Manager on ThursdayThursday, 17th Jun 2021
17/06/21: PG - “There is nothing better than when the fixtures came out because you know that the season is getting closer.
Peter Grant admits that he gets a real buzz with the release of the SPFL fixtures that signals a new season and he talked about the early derby against Raith Rovers in just the third league fixture of the season:-
“Listen, they are all derbies to me. I take them all on because I love the football, I love the game and the biggest thing for me is playing a match. There is nothing better than when the fixtures came out because you know that the season is getting closer. We can’t wait to get the cup competition started and into the league fixtures. It is just so exciting to be involved in it.
“A couple of weeks ago I did not think that I would be involved in this and when the fixture list came out that would be something that I would miss. I know the derby is there, derbies are big all over Britain.
“I have been involved in a lot of derbies everywhere I have gone from London to Glasgow, you name it and I’m sure that it will be the exact same here. Raith did exceptionally well last year and deserved the plaudits they got. We want them all to talk about Dunfermline this year.”
Before all that the manager is hoping to use bounce games and pre season friendlies to assess both his squad and potential signings:-
“All the work that’s going on in the background, getting the boys an opportunity to come up so we can see them over the next couple of weeks because we’ve got a few friendlies and we’ve got the cup.
“Unfortunately, in the modern day, even though I want to win the cup and I want to win every game in the cup, we have to use the cup to get ready for the first league game of the season. That’s when we want everybody fully fit and hopefully we can have a squad in place by then.
“We have a couple of bounce games coming up and I’m sure that there will be four or five. The biggest problem with pre season friendlies is venues. Some clubs will agree to put them on then all of a sudden discover that their pitch is not available.
“It is the same for ourselves, we are trying to keep off the pitch as long as we can because the season went on a couple of weeks later. Everybody wants to keep their pitch great, so everybody is trying to play you away from home and we are trying to play them away from.
“It is not necessarily about getting the 90 minutes. The good thing about pre season is speaking to other managers and you can play four 25s, three 25s just to get that balance.
“The great thing about the modern day player is that they look after themselves a lot better. They used to come back two stone overweight and were running about in bin bags for three weeks during pre season. That is all you did, you kept running and when the ball came out you thought ‘what is this?’ It felt like a rugby ball that you were playing with.
“So great credit to the players for the way that they came back in shape. That allows you to play games quicker, allows you to break the games up and I think now most clubs are willing to break the games up and play four periods or whatever so that everybody gets game time.
“Where we play them is the biggest problem, one will be at Stirling University. Ideally I would have liked an in-house game first but we don’t have that amount of players at this moment in time. Stenhousemuir have agreed to three 25s and I’m delighted about that. It will give them a chance to look at their own players as well us looking at ours. It is more of a fitness exercise but a match to get back that competitive edge again and I think that is very very important.”
Friendlies and closed door games have also been arranged against Spartans (23/06/21), Civil Service, Airdrieonians and Hibs.
Pre season has been a joy to Peter Grant on the coaching side, revealing that he is delighted to have Greg Shields and Steven Whittaker on his staff:-
“They have fantastic experience. Greg has been to America and has all the small details. I know the quality that they have and the work they have been doing for me off the pitch has been phenomenal. They see the way I work and this week on the training pitch, I’m showing them exactly the way that I coach. Within a day they had grasped the detail that is so important to me, I think that is a sign of very good coaches. So I am delighted to have them on board for their professionalism, their enthusiasm for the game, their understanding of the game.
“You can watch the game but understanding it is completely different. The way they talk about the game and understand what I am looking for and the way they put it across to the players has been excellent so far. I’m absolutely delighted with the way that we have all worked so hard at the start. I’m sure that it will be a great success we are together.”
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