Dunfermline Athletic

Nisbet targets firing Pars into play off

Monday, 2nd Mar 2020

Kevin Nisbet targets surpassing last season’s 34 goal tally after Pars see off the Championship’s table toppers

Saturday morning’s Courier back page headline “Nisbet best in league” was generated from Paul Paton’s pre match comments when the current Dunfermline Athletic and former Dundee United captain made the claim about his colleague despite Lawrence Shankland being seven ahead this season in the goalscoring totals.

Kevin Nisbet was less bold with his post match comments but at least he had the comfort of increasing his tally with the 26th minute opener in the 2-0 win over the league leaders. He commented on how he was grateful for Kyle Turner’s delightful ball into the United box:-

“On Tuesday, I missed an absolute sitter, so I just wanted to get it on target and hopefully it would go in - and it went in.

“I just concentrate on the game in hand. It’s a team game, we need to work hard up front, like me and Jon (Afolabi) did and keep our shape. Big Jon got his first goal too, so he can kick on from there as well. I thought the lads were outstanding.”

It was clear that the Dunfermline side that faced United was well organised and did lots of pressing off the ball. Kevin revealed that was something that had been worked on over the last five or six weeks:-

“Our shape at the start of the season wasn’t good enough and we’ve worked on that, and it looks a lot more solid and compact.”

The 22 year old striker feels that the team has got the pace to break on teams as well, meaning it can be a hard shift up front at times:-

“I think if you get in quick enough and get back in with a 10 yard run, you are saving yourself having to put in a 30 yard run. Me and Jon have done that well in the last two games and hopefully we can keep striking up a good partnership.”

That was just what Paton was talking about when he had said that Nizzy was “an all round striker” who he wouldn’t swap for anyone. Nice to hear your captain speaking about him that way, Nizzy continued:-

“Yes, definitely, it’s great. Something I’ve worked on in the last, maybe, 18 months is my workrate off the ball. Going by that I think it’s getting better and I can probably get better at it as well. I just need to keep working hard and hopefully we can get into the play-offs.

“The goals help as well. That’s me on 23 now this season, 18 in the league. That’s great, but it’s great for the big man Jon to get his first goal for the club. Now we can kick on and try to fire us into the play-offs.”

Last season Kevin notched 34 goals in 46 appearances for Raith Rovers and now on 23 after 32 Pars appearances, he has set a target for this season:-

“My target is to beat last year, and I think it’s going well now. There’s 11 games left, so I’m definitely on track and hopefully I can do it.”

Nizzy admitted that he was enjoying himself and was disappointed that he was forced to go off with 14 minutes. After landing badly in a challenge with Paul Watson, Kevin hurt his ankle:-

“I flicked the header on and went over on it. It was sore at first but it’s died down and we’ll need to see how it is.”

Even though Robbie Neilson’s side pushed hard towards the end of the match the home side had comfortably controlled most of the game. This was not something that surprised Kevin who added:-

“No, not really. Even on Tuesday, I thought we controlled the game as well and we had a lot of chances. We knew that on another day we would have gone on to win it. So, I thought if we put in the same effort and had the same composure and shape, we would control it, and we did and won 2-0.”

The Dunfermline players were unaware of the poor home record against Dundee United with no wins for 13 years until Stevie Crawford brought that up in his team-talk:-

“I didn’t know until the gaffer mentioned it. Obviously, that’s great for the club as well but, for us, it was just about getting the three points and that’s what we did.”

All the more satisfying that 6261, the second biggest home crowd of the season, turned out to watch it. Kevin was pleased to see the home fans going home singing:-

“It’s been an up and down season for them, so to come here and beat United at home and send them away happy is all we can do. We’ve done that and it’s great for the fans as well.”

The result can provide a boost in the bid for a play-off place, Kevin concluded:-

“Especially beating the team at the top, that can give us a lot of confidence. United are going to win the league soon, but for us it was just about getting a win again after the defeat against Inverness. It was about us bouncing back, now we’ve got Arbroath on Wednesday and it’s another big game for us.”

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