Dunfermline Athletic

Murray’s Rovers Return

Thursday, 3rd Dec 2020

Euan Murray:- “It’s so important we take on the things that have been a positive for us in games so far, things which have led to us winning games.

Pars skipper Euan Murray was signed from Raith Rovers in June 2019 and during his two seasons in Kirkcaldy he made 92 appearances for the Stark’s Park club. This Saturday will be his first match against his former team since crossing the divide and he claimed this week that he had an insight into how the Fife rivals will be preparing for this Saturday’s Championship derby:-

“It will be a tough afternoon. I understand from working with John McGlynn before how difficult his team will be to play against, and the different threats they’ll carry. The one thing about John’s teams is they are very much attacking and they play good football. That’s a credit to them. I’ve spoken on record a number of times and said I’ve got massive respect for John and Paul Smith and for the job they’ve done at Raith Rovers.

“Obviously, that goes out the window for 90 minutes on Saturday, but I understand how he sets his teams up. He likes to get the ball down and he’s got attacking players who are creative and who are good players on their day.

“It’s so important we take on the things that have been a positive for us in games so far, things which have led to us winning games. We take that to Stark’s Park knowing it’s as big a game as we’ve faced this season, and that will be the same the following week - and the following week after that as well.”

Undefeated in their ten games this season Euan feels that it’s just about Dunfermline trying to carry this run on as long as they can and trying to pick up as many wins as possible:-

“For me, winning is a habit and it’s a mentality, and it’s about making sure we do all the right things and we certainly won’t be getting complacent with any result.

“The manager and his coaching staff have been very good this season at putting a game-plan together that allows us to go and try to win the game. Saturday will be no different to that. We’ll work on trying to win the game and when it comes down to it, it will be up to us but if we go there and play as well as we can then we’ll be confident.”

Euan played for the Rovers in their last match against Dunfermline, a 3-0 cup defeat in January 2019, a game that was just Stevie Crawford’s second match in charge as manager. He recalled:-

“It was a good result at the time. Now, it’s just about remaining very focused on Dunfermline and making sure that when I go out on Saturday, especially as the captain, I can go and try to have a positive influence on the game, which leads to us coming away and winning. That’s the only thing I’m thinking about.”

This derby will be another measure as to how realistic the Pars title promotion challenge can be. Raith had only lost one of their first eight fixtures (against Hearts) but in their last league game lost 2-0 at Inverness. The newly promoted club sit third in the league after the first five matches so they will present a significant challenge to their West Fife opponents. Euan feels that the only missing component to this derby is the fans - even the opposition ones!

“I would rather the fans were all there, even if they were giving me pelters. That’s the nature of the beast; if you move from one club to another it’s going to happen. We understand the fans’ frustration that they can’t be there, so it’s important to remember how big a fixture this is for them. I don’t think it needs much talking up, in terms of motivating people. I think as a group we’re motivated every week. When it comes down to it, we want to put on a performance the fans can watch on the telly in the house and be proud of.”

Viewers of last week’s much acclaimed coverage from Gayfield enjoyed a win and yet another Euan Murray goal, his seventh of the season.

“Over the last couple of years, Arbroath has always been a very, very tough place to go. From playing against them when they were in League One, I’ve got a lot of respect for Dick Campbell and his team for the way they’ve gone about things. So, if you offer anyone going up there at any stage this season a 3-1 victory I’m sure they would bite your hand off for it.”

Euan played down his goalscoring record with an unselfish reaction:-

“I’ll probably bore you, but the win itself is obviously more important for me than me scoring any goals. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time on Saturday. Looking back on it, I think somebody was behind me that could have cleared it, so it was a case of I had to put it in.

“I didn’t want to take Lewis’ goal away from him, but I had to put it over the line just to make sure it was going in. So, yes, good to score again but I think the resilience we showed, especially in the first-half, was a big pleasing point for me, probably more than me scoring.

“Arbroath chucked a lot at us, in both halves. In the first-half they came out the blocks pretty much throwing everything at us in the first 10, 15 minutes. We were up against it, which is going to happen at different times this season, but one thing we’ve shown so far is that we’ve got a resilience and we stick together. If that can continue for the rest of the season that’ll be massive.”

You only need to look at the photographs of Euan’s goal celebrations to understand how much pleasure he has taken from scoring regularly for Dunfermline but he does point out that football currently expects defenders to take a bigger role in that regard:-

“Especially full-backs, there’s demands put on them these days to go and get numbers into their game, whether that’s assists or goals. It’s been good, I can’t say it’s not been. It’s a great feeling scoring goals, and the run I’m on.

“I’ve spoken before about it. I’ve always said that if balls are put into an area that I can go and attack then I’m confident I’ll get on the end of things. A lot of credit has to be given to my team-mates - Dom, Ryan Dow, these types of people, putting deliveries into an area that gives me the best opportunity to go and get my big head on them.”

“As a defender, it’s my job in the game to try to influence things where we can have a solid enough base that players like Dom, Ryan Dow, Declan McManus, Kyle Turner can go and express themselves knowing the back door is shut.”

As big a thing as anything else for Euan this season is that once a game is over, won or whatever, it’s done, it’s buried and the focus from the Monday morning when they come back in is very much on the next game. He added:-

“As a captain, that’s something I’m pretty big on, making sure the group stays very, very grounded and focused, and understanding of the fact you’re not going to get an easy game in this league.

“Saturday will be exactly the same. Raith Rovers are in good form - I know they took a bit of a knock in the last result but other than that they’ve been excellent. We’re going to have to go there and put our own stamp on the game if we’re going to come away with a win.”

All that remains to find out as Christmas approaches is whether Euan who has received so many gift wrapped assists from Dom Thomas, has anything special for his teammate’s Christmas?

“To be fair, I’m still cringing at that picture they took when he was passing me the trophy for the player of the month! I’m just about getting over that! The wee man has been great, he knows exacty what I think of him.

“His deliveries have been on the money, pretty much, and he’s obviously been a big part of me scoring so many goals. The same with Ryan Dow, the two of them have got a lot of quality.”

Sounds like Dom might be better asking Santa!

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