Dunfermline Athletic

Beware of Red Lichties

Wednesday, 7th Dec 2022

CW: - “There is still a good core of that group still there so we will need to be wary of them.

Dunfermline striker Craig Wighton is well acquainted with Friday night’s opponents in the fourth round of the SPFL Trust Trophy having made 21 appearances for Arbroath during two loan periods at the club. Last season he enjoyed being part of the Angus side’s most successful season ever, making sixteen appearances as they finished runners up in the Championship, losing only once at home in the league while clocking up 65 points. Now he is optimistic that he can enjoy his return with the Pars despite his fond memories of playing there in maroon:-

“It was brilliant, the whole place in general, Arbroath, the fans and the club everyone was together. It would have been an incredible achievement if they had managed to pull it off. It was still a great season and nobody would have expected them to finish in the play offs.

“It was enjoyable although I didn’t do that well on a personal note but as a team it was good. There is still a good core of that group still there so we will need to be wary of them.

“Obviously I know their manager, the staff and the people at the club really well so it will be nice to go back but hopefully we are coming down the road into the next round of the cup.”

The SPFL Trust Trophy has traditionally given fringe players an opportunity but Craig is in no doubt that it is going to be treated seriously:-

“It is a chance to progress into the next round of the cup, we are looking forward to it. We want to go and win it, we want to win every competition that we are in and we want to keep the momentum going whether the manager makes changes or not. Everyone wants game time and wants to be involved.”

In contrast to last season Arbroath’s home wins this term have come to just four but Craig warned that is unlike them because they are usually very strong at home:-

“They will be looking to get back to winning ways at home to pick up their form. They have been struggling in the league but they are a good side, they have good players, and a good manager so it will be a tough game. It might be a game that will turn their season, we will need to be up for that and know that it is going to be a hard night. Hopefully we can play the way that we have been playing, try and get the ball down and play and on the night we can do enough.”

The 25 year old recalled his first loan period at Arbroath and curtailed as it was, how it turned out to be good for him. When Craig returned to Hearts he scored in the Scottish Cup semi final in the victory over Hibs that then saw him play in the December Scottish Cup Final:-

“The first time I went there it started really well, it was the Covid season and it got stopped early so that was unfortunate. It was a strange one. I had gone on loan to Arbroath and I thought that was probably my time at Hearts up to be honest. I ended up going back and playing in some big games and towards the end of that I came here on loan. That was a strange time in general but I had a good season that year and enjoyed my football.”

Now having made 232 senior appearances Craig can promote the benefit of going out on loan:-

“I think that it is important no matter at what age or at what level to be playing games. Every loan that I have had, whether it has worked out, it has been the right thing to do at the time. I have no regrets with any of them and I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Arbroath.”

This season with 20, Craig has already made more appearances for Dunfermline than he did last season and having scored six goals so far he has doubled his last season contribution. He suggested that last season was one to forget for most people:-

“This season has been good, I’m enjoying my football. I started off the season slowly but I’m starting to feel better now and feeling sharper now. We have confidence right through the team, everyone is enjoying it, we have not won anything yet but we are on the right path. Hopefully we can keep progressing and building on what we have done so far.”

Completing 90 minutes on the park is a reassuring feature and he continued:-

“It is good to get a few of them in recently. Hopefully I can get plenty more between now and the end of the season, score plenty goals as well and play a part in what could be a good season for us.”

Hitting the net at Arbroath would help making it a good season but Craig claimed that in any game that you play as a striker that is what you want to do:-

“That is what you are in the team to do. You obviously need to bring a lot more than that but at the end of the day people judge strikers on that. Hopefully I get a chance, a goal and progress into the next round. That’s what we are going up there to do.”

Dunfermline have had twelve different goalscorers this season as they have hit the net 39 times. Goal threat comes from all over the park but there are still a couple of regular starters who will be looking to open their account:-

“With the system that we play and the personnel that we have got, I think that there are goals from all over the pitch. The wingbacks chipping in with goals and assists, the defenders have scored as well, Bene and Breeny. Fisher is claiming the goal against FC Edinburgh here although it was an own goal but they are all a threat at set pieces.

“The midfield have chipped in so there are goals from all over but it is something that we still want to do more of. We want to score more goals because some of our overall play and chances that we have created, we should deserve to score more. We will keep working on that and hopefully between now and the end of the season we will score plenty more and it is all worth it in the end.”

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