Getting disappointment out of the systemMonday, 16th Aug 2021
16/08/21: “When the boys looked back on the game with us, I could see them sitting there scratching their heads and saying: ‘is that really me?’
After the pain of the 5-0 Premier Sports Cup exit to Rangers the way the players react is important to Peter Grant who hopes to make amends next Friday in the upcoming Fife Derby against Raith Rovers:-
“They know that they let themselves down. It was a big occasion for them, we didn’t play anywhere near what we are capable of and you could probably see from my frustration during and after the game because I know that they are capable of much better.
“When they look back at the game themselves I think you see more of the frustration in them and the disappointment because we felt it was a big opportunity for us to go and perform and we failed to do that. That is out of the system now, the boys have been in training now for the last few days and they have been excellent to be fair.
“That is what we expect, they have never let us down on the training ground yet with their attitude, their quality and commitment.”
The manager hopes that those elements can be put together to get an all important result in another Friday night match which will be shown live on television.
Ahead of the trip to Ibrox Peter stressed how especially crucial would be the way his players reacted to the occasion. Only four of his starting eleven had previously played at Ibrox and few has played many times in front of a crowd of 41,000. The gaffer lamented:-
“My most experienced player gave the ball away after two minutes for the first goal and he’s played in the biggest games in the biggest arenas. So, it isn’t just young players.
“We put ourselves on the back foot by making too many wrong choices but that sometimes happens when you lose a goal quickly. We dug in and showed guts to keep going but, looking back on the goals, they were so disappointing.
“Most of the goals, we were in possession of the ball and, for three out of the first four goals, we had an opportunity straight after the kick-off to create a good opportunity. But I just think we lacked belief and if you let good players have the ball and don’t do your job, you’ll get punished against better players.
“When the boys looked back on the game with us, I could see them sitting there scratching their heads and saying: ‘is that really me?’ I’ve been in that situation, thinking - why didn’t I play this pass? Why didn’t I do that?
“That’s easy after the event. I’ve never lost a football match on the blackboard. On the football pitch is where you need to respond. I can take the result in respect of that but I can’t take the performance.”
The manager has made it clear that he harbours an ambition to be a Premiership club by this time next year, he believes he has the players to take them there and summed up the Ibrox experience:-
“The players who let us down the other evening know themselves. They are disappointed themselves, and I am disappointed for them because they were desperate to put a performance on.
“I think I have really good players who can play at a high level. There is no doubt in my mind about that. I haven’t bought guys to play non-league football. I’ve brought people in who can play at the highest level and can handle the ball. We just didn’t do either or nearly good enough.”
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