Stevie signs off on special dayTuesday, 29th Dec 2015
"I am sure that Dunfermline are going in the right direction at the moment and long may it continue."
Stevie Crawford described his return to East End Park to play in the legends match against Celtic earlier this season as a "very special day" for him with a big opportunity to sign off his Dunfermline Athletic playing career. Speaking exclusively to this website Stevie said:-
"When I think back all those years ago to when Jim McIntyre got the job and I never played that last game. Through my years here there was a feel good factor. Everybody I have spoken to was looking forward to coming back again. It was good to come back here and see people with smiles on their faces. I am not just talking about supporters but the people who work here and put in a lot of hours. They are not rewarded sometimes for it but they do it for the love of the club. It is great to see. The club on the up again."
Stevie felt it was 'weird' to line up with Istvan Kozma and Ross Jack, players who had starred for the Pars while he was still in his development.
"They are guys who brought good times and a lot of commitment to the club. It was nice to see them getting a well deserved reception. In my time here, John Watson was always about the place and always wanting to talk to you and be there for you. People sometimes don't see that and coming on today and taking his goal will be a great feeling for him. I know that he is well regarded by the supporters and that he has a great affection for the club as well."
One of the many highlights for Pars fans was the way Stevie and Barry Nicholson teamed up like they had played only the previous Saturday:-
"He was always a pleasure to play alongside. When he had the ball at his feet he didn't necessarily have to beat somebody but there was always that option to play that one around the corner. He always showed for it and he was always looking for me. It was interesting to see that those relationships were still there."
Now assistant manager to Robbie Neilson at Hearts, Stevie recalls how Jimmy Nicholl was always there for the younger players and he acknowledges them as the next generation of football players:-
"He is a man who I still have the greatest of respect for because he gives untolled time to players that is not seen. I would like to hope to apply his words of wisdom to me - sometimes it is how to deal with going through a hard time or when a new manager comes in. You can pass that on to other players as well."
No one can benefit more than the Pars youth player, Stevie's son Robbie.
"He absolutely loves coming to his work. I say work because it is a profession in as much as there are mental as well as physical needs. He gets well treated. Potts is great with him, Sandy Clark and Allan Johnston have been fantastic and I have not heard Robbie moan once about the dressing room.
"When you have a good dressing room you get results and Robbie is just lucky to be part of it but he also has ambition to make a name for himself."
Advice is not something that Stevie offers after watching games involving his seventeen year old son:-
"He is usually digesting it and it takes two or three nights to maybe question a few things. The thing is, I have been at Falkirk and I am at Hearts now working with young players. If Robbie asks me something I will tell him the same way as I would those young players because that is being fair to him.
"It is not always what they want to hear but Robbie has a drive and motivation. With the right guidance, overcoming what hurdles are put in front of him and in time you never know. All I do know is that he enjoys it, he gets up for work every day with a smile on his face and looks forward to coming in."
Robbie watched his father play for the Pars legends team and Stevie claimed he knew what the first thing that he would be hearing from junior:-
"He is going to slaughter me for the chance I missed at the end. Harping back to what Jimmy
Nicholl used to say - If you make a mistake on a football park and go hiding then you only get three or four touches of the ball. He would far rather work with people who get a hundred kicks of the ball and maybe give away half of that than somebody who gets five touches and four of them were good ones because you can't be frightened to make mistakes. You have to be brave enough to put your neck on the line.
"If it had been 0-0 and I had missed a chance like that at the end then I would have got slaughtered for it and deservedly so. Because I tried to be clever and go round the keeper Jackie (McNamara) gets a toe in. That's football - you make decisions in split seconds and I still remember what that feeling is like crossing the white line. Supporters get the luxury of seeing it at a better angle and at a different speed.
"Results make people happy and without getting carried away I am sure that Dunfermline are going in the right direction at the moment and long may it continue."
And as for Stevie Crawford how did he feel after the legend match?
"I loved it. That is me 41 and you still want to get about the park as much as your body will allow. You build up relationships with people within the game and to come back and do it all again ten years later - that is when you know that you have made special bonds with people."
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