Dunfermline Athletic

O`Hara reminds he is an option

Friday, 19th Feb 2021

Hattrick hero against Alloa bids for chance to repeat his success

Kevin O’Hara’s minutes in Dunfermline’s last match at Arbroath was his first full 90 in a Championship match for the Pars. This Saturday he is hoping to start against Alloa Athletic especially since they were the club he left to sign for Dunfermline in July last year.

The 22 year old scored 14 goals in his 35 appearances for the Wasps in season 2019-2020 but this season his tally so far is only half of last’s. The cause for that could be put down to more than half his Dunfermline appearances being off the bench. Kevin admits “you never want to move clubs and be sitting on the bench but it is up to the manager what team he selects.

“It is always tough when you are not playing on a Saturday. You work hard all week and if you are named on the bench it is disappointing because you train to play football on a Saturday. I just have to be patient, keep working hard in training and when I come on in games show the manager that I should be in the starting eleven. Hopefully that is what I am doing in training.”

Kevin who has two Scotland caps at both U19 and U16 levels was flying at Alloa and was in the team every week, but he added:-

“No disrespect to Alloa but there were probably not as many options at Alloa as there is at Dunfermline. The squad is a lot better squad than at Alloa so there are great options. The budget is probably bigger so we can bring in better players and some of the players that we have got in the squad are very good. It is obviously more difficult to get into the Dunfermline side but I am going to keep working hard and hopefully I can score goals every week and be playing every week.”

A starting position up front has become even more competitive with the recent arrival at East End Park of Craig Wighton on loan from Hearts. Kevin has started nine Pars games but his eleven appearances threaten to earn him the tag super sub, something he would want to avoid. Alloa Athletic need no reminders of how Kevin can change a game and even when returning there with Dunfermline in October he scored within a minute of being introduced as a 66th minute sub and went on to notch a hattrick. Twice he has come off the bench to score against Arbroath and Kevin continued:-

“It is never a great thing to be named a super sub. You want to be the guy who is starting every week and scoring goals. As I said after the Arbroath game (Boxing Day), if I can come on the pitch whenever- whether I am starting or off the bench - I am going to do my best for the team, try and score goals and help the boys who have worked hard for 90 minutes. If it is me playing the 90 minutes there are always options off the bench to help. That is what the manager always says ‘it is not always who starts the game, but who finishes the game.

“I have conversations with the manager every week and we always try and help each other. He tries to help me improve in my game and shows me some clips from previous games that I can improve on. When I first signed for Dunfermline I knew that the manager could help my game improve. It is good in that sense and I just keep working hard in training every day. I know that it is an old cliche but it is a needs must.”

Stevie Crawford won 25 international caps as a striker and that is something that has attracted Kevin and others to become part of his squad, he added:-

“It is always good when the manager has been a striker himself when he played. For the likes of me, Lewis McCann, Declan and all the other forward players he can put on drills, show us clips to show what positions to be in. It is always good to pass on knowledge. I am always happy to learn.”

The shape that the management team has gone with of late has not really allowed Kevin to form a partnership with Declan McManus, he agreed:-

“Over the last four couple of weeks we have been playing 4-1-4-1 and that only leaves just the one striker option up top. If the manager is going to go with Declan then that is his decision. It is frustrating for me because I want to play as well. Dec is a very good striker so I am just going to have to be patient and hopefully when I get that chance I can grab it.”

The Pars aim is to try and finish as high up the league as possible and the defeat to Arbroath was a really tough one to take. Saturday is the long awaited opportunity to make amends for an away day that no one in a Pars strip wants to dwell on. Kevin was delighted to be back in the team, came close to scoring but at the end suffered in defeat:-

“The conditions weren’t great and Arbroath probably played the conditions better than we did. Maybe they are used to the conditions, I am not saying that is an excuse because both teams had to deal with them. Obviously it wasn’t the result that I wanted but from a personal level good to get back in the starting eleven.”

“In the second half I hit the post. It was from a long throw in from Aaron (Comrie), Euan Murray flicked it on and it was just a first time effort that hit the post. I was unlucky not to score. Being hard on myself, I probably should have netted.”

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