Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 19th Dec 2019

19/12/19: SC - “Can we get that balance right? Where we’re still a threat going forward but we’re secure.

With Saturday’s opponents Inverness Caley Thistle on a similar run to the Pars Stevie Crawford is making sure his side is preparing right for the league fixture against the side sitting in second place in the Championship with a four point advantage over Dunfermline.

“They lost their last game after winning three on the bounce. I don’t think we deserved to lose the game down here against them. Did we do enough to win it on the day? Probably not but we lost to a penalty in the last 10 minutes of the game.

“Inverness always give us a difficult game. They’re a big, physical team, but they’re a decent football side and Robbo is a very experienced manager who knows when to rotate his players and use his squad to his full advantage. It will be a tough game up there but not one that we’ve got to fear.”

Stevie felt that there were things to address from the Dundee game, and they have been trying to focus on that this week. The Dundee defeat has been described as just a blip and dismiss any suggestion that this was the start of another difficult period:-

“If I was to think that there would be no point in getting out of bed in the morning. The league is what it is. We went on a decent run there but there’s no getting carried away. You can find yourself having a loss and then a draw and a loss, or whatever.

“I’ve got every confidence that the boys will respond, as will the staff, and we’ll try to go up to Inverness and make sure we give them a game and come away with something.”

Naturally there is disappointment at the good run coming to an end but SC commented:-

“Obviously on the back of that week where we picked up nine points from nine we went up to Dens I’m not saying over-confident, but there was a confidence within the team that we’ve got goals in us.

“I said after the game, and I didn’t want to make myself sound silly or stupid, that I didn’t think it was a 3-1 game [at half-time] in terms of the actual competitiveness of the game.

“I thought we created chances at a place where sometimes it’s not easy to go. The one thing we didn’t do right is defend collectively, as a team, in the first half.

“When we lost a bad goal at the start of the second half we brought on Paul Paton, and his experience helped us in a way. Then, we lost Greg Kiltie, and I actually thought we defended better with the 10 men.

“That’s not finger-pointing at the defence, it’s very much a collective thing, and the goals that we lost at the weekend cost us dearly but were ones that could very much have been prevented.”

From 4-1 down the team with just 10 men clawed it back to 4-3 and pushed hard in the final twenty minutes for an equaliser:-

“It’s not getting carried away but there’s a belief that we’re scoring goals. I know Nizzy is probably the one, in the main; he’s well into double figures now but Ryan Dow has chipped in at the weekend and there is a belief in us.

“Do you want to go up to Dens and take that from the boys and tell them not to be over-confident or whatever it is, and then there’s a fear element? It’s trying to get that balance right. We were really keen to try to hurt them going forward but we left ourselves too exposed.

“We went down to Ayr United and, if you look at the performance that night, we were very hard to break down. Can we get that balance right? Where we’re still a threat going forward but we’re secure. Through being disciplined, we created double figures in terms of scoring chances in the game.

“The players, on the back of three wins, have gone up to Dens Park thinking ‘we’ve got goals in us’ but we’ve over-exposed ourselves. It’s just about pulling in the reins a wee bit and saying ‘c’mon, let’s regroup and go again’.”

Did the gaffer agree with Greg Kiltie’s sending off?
“I said after the game it would have been easy to moan about Greg getting sent-off but it wasn’t the reason we got beat. I don’t want to dress it up any other way, I was disappointed and the first booking I thought looked soft. I was a fair distance away but I actually thought Greg tried to get out of the way of it.

“But I’m not going to focus my attention on that. If I had done that, I wouldn’t have been doing my job right. There was a reason why we lost the four goals on Saturday and it wasn’t because of Greg’s sending off.”

So without Kiltie for Saturday would Paul Paton and Joe Thomson be in contention for a return to the starting line-up?

“Paul had a calf injury and we had been winning games of football, so we felt it was right to go with the team we did. But there were things that weren’t right on Saturday and losing the fourth goal as quickly as we did in the second half we felt it was right to get experience on the park.

“It was a positive. He managed to calm the game down and make us look more secure, and if that’s something he can bring to the table on Saturday then great. Whether we think he’s right to play from the start of the game, that’s something we’ll have to decide later in the week.

“Joe came on in difficult circumstances at the weekend and showed that he wants to get into the starting eleven and he’s done himself no harm in that. Whether it’s enough or whether the formation we go with at the weekend is right for Joe? But it’s a good headache. He’s been positive since he’s come back and, no different to any other player who didn’t start at the weekend, he’ll be hungry to get into the starting team.”

Giving an update on his squad news Stevie admitted that the long term injured Euan Murray is going to need a game before he can be in the first team pool.

“I’ve spoken to him, but Euan has been in with the group, fully training from last Monday. Tom Lang has trained as well but, again, he’ll need a game as well to consider him for selection. It was too early to throw them into the reserve game on Tuesday.

“With the time of the year, can we get the a game next Monday or Tuesday? I don’t know. If we can manage, with the contacts we have in the game, we’ll try to get one in because it’s important we get them at least 45 to 60 minutes to judge where they’re at.

“Andy Ryan has been back training. I’m not going to name any individuals but we’ve had a couple of issues with the viral infection that’s kicking about, as it will be at every other club at this time of the year.

“There’s couple of boys who have been affected but it’s about trying to address that so we’re in as fit a state as possible going into the weekend. It just seems to be a couple of days here and there, nothing that we’re concerned about. It’s possibly even a couple of players at a time but it’s one of these that goes throughout the club. It’s not a major concern, we’ll be fine for the weekend.”

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