Dunfermline Athletic

Culture club goals top for Nizzy

Friday, 6th Dec 2019

“We’re off the back of two great wins and if we can get a win on Saturday it would round off a great week.

Reacting to being named the Ladbrokes Championship Player of the Month for November Kevin Nisbet acknowledged the part played by his boss and his team mates to enable him to pick up the award:-

“The gaffer has created a culture this season and it’s all about the team. It’s not about individuals. Obviously I’ll get a lot of the plaudits for scoring the goals but it comes down to my team mates and the chances they create for me.

“It’s great getting an award for the performances I’ve put in in the league this season and it proves what a good month I’ve had.”

Kevin has scored 16 goals since arriving at Dunfermline from Raith Rovers and six of those came in the three Championship games in November. He was confident that goals would come saying:-

“I always know I can score goals. At the start of the season the chances weren’t going in but I knew I had to keep at it and keep getting myself into good positions, as the gaffer kept telling me.

“All of a sudden, once you score a couple, you start scoring more and more, and every chance I get now I back myself one hundred percent to put it into the back of the net.”

Manager Stevie Crawford was full of praise for what Kevin has done in a short space of time having chosen to drop down the leagues to make his mark last season at Raith Rovers.

“To score 30 odd goals it doesn’t matter at what level you are playing at, it is an exceptional return. He started off the season flying, he went through a wee dry patch, as did the team, but his response and application at that time was important to us.

“He would be the first to admit. There was Josh Edwards the other night, he anticipated cutting out the pass, he drove forward with the ball, released it at the right time and Greg Kiltie then fired the ball across with height on it to allow Kevin to go and attack it.

“I have always said good strikers appreciate what is round about them and Kevin, Andy Ryan or any strikers that are playing that we have creativity that allows them to get goal scoring chances and score goals.”

Kevin echoed the importance of players round about him helping and went on to express appreciation to his manager for allowing him to pick up his first Player of the Month award since October last year:-

“Yes, definitely. There’s Dow, Kiltie, even Turner and Beadling chipping in with assists. It was a great touch from Tom Beadling for my fourth on Saturday. He’s got that in his locker - I actually think he started the move by winning the ball in midfield and then he got himself into the box and assists. That’s good for him. He’s getting the games under his belt and he’s going to be a big player for us this season.

“The manager has definitely been good for my development. Me coming to this club was mainly down to the gaffer being a striker and I would learn from him. I think I have learned aspects of my game. We had a hard pre-season, which I think was good for me, because the main thing from last year that I could improve on was my fitness levels and my work-rate.

“The gaffer here has got me up to speed and he’s been patient with me because at the start of the season, when I wasn’t scoring goals. I’ve been dropped a few times, which has been good for me - at least in the long-term. It has made me realise I need to kick on even more and I think that’s why I’ve hit a bit of form.”

Kevin’s continuing success in scoring goals has led to speculation about moves to the Premier League. While that can act as motivation the 22 year old was clear that he would remain focused on the East End Park club:-

“For me, it’s purely about Dunfermline. It’s a game at a time and everything else is put to one side until the time comes. There’s no point in worrying about it when we’re still at the start of December and we’ve still got a lot of important games to come.”

Having successfully made the step up from League One to Championship the Pars striker has confidence and the belief that he could play at a higher level:-

“Definitely. Even last year, I thought I could make the step up and score goals. I had a lot of doubters but I’ve proved this season I can and I’m continuing to prove the doubters wrong. I believe I can even go that further step but, for me, it’s just about a game at a time here and keeping us in the play-offs and keeping scoring goals.”

“It’s a bigger step but in League One there are really good part time players who can make that step but for various reasons they like to stay part time for their job. The Championship is quicker and there are a lot of bigger players and better players with decent experience. I knew I could make the step up and now I’ve proved that it’s just about kicking on this season.”

Commenting on speculation around his striker, Stevie Crawford said that he would be delighted if there is any speculation on any of his players:-

“I think that it can only be a good thing for the club. Good for the player as long as he takes it in the right manner and not getting carried away with it because at the end of the day it is speculation.”

Stevie feels that Kevin has shown maturity and will handle such speculation although he has sympathy for any football player who might feel hard done by when you have to leave a bigger club and drop down a level as well:-

“It is funny because I said to the boys just before we went out ‪on Tuesday night‬ that at some stage in all of our careers, even the coaching staff, where you face a time where you find yourself out of a team or you have had to drop a level to try and make a step back up the way.

“It is trying to think about that level when you are out of the team, for whatever reason it may be. Maybe somebody didn’t like you on the coaching staff or you were struggling to find a bit of form. But to remember that feeling when you are at that moment, not when things are always going well.

“I think there are boys in the squad who want to try and kick on their careers again. Kevin deservedly got the Player of the Month and it is great for the club and Kevin to get that recognition but to have dropped from Partick, probably feeling that he wasn’t given the best opportunity if that’s what drives him on there is nothing wrong with that.

“What he has actually then done, is gone and done the business in League One and he has now applied himself properly to do that in the Championship.”

Kevin is chasing Dundee United’s Lawrence Shankland in the Championship goalscoring table and it did not miss him that he was followed a similar track to that of the recent Scotland call-up, Kevin added:-

“For me, it’s about taking one step at a time. You can see what Shanks is doing just now, he’s been brilliant at Ayr and proved himself. He has a similar story to me, starting at Aberdeen and not really being given a chance and then ending up in the Championship. He kicked on in League One and now look at him, he’s an internationalist.

“So, for me, as a striker and looking at him, that’s something I want to get to as well. But it’s just about taking it a step at a time and a game at a time, and just keep scoring.

“It’s about me and about my performances, as much as goals. My performance is vital for the team, because we need a hardworking striker to run in behind and hold the ball up and assist people. For me, it’s about concentrating purely on myself.”

Admitting that it would be a nice accolade if he could finish the domestic game’s top scorer in 2019, while leading that with 30 goals to date, Kevin said that was also about one game at a time:-

“If I can continue that then hopefully I will end up as the top goalscorer in 2019.” More pressing and top of his agenda is a win over Morton:-

“We’re off the back of two great wins and if we can get a win on Saturday it would round off a great week. It’s this stage in the season where gaps in the league start to appear and we’re hitting form at the right time. Hopefully that continues.

“We’ve got a great bunch of boys this season. We’re a close group and if things are going well off the field and you’re keeping spirits high and having banter then you’re going to end up taking that on to the field.

“That’s what’s happened in the last few weeks. Obviously the Stranraer game’s an exception, that was a disappointing day for us and the whole club. If we didn’t have that close group of boys we might have folded in the next two games but we’ve kept spirits high and we’re a confident team, so we’ll always bounce back. We’ve done that with two wins.”



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