Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 21st Feb 2019

21/02/19: SC - “Just because we won a game of football it doesn’t mean that we will necessarily go with the same eleven.

Stevie Crawford wants to make up for the 4-1 defeat loss earlier in the season at Somerset Park and is hoping the first win under his management can be quickly followed by a second. He told the media:-

“I think it was important for everybody, to get the monkey off the coaching staff and my back and get our first victory. It was pleasing as is the manner, how we held on against a big physical strong Inverness side. The boys stood up to the task and dealt with the physically which was pleasing.”

The manager praised the fans for playing their part in the win over Inverness Caley Thistle:-

“I have said to the players, it works both ways. When you put in effort and give it your best shot, the fans do get behind you here. It is when you give them an opportunity, by looking a bit disjointed or it doesn’t look like you are giving one hundred per cent, the fans will not accept it.

“It was pleasing all round for everybody to go away with a smile on their faces having won at East End Park for the first time in a while.”

Stevie is hoping the positive sprit can be taken into Saturday’s match against Ayr United.

“Having beaten Inverness it has made it tight. Looking up the way as much as looking over our shoulder, there is a group of teams that over the next three or four games there could be a bit of change in the league table if you can hit a bit of form.

“It will hopefully bring a confidence to them that we know how to win games of football again. It will be a big game down at Ayr United, they are an obvious threat with Shankland and Moffat.

“Some of the boys know Moff from his time at the club. He is clever, drops into areas just off the striker and he has a right good partnership with Lawrence Shankland. We dealt with Inverness and I am sure that we can go down there and make up for the loss we had there earlier in the season.

“We are very much focused on ourselves. I think Saturday showed that, we were focused on the game plan the way we tried to go about our business against Inverness. We stuck to it from first minute to last minute.”

Shankland already has 30 goals to his name this season after 30 appearances. There can be hope that the product of the Aberdeen Academy has possibly lost his touch a bit having scored just two in the last six.

“Playing with Moffat he now knows that if he was scoring goals in the league below it gives him confidence. He was always a kid who scored goals at whatever level he was played at. He had the ability to score goals but when you look at him physically now he knows when to run in behind, he knows when to try and hurt you.

“If we can keep him away from the 18 yard box as much as we can because physically he is very good at using his body to turn players. His link up play is decent but he has a hunger and desire about himself. That is not taking anything away from Ayr United because they play to the two of their strengths as well.

“The one thing about Ayr is that they have a togetherness. They have confidence from having won the league last season winning games of football and it is probably their all round team spirit that has got them where they are at the moment.

“I think the league will be very tight from Inverness down. Alloa have dropped to the bottom of the league at the moment but they have had a great season under Jim (Goodwin) and I am sure that they will pick up points between now and the end of the season.

On the injury front Andy Ryan is still out and Lewis Martin is still having issues but Mark Durnan and Louis Longridge have come through training all week. There have not been any setbacks following on from last week.

The returning players will give Stevie options and that welcome competition for places. SC continued:-

“We have looked vulnerable. The young boys have given me their lot since I came into the club. Given the position that we found ourselves in meant that it was a big ask some of the younger boys to go out there and get game time and try and get us winning games of football.

“When you have boys with experience under their belt it does show in terms of a real pressure on boys who have got the jersey, that is all we can ask for. We will need everybody.”

Faissal El Bakhtaoui missed Saturday’s match at home to Inverness due to a niggling calf injury that still makes him doubtful for the visit to Ayr. Stevie described that as very frustrating given the partnership he and new signing Bruce Anderson immediately struck up.

“He and Bruce did really well against Ross County but football is football. Aidan (Connolly) came in last week and does really well. There are people who performed well in training this week that we will not be ruling out.

“Just because we won a game of football it doesn’t mean that we will necessarily go with the same eleven. The eleven players and three subs last weekend all came on and did a proper professional job so they have not harmed their chances of possibly starting a game.”

Ryan Blair started his first Dunfermline game against Inverness Caley Thistle and SC said “he has been limited to the amount of men’s football that he has been able to get. In the end we had to take him off on Saturday because he was cramping up.

“I have said it before, that I’d rather be taking boys off with cramp because they have given us their lot than having to take boys off because you think that they are not trying hard enough.”

Saturday’s match was the first time in the dugout for Callum Davidson beside Stevie and Greg Shields. Stevie commented:-

“Callum is experienced and will bring a lot to the club between now and the end of the season. I can’t thank Greg enough, and I know he is in it for the cause, but from the minute came in carrying his suitcase down the stairs, he hasn’t stop working since.

“He has been back to get family and bring them over but I cannot thank Greg enough for his dedication and what he is doing. He is happy to help and give what he can to allow us to help us climb this league.”

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