has proved over the years that he’s a very good Championship player and I wouldn’t expect anything other than him being fully focused on this game, whether that ban was to be overturned or not.”

Putting the SFA quarrel to one side, Inverness will be intent on shrugging off Friday night’s 2-1 defeat to Dundee United at Tannadice.

It was a result that left the Highlanders just one point clear in second place and means Dunfermline can move to within two points of their visitors with a victory that would lift the Fifers to fourth in the table.

The Pars will have to overcome a lay-off that, because of cup scheduling in the previous fortnight, stretched to over three weeks on Saturday with the postponement of their trip to face Partick Thistle.

However, Crawford, who will be without new loan signing from QPR, Dylan Duncan, because of a foot injury, is hopeful his players will be able to cope as they relish a return to the action.

He added: “It’s not ideal that we’ve gone this long without a competitive fixture but we’re trying everything to make sure we’re keeping the boys in good condition and ready for the demands of a competitive game.

“Inverness are a physical side and they’re sitting second in the league. I know they’ll be disappointed to have lost up at Dundee United on Friday, but it’s always a tough fixture.

“We can’t control the weather or the way the fixture list has panned out. The one thing we can do is try to prepare properly and face what comes up against us.

“We know it’s going to be a tough game but the boys have been applying themselves in training and they’re really looking forward to getting themselves back on the pitch to play a competitive game.

“We know the challenges. We’re coming up against a team that’s sitting above us in the league, but it’s a game that we’re hoping to take all three points from.”