Spot of bother for ParsSunday, 11th Sep 2016
Paul McMullan: "I suppose if you miss three penalties you do not deserve anything from the game."
Paul McMullan was named Man of the Match in Saturday`s Championship match against Dundee United but everyone who was at East End Park knew that there was truthfully only one person who warranted that acclaim - United`s 29 year old keeper Cammy Bell. His heroics in keeping out all three of Dunfemline`s first half penalty kicks was a remarkable feat. Significantly those missed opportunities stacked up to contribute to the Pars eventual 3-1 defeat. Paul related the players feelings:-
"We are gutted to be honest. I thought that we controlled most of the game. We had three penalties and never scored from any of them. It is a kick in the teeth but I suppose if you miss three penalties you do not deserve anything from the game."
At the interval at only 1-0 down Paul revealed that the team were positive that they could recover from that deficit. The evidence was there in as much as to win three penalties Dunfermline had to be in dangerous positions in the first place. We said to ourselves:-
"If we could go and do the same in the second half then goals would surely come. Their goal right at the start of the second half was a sucker punch."
Within five minutes of going two behind Michael Paton cut the lead back to one but the Fifers just could not find a second.
"I thought we were going to score another one because of the way we were playing. They defended well to be honest and made it difficult for us."
Paul was the third of the Dunfermline penalty takers but he had the same disappointment as Gavin Reilly and Nicky Clark who had gone before him.
"At the time you are gutted but with sixty minutes to go you just have to pick yourself up, try and make something of the game to make up for the penalty misses."
Signed on a season long loan from Celtic, Paul favours hitting the left side of the net and so in selecting the same side as the previous two takers, also saw his 33rd minute effort saved by the former Kilmarnock, Queen of the South and Rangers stopper.
"I usually go to that side and I have not taken one that he could have seen so I thought just that I would go for my usual side. Unfortunately for me and the team he saved it, that happens."
Paul grabbed the ball to make sure that he would be the third Pars penalty taker, his previous record at youth level made him confident but this time it did not work out for him.
The lack of success at penalties came only a day after the squad practiced taking spot kicks in training. Asked if this was a regular occurrence Paul replied:-
"Funnily enough we don`t, but yesterday the boys stayed behind and practiced our penalties. It is just one of those things, if you went home and told your mate that you missed three penalties against a team who had a player sent off and you lose 3-1 he would not believe you. It was just one of those things. Everybody`s penalties were good in training but it just wasn`t our day."
Paul McMullan was rightly pleased with his own contribution to the game.
"It was disappointing getting beat and missing a penalty but other than that to be honest I was quite happy with my own performance. To end up on the end of a 3-1 defeat was a disappointing end."
Allan Johnston praised Paul for his efforts and that is no surprise given the regular supply delivered from the left flank by the 20 year old:-
"The manager likes crosses coming in, we have two strikers and big Farid made it three strikers - you just have to try and make chances for these guys. Usually they will go in, it was just one of those days when unfortunately nothing went in for us but on another day hopefully they will go in."
Paul had a part in the moves that led to two of the three first half penalties, he continued:-
"It is one of my strengths, I can see a pass and if there is a bit of movement in front of me I like to think that I can find that. To exhibit that with a couple passes in the game was pleasing."
Dunfermline now sit eighth in the Championship and the next two matches are away to ninth placed Morton and at home to tenth placed St Mirren. Paul feels that it is still early in the season and not a situation that bears greater pressure on the players:-
"We have had tough games. We maybe should have taken more from our home games but if you go and win your next two games then you are back up challenging for the play offs. It is so tight still that you just have to keep going.
"After the game we sat feeling that we had played well and we couldn`t really believe that we got beat 3-1. If we can take that performance into next week something is going to change."
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