Dunfermline Athletic

Manager comments on cup draw

Wednesday, 2nd Dec 2020

“The most disappointing thing about the tie is that it will be behind closed doors.

It is the nineteenth time that Dunfermline has reached the quarter-final stage of the League Cup competition since it started in 1946.  It will also be the 27th match at the quarter-final stage for Dunfermline since the early years of the competition saw matches played over two legs, home and away.

Dunfermline and St Johnstone have played nine League Cup matches against each other, but none ever at this stage of the competition. The teams will meet on Tuesday 15th December, kick off 7.45pm.  Stevie Crawford gave his reaction to the draw:-

“To progress to the quarter finals stage of the tournament is good. As I said last week our objective was to get out of the group stages. We knew that it was going to be a difficult tie going up to Arbroath. It is never an easy place to go but I was delighted with the application and the commitment levels of the players. To get through to the next round and face St Johnstone now at home is very pleasing.”

Dunfermline has never before played a League Cup tie of any sort in December but for the Pars manager the most disappointing thing about the tie is that it will be behind closed doors.

“I know that we do not have crowds but I think to get to the latter stages of any competition and then be drawn at home is the one thing that I was sitting with my fingers crossed at the time. It is going to be a very difficult game but one that we can very much look forward to.”

After already coming up against Allan Johnston’s Queen of the South and Robbie Neilson’s Hearts, the match against St Johnstone pitches Stevie up against another coach that he has worked with the past, Callum Davidson.

Coaching team, February 2019:- Callum Davidson, Stevie Crawford and Greg Shields

In February 2019, Davidson became Stevie’s first-team coach at Dunfermline. He left this position in the summer of 2019, and was then appointed assistant manager of Millwall before being appointed manager of St Johnstone in June 2020, succeeding Tommy Wright. Stevie joked:-

“It probably shows how many clubs that I have been at as well. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. To be in the last eight is great. It gives the players and the club the recognition that we have reached the quarter final stages.

“It is something to look forward to but we are very much focused on the game this weekend. It was the talking point on Sunday night on the group chats but from Monday our focus has very much been on the Raith Rovers game.

The competition opened up with one or two of the bigger teams going out against the odds but it was not surprise that Stevie stressed that the contest is still extremely competitive.

“I said of the last sixteen that there wasn’t going to be an easy fixture. Obviously credit to Alloa getting a result against Hearts and then Ross County getting the result as well but that is cup football. It was exciting over the weekend knowing that we were in the hat but it is back to the daily routine of preparing for the league.”

For the record, courtesy of club historian Duncan Simpson, the Pars most frequent quarter final opponent has been Rangers, with whom they have been drawn four times, playing seven quarter-final matches in total against the Ibrox side.

Of the 26 quarter-final matches played to date, Athletic have won 8, drawn 3 and lost 15, with 40 goals scored and 61 conceded. Of the 18 previous occasions when Dunfermline reached this stage, the club progressed to the semi-final on six of them – 1949, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997 and 2005.

In September 1956, Dunfermline lost 6-0 to Celtic at Parkhead to record their worst ever quarter-final match result.  However, just four days later the Pars won the second leg 3-0, thus recording their best-ever win in the competition. That result was equalled in November 2005 when Dunfermline defeated Hibernian 3-0 at East End Park with two goals from Mark Burchill and a rare goal from Gary Mason doing the damage.

The latest date in the calendar year for any game also happened to be a quarter-final match.  On 16 November 1977 the Pars lost the second leg of their tie with Rangers 3-1 at East End Park.  Of course the forthcoming match against St Johnstone could be postponed and that record remain intact!

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