Dunfermline Athletic

Manager ahead of Celtic

Tuesday, 21st Feb 2012

21/02/12: JM:- " I was at Easter Road on Sunday and I thought Celtic were fabulous. They played some great stuff.

Jim McIntyre

Jim McIntyre took in the match on Sunday between Hibs and Celtic at Easter Road and was left in no doubt that his side faces a tough game against the league leaders:-

"I thought Celtic were fabulous. They played some great stuff with pace and they were very, very clinical. They have got their tails up just now and they are playing really well and scoring lots of goals.  I saw them the week before at Hearts and they were fabulous there as well."

As a result Celtic's confidence is sky high just now with the run they are on and the points cushion they also have. Has the Manager a plan to try and halt that on Wednesday?

"It's a difficult task but it's one that is possible and that is what you always have to believe going to places like Ibrox and Parkhead that you can get a result.  I think Kilmarnock have shown it twice this season and I think St Johnstone has already been to Parkhead and won so you have got to make sure that first and foremost you have that belief to go and get a result. 

"What you do need is everyone to play to their maximum and we can't gift anything. I think the last time we went there we gifted two goals in 13 minutes and then it is an uphill struggle. We managed to hang on for the rest of the half and then came out in the second half and did well.  The players should take the confidence from the last visit there in the second half and played particularly well and caused Celtic problems."

The team seem to improving in that they are not making so many individual errors that they were making earlier in the season.  Did Macca agree that the defence is playing better as a unit?

"I think there is no doubt that with Kevin Rutkiewicz back in the team that he has definitely steadied the ship.  He is a commanding figure who talks and bosses at the back.  The return of Kevin has been a big plus and I think Alex Keddie has also stepped up his game and been superb alongside him."

The addition of Jordan MacMillan has helped the defence and on the left side Paddy Boyle appears to have been given a boost; the longer he is in the team and the better he performs:-

"There are always things as a Manager you want them to do better or more off, but I think Paddy has done well.  He has a good left foot on him as well and gets forward into good areas."

Turning to the attack Macca was pleased that the team has been creating some great opportunities:-

"We got into some good crossing positions on Saturday and the ball in behind the last third we should have made more of but we never.  That was a disappointment, but in saying that we are creating and that is important, very important."

The gaffer's selection may be limited through Jordan McMillan turning his ankle on Saturday and then again on Monday, so he will be 50/50.  Mark Kerr is still out and Nick Phinn has ruptured his hamstring again on Friday.  It is a huge blow for him first and foremost and the team because Jim was so confident that Nick would be a big player for him this year:-

"He certainly has not had his share of luck and will be out for 6 weeks." He continued with more bad news, "Iain Turner has been told to rest for 6 weeks after seeing a back specialist on Friday, so obviously that leaves us with a bit of a problem."

The Manager has not had his problems to seek this season and even the new signings appear to have inherited the bad luck:-

"I think there is no doubt that we have been tested with injuries this year but I am not one for bleating on about injuries as all teams suffer them but I don't think I have ever known so many new signings to pick up injuries than what has happened this season.

"It is a blow to everyone at the Club, the Board were absolutely magnificent in the transfer window and they allowed me to bring in four players and its hard for them as well and the fans, who I thought were excellent on Saturday and got right behind the team."

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