Dunfermline Athletic

Coll to battle

Wednesday, 9th Mar 2022

“I’d rather play rubbish and win the game to be honest.”

Coll Donaldson claims that there is enough ability in the squad and still enough games for Dunfermline to climb the table and out of the danger zone.

“We have to focus on ourselves. We have had a meeting with the boys where we agreed that we cannot rely on other teams. As soon as you start relying on teams to get beat, you are at panic stations at that point. We have to look after ourselves.”

Dunfermline are not at the point where we are relying on certain teams to beat other teams but the 26 year old who is on loan from Ross County until the end of the season, does recognise the need to keep that within their control.

“As soon as it goes out of our control it is a desperate situation. Obviously when you play teams around you, you know that they are around you and so in these games there is just that wee five or ten per cent in the back of your head where you are thinking we could really do with beating you today - if you don’t they will be increasing the points ahead of us.

“There is definitely that little extra bit in games like that but I don’t think that is a bad thing.” That is the case this Saturday when the Pars travel to Hamilton and he added, “use it as a positive, use it like the gaffer always talks about playing on emotion or using whatever to get that extra five per cent. That has be something that we can use.

“We don’t want to go and get beat on Saturday because if we do we will be ten points behind Hamilton. They are one of the teams that we could maybe drag back into the reckoning.”

For Coll, not taking the three points was the most frustrating thing about last Saturday. Prior to joining Dunfermline the central defender has been involved in games at Arbroath where he has suffered a defeat and he recalled the feeling:-

“You don’t know what has happened, you got beat 3-0 and you are back down the road wondering what happened there. Saturday’s result sums up the way the games are going for us just now, we miss probably an easier chance at one end, then give up a chance and they score at the other end.

“I said after the game to the group that goal was all they needed. Once they scored that goal they were happy to sit off the game, let us have the ball and try and break them down. On the day we weren’t able to break them down but there were positive aspects to the game.

“With ten games to go you can’t be getting beat in a game and then come in after it saying we played really well. I’d rather play rubbish and win the game to be honest.”

The need to take three points from matches is now top priority admitted Coll:-

“I think it has taken until this week for us to go ‘hold on a minute now, this needs to stop. We just can’t go and get beat at Arbroath, we can’t get beat at Kilmarnock, we can’t give up two points at home to Kilmarnock while being the better team’.

“Points need to be put on the board now and if that’s 1-0 wins where we have ten per cent of the ball, I’d take it. The one thing that I would say is that it’s not as desperate a situation as others because there is that positive aspect to the performances where if we were getting beat and battered in games, giving up all our chances and not having many chances ourselves, it would be a lot to come in and say that we are really confident about staying up.

“Where the confidence in the group comes from is going into games for example against Arbroath, top of the league and Killie second top of the league. If we had got six points out of the last two weeks nobody would really have begrudged us it. That is the positive aspect that we are holding on to and try and use it in the next few weeks.”

Coll takes heart out of the defensive performances of late and is happy to have someone with the experience of Efe Ambrose alongside him:-

“I think our defensive displays have been good. There isn’t a lot between the teams at this level, first goals are incredibly important. I think a good defensive display has to be a clean sheet. We didn’t give up a lot of chances, there were maybe a few good defensive displays at the back on Saturday but we conceded and they never.

“Efe has great experience, he has played at a very high level - a higher level than I have played at. Similar to myself. I think it has taken Efe a couple of weeks, because he has not played a lot of football either.

“There is no substitute to playing games. You can do as many reserve games, as many bounce games, as many training sessions that there is but there is no substitute to playing in a competitive game.

“I think Efe would probably say himself it took him a couple of weeks to get up to speed but once he is up to speed he is obviously adding a lot to our back line.”

Coll stressed the strong belief that there is a base to build on and gratifying that the team is not conceding a lot of goals.

“In my first game we conceded five and since then we have kept teams down to not a lot of chances. Even the week before, Killie didn’t really create a glaring opportunity. That is our job, that is something we have to do and give the boys at the top end of the pitch the chance to go and win us the game. If we can fork out clean sheets and they can grab us a goal.

“That Morton match was probably the lowest point that I have had in football to be honest. It doesn’t get much worse and that was the conversation that I had with my dad. I just said let’s batter in and try and improve things. It was a challenging afternoon.

“The manager said in the changing room after the game that as bad as you feel just now this could work as a positive for us. We haven’t really set the house alight since then but there has definitely been a lot more fight in us, we have been a lot more competitive in games.

“We have been close to a lot of clean sheets and it has just been small individual errors, can we cut those errors out? There is not a lot of difference between the teams from the top to the bottom.

“You look at the runs teams like Morton and Ayr are on and then look at the runs that Inverness and Raith are on. The league is almost turning upside down at times. We need to get that rub of the green to get a clean sheet and then the boys at the top end put one in for us.”

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