Manager on MondayMonday, 14th Dec 2020
14/12/20: SC - “ Physically they are a strong side and that will be one of the challenges that we are facing on Tuesday night.”
Of the 18 previous occasions when Dunfermline reached the quarter final of the League Cup, the club progressed to the semi-final on six of them – 1949, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997 and 2005. Can it become seven?
Remaining grounded Stevie Crawford stepped back from the potential of a trip to Hampden to assess how the quarter final place had been achieved:-
“Our objective at the start of tournament was to get out of the group stages. Having won the group itself you then go into the seeded section and we went up and faced Arbroath in the last round. It was a very tough game but we came away with a very good victory.
“I went to Parkhead last week and watched St Johnstone play Celtic and I thought that they were excellent on the day. They have been on a fantastic run of form themselves, and like ourselves, faced defeat at the weekend. They will be disappointed that run has come to an end but hopefully it will make for a good cup tie with a chance to get to the semi final.”
As a Hibs player Stevie had played against Callum Davidson and Stevie brought in the current St Johnstone manager as his assistant in February 2019 not long after he had taken over at East End Park. Stevie claimed:-
“Callum will focus on his team and likewise I have got to fully focus on the job in hand with Dunfermline. I know Callum, I have played against him over the years. He obviously came in and helped us out here when he was in between jobs. He was great to bounce things off in the early parts of my management career here.
“I did my pro licence with him and I always thought that Callum was destined to be a manager. It will be good to go head to head but we will both be looking for a response having faced defeat at the weekend.
“We do keep in touch, but people say that about my relationship with Robbie (Neilson). When you go into management there is that much time these days that goes into other things so it is very difficult other than if you are talking about players or maybe opposition that you are coming up against.
“I have had a few conversations with Callum since he came into his current role in the summer there. He is a very humble guy Callum. He is a hard worker, he was as a player and when I watched his team performing at Celtic Park last week, they were very well organised. It is going to be a big challenge for us to face on Tuesday but one we are hopeful we can win.
SC is not likely to underestimate the task in taking on Premiership opposition like St Johnstone, he continued:-
“I don’t think that we should hide from the fact that St Johnstone are an established Premiership side who in the main have finished in the top six for a number of years. It is an evolving squad from Tommy Wright’s team. Callum is in that sort of in between stage but they have a number of exciting players.
“The one thing that did stand out to me was their physicality. Physically they are a strong side and that will be one of the challenges that we are facing on Tuesday night.”
The manager revealed that Steven Whittaker had suffered another set back in his quest to return to match action:-
“Steven had an issue with his hamstring that meant he missed out but on Friday when we were working on setplays he went over on his ankle. It is very frustrating that he was not available at the weekend but Steven being Steven has given himself every opportunity over the weekend to try and make himself fit.
“Whether this game will come too early now, we do not know at this stage but Steven is the ultimate pro that will give himself the best opportunity to be available for the game against St Johnstone.”
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