Dunfermline Athletic

Win win situation

Monday, 26th Apr 2021

“They’re in a good place” - gaffer praises his strike force and celebrates them enjoying their football.

Stevie Crawford today paid tribute to his three goalscorers in Saturday’s play off clinching win over Arbroath. Declan McManus, Kevin O’Hara and Craig Wighton (twice) did the damage in the 4-3 win. The manager said:-

“I know I’m playing Declan deeper but the three of them hit the back of the net and there’s no better feeling as a striker. If you ask all three of them, they’ll have enjoyed the last couple of games and got that feel good factor where other people are giving them the ball to allow them to express themselves going forward.

“From within that, you get a spring in your step and you actually start doing the defensive side more naturally and you don’t feel it as hard, because you’re enjoying your football going forward. It’s a win-win situation with that.

“They’re in a good place, but we’re not getting carried away. I was delighted for Declan, to step up and put the penalty away having missed the one down at Queen of the South. That showed a lot of character from him a game where there was a lot riding on it.

“Let’s not miss out on Craig’s bit of skill in the lead up to the penalty incident for the first goal. Out in the corner flag, having the strength to hold of Thomas O’Brien, keeping his composure and then turning him at the right time.

“The wee flick through his legs then to get to the other side and asking the Arbroath defenders questions. I thought that it was clinical striker play on that side of things.”

With Kevin O’Hara upfront beside Craig Wighton, Declan McManus playing just in behind them, and Ewan Henderson and Dom Thomas wide they all supplied Craig with opportunities to show his awareness with his movement and his touch. Stevie added:-

“I think what Craig will say is that players have given him the opportunity as well. His second goal typified the confidence that he’s got in himself.”

Since signing Craig Wighton the Dunfermline manager has said that he sees Craig mainly as a striker but in the recent Dundee game he was asked to play out on the right-hand side. He explained:-

“It’s sometimes a role that strikers aren’t comfortable with, but he played his part that night in earning us a vital point that also allowed us to get into the play-offs.

“It’s having that ruthlessness when the you do play as a striker but when you are asked to play other positions for the team, he’ll also do that side - as did Kevin O’Hara and as did Declan.”

Kevin O’Hara scored a very good goal to put Dunfermline 2-0 ahead and it was a great individual effort taking just three touches in controlling a long ball from Josh Edwards, catching it before the left byeline and the finishing with a right footed shot from the left side of the Arbroath box. Stevie continued:-

“He looks like he is enjoying his football as a lot of the players are. In testing circumstances there has been pressure but that comes with playing for a club like Dunfermline. We have managed to get ourselves into the play offs. He will have the feel good factor, as will the other strikers at the moment who have been hitting the back of the net and scoring goals.

“The biggest praise that I can give Kevin O’Hara, he has not had it all his own way from a personal point of view, he has has to fight for every minute of game time and he should. At a club like ourselves you should be fighting for game time.

“I go back to him training in Monday sessions when he has sometimes not even got on the pitch for us. He is an example to everybody at the club and that is the type of characters that I want here.

“It rubs off on people, so for as much as Kevin is hitting a good bit of form at the moment, he has had a massive influence and a decent impact on the way we want our players to behave away from the things that people see on a match day. There is nobody more happy than myself that he is scoring goals for us at the moment as well.”

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