Manager on ThursdayThursday, 8th Aug 2019
08/08/19: SC - "If you concentrate too much on the opposition, it can become dangerous because it can seem like you are worried about the opposition rather than what the challenge is
Coming up against his former bosses, Allan Johnston and Sandy Clark, in the opposition dug out is an added sideline attraction for Stevie Crawford’s first away league match of the season at Palmerston Park on Saturday. He said that he was looking forward to the occasion:-
”It will be the first time I’ve gone up against Allan. It was weird, I found myself in the situation that I was offered the job when Allan lost his - but he was very respectful in the way it was done and the way he handled himself under difficult circumstances. That says a lot about him as a person.
”We were at a referees’ meeting around a month ago and Allan made a point of coming across to shake my hand and maybe put an awkward situation to bed. He is a guy who has done well at Queen of the South and did a good job at Dunfermline over a number of years.
”Football is football and, unfortunately, it tends to be that losing a job opens the door for someone else. It was too good an opportunity for me personally to turn down, given what Dunfermline means to me as a club.
”Allan has found himself back in at Queen of the South now and unfortunately Gary Naysmith had to lose his job for that to happen. It’s the nature of the beast. You have your highs and lows.”
In 2012-2013 Allan Johnston led Queens to a historic double in his first full season in management, winning the Scottish Second Division and Challenge Cup in his first season in management.
That then led to Kilmarnock securing his services, handing him a two year contract in June 2013 before become Dunfermline boss in May 2015.
On 5 May 2019, soon after Queens ended their Championship league campaign in the relegation play-off position, the Doonhamers appointed Johnston and Clark on a two-year contract for their second spell at the Dumfries club to successfully come through play off matches against Montrose and Raith Rovers.
Stevie is in no doubt that the pairing will want to be a success at Queen of the South again. Now it remains to be seen if having worked with them, whether he has picked up anything with regards to what makes them successful.
“The one thing I’d say about Allan is that he was a hard worker. He thinks a lot about the game and I managed to pick up bits and pieces from both him and Sandy Clark.
“That is the same as when I’ve worked with Robbie Neilson, Jack Ross, Liam Fox, Steven Pressley, Neil MacFarlane, Alex Smith - when you come into the coaching side of things, it’s good to approach it with an open mind.
”You won’t agree with everything people do, you need to have your own take and direction in terms of where you want to go, but I managed to pick up some stuff that I’ve hopefully added to make me a better coach and person.”
If Stevie has any insider knowledge, he was not going to admit to it, he continued:-
"If you concentrate too much on the opposition, it can become dangerous because it can seem like you are worried about the opposition rather than what the challenge is - and players will pick up on that.
“Obviously I know the way Allan works but that is no guarantee of success. Allan and Sandy will probably have a slightly different approach too and may have adapted their own styles. You are always learning in this game.
”So, I’m respectful and aware of how Allan likes his teams to play but I don’t expect it to give us any upper hand on the day.”
Along with his assistant Jason Dair, Stevie Crawford used his first ‘free’ Saturday to attend at Gayfield Park:-
”We saw them against Arbroath and on the day Queens probably created more opportunities in front of goal, but there wasn’t much in the game. It was a very hot afternoon, opening game of the season and we know how Dick [Campbell] sets up his teams; very competitive and hard to beat.”
Reflecting on Dunfermline’s own competitive start to the season last Friday night, Stevie added:-
“When Dundee were the team picked to face us on the opening day of the season, people were saying they were coming down from the Premiership and their benchmark will be to go straight back up - so the pleasing thing for me is that we took the game to them in the first half and created chances over and above the two goals we scored.
“The amount of crosses that we got into the box, that’s really pleasing, and we scored when Jack Hamilton misjudged one of them. We are asking teams questions in their own penalty area. The more questions you ask, the more mistakes or judgement errors will happen. We are getting people in the box who are putting themselves in positions to score goals.
”The second half they made a conscious decision to change their shape. They threw everything at us and it had an impact in terms of how the game swung. We weren`t as dangerous in the second half but we were still dangerous on the counterattack.”
On the player availability front the manager reported Kyle Turner has served his one match suspension carried over from the last league season.
Gabby McGill started back training on Wednesday, he had a slight strain at the top of his thigh, which was a recurring one and missed just over a week.
When the Dundonald game was cancelled a few weeks ago that set Danny Devine back a bit in terms of game time, but he has another hour or so under his belt on Tuesday night in the reserves against Burntisland Shipyard and there has been no adverse reaction to that. Whether he is involved in the squad will become clear in the next couple of days, but he is getting closer every day.
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