Dunfermline Athletic

Assistant Manager previews Partick cup tie

Thursday, 19th Jan 2023

10/01/23: DMc - “We’re fresh, we’re fit and we’ve managed to get some decent training sessions in, so we’re ready for it.”

Despite being drawn to play away against a team from a higher division Dunfermline Assistant Manager Dave Mackay acknowledged that his team can go into into Saturday’s Scottish Cup Fourth Round tie full of confidence:-

“It’s great when you’re on these unbeaten runs but certainly performances, I think, are getting better as the season goes on. The players are getting a little bit more confident and a little bit more trusting in what we’re asking them to do, and you can see that coming off in the games.

“We can still improve, there’s definitely areas where we can still get better, but I think there’s been a progression over the season. Earlier in the season, we were getting results without really playing well, but now we’re starting to see some much better performances to go along with that.”

Now Dave believes that the League One leaders need to take belief from the matches against teams from higher divisions that they have played this season.

“Against Arbroath in the SPFL Trust Trophy, they might have made a few changes that night, but our performance was excellent - whether they had that eleven or their strongest eleven, I don’t think it would have made much difference. We were right at it.

“Against Ross County at the start of the season, we lost the game but it was a game we should never have lost, really. So, we’ve got to take belief from those sorts of games and confidence that we can go and compete with teams from higher divisions. We’ll go into this one respecting Partick but we certainly don’t fear them.”

Dunfermline want to be in the same league as Partick Thistle next season, so this cup tie is a barometer from which to gauge progress:-

“I’ve said that in the last couple of weeks with Dundee and Partick coming up. It is a good chance for us to test ourselves, although one-off games can sometimes be a little bit misleading. It can give you a good guide to where we really are and how much work we’ve got to do. We believe we’ve got a squad that’s capable of playing in the Championship and now we have to prove that by getting there through league performances.

“At the moment, we’re only focused on Partick at the weekend and putting everything we’ve got into that and being fully prepared. With the Dundee game being off we’ve had a week to prepare for Partick now, so we’re going into that one ready and confident we can pull off a little upset.”

Dave Mackay knows from his own personal experiences that magic does happen in the Scottish Cup since in 2014 he lifted the trophy with St Johnstone. He claimed that it seems like a lifetime ago now:-

“It’s nearly nine years ago now, but it was a great day and it was great to be part of something like that. Genuinely, it’s not something I ever really look back and reflect on. I might do that when I’m older and kids are talking about it or grandkids, if they come along. You always get reminded by it when it comes up to the date or something gets mentioned.

“It’s just a good competition to play in, whether I’ve won it or not. It’s something to look forward to. At the beginning of every season you always think, ‘can we have a decent cup run?’. Hopefully we’re the same here.”

A few times over the years, lower-league teams have made the Scottish Cup final - Queen of the South, Falkirk, Gretna. Hibs won it when they were in the Championship but Dave is realistic knowing that expectations aren’t quite to go and win the cup:-

“We want to progress as far as we can and get through to the latter stages is an achievable goal, I think. You just have to get a favourable draw, a little bit of luck along the way and you just never know how the draw will open up.”

“Before we start getting too far ahead of ourselves, you obviously need to win every round and Partick’s the next one coming up. If we can get through that one then we’ll look forward to the draw.

Both Partick Thistle and Dunfermline were due to play on Dundee’s Dens Park this week but both games were postponed due to the mid winter weather. Dave finds it frustrating when all the preparations and all video analysis that goes along with it, is for nothing when matches are called off:-

“It is Scotland and you just become accustomed to it when you’re involved in football. It can be frustrating but you just need to get on with it and focus on the next game that’s coming up. So, hopefully this weekend there shouldn’t be the same issues.”

Dunfermline’s postponements have been midweek fixtures but Thistle have not played since they defeated Morton 2-1 on 7th January. Dave dismissed any suggestion that would be to the Pars advantage:-

“I don’t think it makes much difference, to be honest. As a player, you would much rather be playing games consistently, whether that’s midweek games, rather than training. Certainly I would have as a player. You see teams who have played a midweek European game and they turn up and they steamroller a team - or vice versa. You can make excuses and say a team has played midweek and they’re tired.

“We will be going into this one the same as we would have approached it if we had played the midweek game or not. We’re fresh, we’re fit and we’ve managed to get some decent training sessions in, so we’re ready for it.”

Dave confirmed that Paul Allan is still on the injured list and that Miller Fenton is the only other player who is unavailable after being cup tied in the earlier rounds while on loan to Berwick Rangers.

As far as loans are concerned Kane Ritchie-Hosler and Chris Mochrie will definitely be at Dunfermline for the rest of the season. That leaves Dundee’s Sam Fisher and Motherwell’s Robbie Mahon (pictured above) and Dave concluded by saying “we’re hoping they’ll be here.”

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