Dunfermline Athletic

Dow buoyed by display v Hibees

Monday, 8th Jul 2019

“I felt like our shape was good and I didn’t really feel that threatened, and obviously we still had that threat on the counter.....

Ryan Dow is pleased to be back in full-time football after playing the last nine months of the 2018-2019 season at Peterhead. He claimed that was always the plan when he left Ross County in January and the loan move agreed in September was made permanent.

“I just wanted to play the rest of the season, win the league with Peterhead and the aim was always then to get back to full-time. And it’s worked out like that.”

Ryan knew the Balmoor boss Jim McInally particularly well since he is married to McInally’s daughter Nicola. He continued:-

“Knowing Jim the way I do, it was a no-brainer when he said for me to come and play and start enjoying my football again. I did and with the team we had I knew we could go and win the league, and that’s what happened.”

Ryan revealed that he had come to Dunfermline at the back end of last season to train and got the deal over the line, so as far as he is concerned it has all worked out perfectly.

Dunfermline are the fifth club that Ryan has played for having started out at Dundee United and been on loan at Forfar Athletic. He acknowledged that there have been big changes at East End Park for this coming season and considers it a good time to come in:-

“We’ve been in for a couple of weeks now and there’s a lot of new faces, but we’ve been working hard. People might say it will take time to gel, but we’ve been working double sessions every day and during the first-half on Saturday I think it showed.

The Pars were pleased to take an early lead on Saturday against Paul Heckingbottom’s Hibs, a lead that they held for 45 minutes. Ryan felt that the Premier League side didn’t really break Dunfermline down.

“They had a few corners and set pieces but I thought our shape was brilliant, and that’s what we’ve been working on as a new group. There are a lot of new faces and we need to get used to each other.”

For a Dunfermline fan there was pleasing evidence on Saturday of good combinations forming and the management team were also pleased to see that. Ryan continued:-

“The gaffer and Shieldsy and Jason said that and even when we broke on them I think we looked like a threat. We had pace and boys linking up. Especially at the start I think we caught Hibs off-guard and we were pushing them, and we got the goal.

“They’re a really good team, they’re going to have a wee bit more of the ball. I know it’s a pre-season game, but I felt like our shape was good and I didn’t really feel that threatened, and obviously we still had that threat on the counter.”

Up until the wholesale changes mid way through the second half, Ryan suggested that at 1-1 it could have been anybody’s game:-

“The manager said it was a decent game to watch and be involved in. Then, the changes start happening and, from our point of view, we gave away a really sloppy goal from a corner, which gives them a lift, and then they get a couple more. Then the changes start, but even the young boys who came on did well and still created a few chances themselves.”

Ryan did his last two pre-seasons with Ross County and has experienced what these are like at Tannadice as well but he confessed to feeling that this one at Dunfermline has being his hardest ever:-

“It is hard, it’s been tough. It’s been up there as the hardest for me and has reminded me of going back in as a youngster when I first went into full-time football and pre season was really, really tough. That’s what it’s been like but you kind of get the benefit now when you’re playing games.

“I played 70-odd minutes but I still felt I could go and play the 90. That’s down to the manager and the coaching staff and what we’ve put into pre-season. It’s not nice getting there but we’ve done the hard runs in the first couple of weeks. We’ve done double sessions most days but it pays off.

“They are quite long sessions and double sessions. He (Stevie Crawford) told everyone when he spoke to them when they were coming in that we would be doing double sessions and working on loads of different things.

“Even when we came in for pre-season, it wasn’t just a case of getting the running shoes on, it was runs, tactical work, shape and how we want to play. It was a mix of everything and we’ve used the time, we’ve done a lot of running and tactical stuff on how we want to play.”

All the hard graft should be of benefit when the Betfred Cup kicks off next weekend with the Fifers travelling to meet top seeds in the group, St Mirren.

“Hopefully. It’s competitive but you’ve only had a couple of games and you’re still trying to get that sharpness and match-fitness up. But it makes it a bit better when you’ve got something to play for and it’s the cup games.

“It’s still about getting match fitness but they’re competitive games and you’re going in there to win them. That makes it better than what it used to be and a few more competitive games.”

So how does the 28 year old midfielder think Dunfermline can do in the 2019-2020 season?

“The way we’ve been building, we can take a lot of positives ‪from Saturday‬. We just need to aim to finish as high as we can. The key start with these Betfred Cup games is getting a win and the gaffer has talked about getting a winning mentality.

“If we can get a good start and a good run of games in the Betfred, and build momentum then you can go into the new season full of confidence.”

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