Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 24th Dec 2020

24/12/20: SC - “Christmas, it will be the norm. We very much want to focus on everything that we are aiming towards. There will be no distractions on that side of it.

Manager Stevie Crawford was really pleased to leave Dens Park on Saturday with a point especially having gone three down! It was quite a comeback.

“It is a nice feeling sitting here having gone 3-0 to have taken something from the game. We watched the game back as we always do and I didn’t think there was much in it in the first ten minutes to tell you the truth. But we knew having watched their game against Inverness that Dundee were quick out of the stalls that day, albeit away from home.

“There was a bit of both on Saturday. There was a wee bit of legginess about us in the first half and combine that with Dundee coming at us, because it was a big game for them at the weekend to try and close the gap.”

Dunfermline 1-2 Morton
Sat, 12th Dec 2020

It did look like the Dee were going to cash in on a Pars post Betfred Cup exit hangover. The heavy pitch did not help his side but Stevie would not use that as an excuse:-

“We are talking about a cup tie against a good St Johnstone side where they were asked many a question on the night mentally and tactically. It wasn’t like a cup tie where everything went their way. The demands of that were tough.

“I felt that our choice of pass when we were in possession of the ball meant we didn’t play the out in the right way. We didn’t play it into the right positions for our players to be able to be more dangerous and then give them problems in the final third of the park.

“Josh Edwards had never played extra time before in his career. So you are talking about boys having to look after their bodies and what the game possibly took out of them. Credit to them because of the way we finished the game, they found it from somewhere and sometimes if you allow tired minds to creep in then we could have gone back down the road on the back of a 3-0 or 4-0 defeat.”

To get it back to 3-3 showed tremendous character and attitude especially after the St Johnstone game:-

“We were asked questions again on Saturday at Dundee with boys like McGowan coming in off pockets in wide areas and players with experience. It is pleasing that we can respond from going goals behind but you have got to flip that. If we ask ourselves that question too many times we are going to come unstuck.

“We must try and get back the mentality of closing the door at the back. That starts from the front and giving ourselves the opportunity, if we concede less goals we are going to have better chances of winning games.

“The pleasing thing in the early parts of the season was not conceding goals. If you are not conceding goals you are going to take the minimum of a point away from games.

“The other side of it is, I don’t want to be putting out a team that are incapable of scoring goals. It is about getting that balance right. Whether it is through teams having an edge because of where they see us in the league, it is something that we have got to deal with as well.

“Opposing teams are coming to East End, they roll up the sleeves and become more competitive. They look at us reaching a quarter final of a cup and so it is different questions that are being asked of your players. You can never look back and say ‘because we have done that, we are guaranteed’, that is when you get your fingers burnt. We have to hit the reset button and focus on trying to win the game against Arbroath at the weekend.”

Arbroath will have the Betfred Cup defeat to try and make amends for.

“They won their first league game of the season last week against Ayr United. I will say it again, that is never an easy fixture, so they will come here in buoyant mood having taken confidence from that. They will be coming down here to try and win the game.

“That is what we will face and we will just have to make sure again that we concentrate on what we have been working on this week on the training ground and that it comes to fruition on Saturday.”

Above: Former Par James Craigen scored twice for Arbroath in last Saturday’s win over Ayr United

Christmas Day is just another day when it comes to football and the manager promised:-

“It will be the norm. We very much want to focus on everything that we are aiming towards. There will be no distractions on that side of it. The players have their own families, we will try and get through the work and make sure that we are preparing right for the Arbroath game but nothing different.”

Success in the festive fixtures traditionally can have a big bearing on the season’s outcome so there is a big week ahead with the games against Arbroath, Inverness Caley Thistle and then Raith Rovers.

“We had a tough week last week in terms of the fixture but the focus is on Arbroath this week. You never know what is going to happen in the Arbroath game, we will see where we are at after that but this is a normal week for us. We will train hard through the Festive period.

“The boys were off on Wednesday and we are in for the two days leading up to the Arbroath game. We are focusing fully on giving ourselves the best opportunity to try and win the game.”

Giving an update on injuries Stevie reported:-

“Aaron Comrie (pictured above) was possibly just a couple of days short of being available last week. He has trained this week. Fraser Murray felt his hamstring in the St Johnstone game, he missed out on Saturday and we will be wary with the fixtures coming up that we don’t push him too early, but he is not ruled out yet.

“Steven Whittaker had a little bit of swelling on Monday morning but again football has a weird habit of throwing things at you. When you look at the game on Saturday for Steven Whittaker to declare himself fit shows what it meant. To put his body on the line and go into a 50-50 in the first few minutes with Charlie Adam on the ankle.

“He ended up on a yellow card, he played 70 odd minutes and because we wanted to be more attacking and bring on Lewis McCann but he gave us every bit that he could. I think that rubs off and it’s weird that you turn around after the game and because you are in a happier place after ending up 3-3, Steven has actually come off at 3-0 having put his neck on the line.

“I am convinced when you have characters like that you get your rub of the green. We will monitor his loadings on the training pitch, he knows his body and I’m sure that he will be available for the game at the weekend.”

⚽️ Fixture amendment

📆 Tuesday December 29
🏆 Scottish Championship
🏟 @ICTFC v @officialdafc
⌚️ Kick-off 6.30pm

▪️Brought forward from 7.45pm at the request of the clubs

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