Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 28th Nov 2019

28/11/19: SC - “It’s now about looking back, taking certain things from the game, and making sure that this doesn’t happen again.

Stevie Crawford and his assistant Jason Dair both watched Saturday’s opponents, Partick Thistle draw 1-1 against Alloa Athletic on Tuesday night and the Pars boss says that he will be focusing on using the hurt, anger, and disappointment ‪from Saturday‬’s cup defeat to get the right result in this important league game. He added:-

“There is no guarantee of a win. Ian McCall will be trying to win a game of football as well, and I think people can forget that sometimes.

“What I will say is that we have enough quality in the dressing room to beat Partick Thistle if we apply ourselves properly. We need to up the levels because if you don’t you can find yourselves in trouble again.”

The previous weekend was not great. The Black Saturday trip back from defeat at Stranraer was engulfed in disappointment but Stevie stressed that it wasn`t a case of being complacent going away to play a Stranraer who would have seen the Championship club as a scalp:-

”Games have been few and far between where I can say we lost our battles and lost all our one vs ones all over the pitch. There was certainly disappointment in the dressing room after it, and I have told the players after the match, after a performance like that, I deserve all the flak that comes with it.

”It is not acceptable to be the manager of Dunfermline, a chance to progress in the Scottish Cup, and there not be an energy or bite to us. You are not going to get everything your own way, I will not make excuses of pitch or enforced changes. It doesn`t matter what eleven we put on the park that was not acceptable.”

Comparing the similar feeling as a Premier League player at Dunfermline in 2002 going out of the Scottish Cup 3-0 to First Division Ayr United, Stevie continued:-

“People point at you right away, want to point the finger at you and say you went into that thinking it was just a case of turning up but it was far from that.

”You can ask any of players, during the preparation last week, the journey down, or even during the warm-up there were no signs of that performance.

“After the warm up Jason and Greg came in saying the pitch wasn`t great and we would have to play our attacking stuff, getting the ball forward as quick as we can because it might cause us problems in our own half if we tried to play in a certain manner.

”Other than that there was no signs of it and the players said afterwards themselves that it was not good enough - there was a sense of honesty. There were things said after the game that will stay between the coaching staff and the players. The positive thing was that the players clearly knew that they had not performed on the day. If there is one positive I can take, that`s it.

“It`s now about looking back, taking certain things from the game, and making sure that this doesn`t happen again.

”The hard thing in football when you lose a game, you just want the next one to come around as quick as possible. Obviously the Alloa game we were disappointed, created chances and lost in a different way. On Saturday we did not create enough.

“ The first half was a big indication right up until the injury to Ryan Scully. Stranraer started the game better than us and kicked on from that to put us under pressure with long throws, corners and things that we had spoken about. We gave them far too many opportunities in that spell.

”That first fifteen minutes we had spoken about and we had covered. Let`s try and turn them - we did not do that well enough and that is collectively.

“The bitterly disappointing thing is that I know, financially, what a Scottish Cup run could have brought to this club. It is a bitter pill to swallow.

“I know Stranraer went on to draw Rangers but, if we had gone through, there is no guarantee the draw would have panned out that way. However, we did not give ourselves to chance to find out.

“That hurts me and that hurts the chairman. He`ll demand better, and rightly so. I demand better from the players, I demand better from myself.

“Pressure comes from going out the cup to Stranraer. That is part and parcel of being a manager and I am not going to hide from that. I don’t want to sound like water off a duck’s back, far from it because it is not a great position to be in.

“I am respectful of the fans that paid their money to travel down there. I said after the game that I did not want to patronise them because at the end of the day it wasn’t acceptable. Saturday’s performance levels were not acceptable and I will take what comes of that.

“What I will say is that I will protect the players. I think the players have given me everything that I have asked of them especially from the summer when there was a big change around in players.

“The pleasing thing for myself is that I know that they held up their hands and were accountable. If it was a different conversation that I was having and they felt that they had done well on Saturday it opens up a can of worms.

“If people want to get on at me for that rightly so, all I can say is that I love the club and we are doing our best to try and progress this club. It will not change my thoughts in trying to develop players. If anything it makes me hungrier.”

Turning to player availability Stevie had some good news with regards to Euan Murray:-

“There is still a little bit of disc bulging but he has been given the green light to resume training. There are still steps we need to take but, without putting too much pressure on Euan, you would be looking at him being available for selection before the end of the year.

“It was a real setback for him when he realised that he was going to be out for a long period, but this time it is much better news. He is a very likeable lad in the dressing room. He is a leader, he is a man and one that will add value to us.

“Tom Lang will miss this weekend due to a thigh injury. His thigh tightened and missed the reserve game on Tuesday. We can’t just throw him into a game of that importance at the weekend.

“Hearts have given the go ahead to have Anthony McDonald join us in training. With where Anthony is at, we probably need to look at him over a period of time. We need to make sure he is comfortable and not going to break down.

“However, Hearts were comfortable to send him here and Anthony came through training on Monday. It is early to say that everything will run smoothly, but at least Anthony is back on the training ground.

“I think Anthony is just so keen to get back in amongst it. It has been very frustrating for him back at Hearts, but Kevin has a good relationship with the medical staff at Hearts and we did not want to put ourselves in a position where we are looking after him and something can go wrong. We respect the parent club.

“He is a talented boy he`s a player who likes to hang out wide and then come in and link up with strikers and he has a through-pass in him. However, I don`t want to get too excited because I don’t want to put pressure on Anthony. You are probably looking at a prolonged period of him coming through training with no issues at all before we can talk about him challenging for a place in the starting line-up.

“On a Saturday Ryan Dow injured the knee which he has had problems with. He has missed the early parts of training this week with that. It is something that he has been sort of man-managing since he hurt his knee and this has perhaps put him back a little bit but that does not rule him out for this weekend, at this moment.

“In the last game against Partick Ryan was desperate to get back and try and help the team. He probably played at not one hundred percent fit with his knee problem. He has slowly but surely been getting to that one hundred percent level. Unfortunately he ended up jarring his knee into the ground and took one in the second half that put him in the position that he could not carry on.

“His experience is invaluable to us but the positive on that one - the medical staff and Ryan both want him to be fit for the weekend.”

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