Dunfermline Athletic

Euan Murray taking Arbroath head on

Tuesday, 3rd Mar 2020

“If you took that away from my game, I wouldn’t be the same player. It is not me to start shirking out of things, it is part and parcel.

When it comes to putting your head in where it hurts, there is no doubting that Pars defender Euan Murray doesn’t hold back. Having already missed five months of this season after falling badly in a last minute challenge against Queen of the South in August and injuring his neck, Euan showed no fear going in low to attack a 36th minute corner on Saturday and took the brunt of Ian Harkes’ boot on his head.

After receiving a few post match stitches, Euan has fully recovered and ready for the trip to Arbroath, he explained:-

“I was alright to be fair, the cut was probably worse than how I actually felt. My head has been fine.”

The former Motherwell youth certainly does not lack bravery in the way he plays and he claims that it has always been part of his game:-

“I know I had my neck injury earlier on in the season and people did question the way that I attack things but you cannot take that away from me. If you took that away from my game, I wouldn’t be the same player. It is not me to start shirking out of things, it is part and parcel.

“I am 26 and big enough to take things like that. The thing that is most frustrating for me about it, was that I did not get a penalty from it considering they have burst my head open. I have obviously flicked the ball on and I just do not understand the decision.”

Euan emerged from the half time interval with a bandage wrapped around his head but having seen the whole game out the final result made the effort worthwhile.

“All of us were delighted with the result at the start of what is to be a busy period coming up. There is no point winning such a big game on Saturday and going out on Wednesday not fully focused. We have to move on now and all the attention is on the game on Wednesday and trying to put a wee run together.”

There are three games now in the space of seven days due to the weather and scheduling but like most players Euan is happy that the matches are coming so thick and fast:-

“It is enjoyable as a player when you have games every other day, you are not training so much and you do not really have time to worry about your bumps and bruises since you are straight back into the game. A lot of them will define where we are going with our season. There is a lot to look forward to and hopefully we can build from Saturday.”

Euan played at Raith Rovers for the last two seasons and faced Arbroath in both. Raith were ten points behind the Red Lichties as they won the Scottish League One title and Euan was always of the opinion that the newly promoted side could do well in the next tier.

“I said to a few people at the start of the season that it would not surprise me if Arbroath did well in this league. I know how they play, their management and the players they have. They have a right honest set of players when you look at them they are an experienced bunch and a lot of them have been together for years.”

Euan is unbeaten after three matches at Gayfield but said it is a hard place to get a result because of the way the home side play:-

“They all buy into each other and know exactly what is expected of them. Even when they come here and go to places like Tannadice and win, they just have a game plan that they stick to.

“The players that they have got are suited to it. They all seem to know their job and the manager has brought some good players in to add to the ones that they already had.”

Former Pars full back Jason Thomson is one of those to watch out for, his marauding runs and dangerous crosses in from the right to be especially aware of. Euan added:-

“Jason is a good guy. I played with him for a year and I got on well with him but he is just one of lots of good players that they have in all positions. They signed Craig Wighton from Hearts but they have quality and play in a way that means they do not take risks at the back.”

This view is confirmed by Arbroath conceding only ten goals in their 12 home league matches this season and although Arbroath are the league’s lowest goalscorers, Euan warned that they are a team that put you under pressure all the time.

“They have brought in Dale Hilson so they have quality whether it is from the starting eleven or to come off the bench. Their bench is filled with experienced players and they have a decent squad but it is more about us trying to build something.

“Bobby Linn won the Player of the Year last year in League One, but he is not even getting a game for them now!”

Dunfermline had a blip against Inverness Caley Thistle but apart from that they have been on a decent run with three wins out of their last four league matches:-

“This is something that we are hoping to carry on on Wednesday. If we turn up and play to the best of our ability then we are just as confident that we can go and take the three points.”

Confidence is taken from the more organised look in the team that has been addressed during the gap in fixtures revealed Euan:-

“It was something that we had spoken about collectively. Something that we were going to work on, so we worked on that every day when we had the break between games.

“I think that we have benefited massively from it. I don’t think there was a lot wrong before it but it was just fine tuning certain details and making sure that everyone had a picture because there are a lot of young lads as well who are still learning the game.

“It was beneficial to us, if you look at the shape and the fact that we have come away with two clean sheets from games against Dundee and Dundee United, it is working. I got the feeling on Saturday that we are all right behind each other, we have all bought into what the manager is looking for.

“From them it is probably pleasing for the gaffer and the staff that the hard work and time they have put in working on the shape, is starting to pay off. There is no point saying that it is great and it all falls apart. We need to carry it on for a decent period of time before we sit back and say that it was worth it. “

The influence of Greg Shields on defenders has been appreciated by Euan who finished by saying:-

“Shieldsie is great, I think his tactical knowledge of the game is brilliant. It is not just with me but for Aaron Comrie and the likes of Lewis Martin. Especially when you are playing full back and centre half as well. He picks things up that you wouldn’t notice yourself in a game and it might be on the Monday or Tuesday that he will say to you ‘what about this?’

“He is good with his laptop as well on the analysis side of it. I think he suits Dan and the gaffer it terms of what he brings to the coaching staff. He is a good guy, he is approachable and you know that you can go to him and ask his opinion.

“The gaffer and Jason have a good understanding as well. Sometimes as a defender it is easier talking to a defender about it. He has been very very helpful and with me personally he has been great.”

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