Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 1st Aug 2019

01/08/19: SC - it will only be good to start with a big game against Dundee, if the side wins!

Stevie Crawford says that it will only be good to start with a big game against Dundee if his side wins!

“The fact that it is on television adds to it and brings a different dimension. Friday nights? Some are for it although the kick off time sometimes makes it difficult for supporters. I sympathise with those people who aren’t able to make it.

“I enjoyed games myself when the floodlights came on and for a season opener I don’t think that it will have too big an impact on the game.

“We will have to apply ourselves properly and not getting carried away with coming through the League Cup campaign and qualifying for the next stage of that tournament.”

Stevie went to watch Dundee play Inverness Caley Thistle on Sunday and he noted:-

“They have a lot of players who have played at a decent level and will be desperate to get back up to the SPL at the first time of asking.

“We all know that the Championship is a competitive league and we have just got to make sure that we compete in these games. With the energy that we have brought into the team that is something that we will be able to do more consistently this season.

“With a younger squad the problem that might arise is a bit of inconsistency. If we apply ourselves properly on Friday night against Dundee, we will make sure that we are competing and giving them a game.”

Stevie and his management team have done their prep on the opposition and considered how the team can cause Dundee problems:-

“We have to consider how we are going to create chances and score goals but also recognise where their strengths are as well.”

After Dunfermline scoring thirteen goals in the Betfred Cup group matches, SC is pleased with the way the goals are going in:-

“I have always said, no matter who you come up against, you have got to be in the right place to put the ball in the back of the net but you also need people to create chances. That is the pleasing thing from the group campaign, on numerous occasions we have hit the woodwork and forced keepers to save chances as well.

“A lot of our efforts are hitting the target and you are always capable of getting a rebound or somebody sniffing about the six yard box to put it away. There a lot of positives in that respect.”

The opposing manager is yet another who did his Pro Licence with him. Stevie said that James McPake and Dave Mackay were like “two peas in a pod” and compared them to Jason Dair and himself:-

“James is a good guy, really enthusiastic, keen to learn and it is interesting seeing the coaching staff he has round about him. Jimmy Nicholl is a great guy who I have a lot of respect for and he has Gordon Strachan to call on as well. It seems a decent set up at Dundee at the moment.

“You can see in Jimmy’s body language how much it means to him to see young talent progress. It is no coincidence that Dundee had the young boy Robertson playing in the middle of the park and Jimmy is part of the coaching staff who is going to give youth an opportunity. They are similar to ourselves in the model that they are going down.”

Stevie has had managerial experience as assistant to Robbie Neilson but having returned to Dunfermline to take over the youth team he was subsequently to be promoted to First Team Coach. James McPake has followed a similar route from Youth Team Coach to First Team Coach at Dundee. Stevie did not want to do the speaking for his counterpart but claimed that his own approach has evolved as he came through as a player and as he was given the opportunity as a youth.

“You are always judged upon getting that balance right. If you are bringing youth through and losing game after game, you are not being fair to youth and not fair to the club that you are working at.

“I cannot say enough about how much belief that I have got in young players. It is important that the older ones, the 23, 24, 25s with the exception of Paul Paton, have been a good influence on the group so far.”

Lining up in the opposition on Friday night will be a player who has come through the youth system at Dunfermline. Stevie agreed that Shaun Byrne (pictured above) will be motivated and keen to return and do well.

“It is not just identifying Shaun as a player. He is one that I have always liked since seeing him down at Rosyth playing with a young Dunfermline team against Rosyth Rec and I thought he stood out that day. I have kept an eye on him ever since.

“He is a great boy, I have a lot of time for him as I think a lot of people at Dunfermline have. He has moved on from here and done well for himself but I know that he has a lot of feelings for the club and it will be a difficult one for him to come back here. He is professional however, and will be wanting to do well for Dundee so he is one of the ones that we will have to watch.”

The manager gave an update on the progress of his injured players. Gabby McGill is unlikely to be available due to niggly thigh injury. Danny Devine is still short of match fitness and is expected to play against Burntisland Shipyard next Tuesday evening.

Kyle Turner is serving a one match suspension carried forward from last season.

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