Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Monday

Monday, 1st Feb 2021

01/02/21: SC - “ We know that we need to try and be a little bit more ruthless and also get a wee break of the ball to try and start winning games of football again.”

Transfer deadline day but the Dunfermline manager Stevie Crawford described it as just a normal day in the office dealing with the challenges in training.

“I have said all along that we are working extremely hard to try and add to the squad if we can. If the right personnel don’t become available, then I am very happy with the squad that we have set in place for the challenges that we will face for the rest of the season.

“I am not ruling anything out and likewise I am not putting myself in the situation where we are definitely be able to bring somebody in. I don’t want to speak about players who are contracted to other clubs. I have seen myself that a few names have been connected with Dunfermline but we are doing our homework to try and work on things that we think will strengthen the club. We will see if anything comes of that.

“You get names thrown at you of players who are available in January. Clubs don’t want to be losing their best players or better players so it is a challenging window January. It is sifting through the ones that agents put to you and make sure you do your homework to see if these are ones that can strengthen your squad at that given time.

“A lot of it is hidden work but if any of that comes to fruition we will see. We have been fortunate enough to have added Scott Banks and Kyle Macdonald to the squad. There are a few things that we are working on to see we can get them over the line but if that doesn’t happen, I am fully happy with the squad that we have got to face the challenges for the rest of the season.”

There was a general consensus from fans and neutrals that Saturday’s performance at Tynecastle was a very good attempt to take points off the league leaders but the Pars gaffer wanted to ensure Dunfermline supporters and everybody connected with the club that he is not happy to lose a game of football:-

“What I will say is that I thought our shape was very good, we were more creative and it says a lot when Craig Gordon was awarded the Man of the Match. That tells a story.”

Stevie agreed that his own goalkeeper, Owain Fôn Williams, played a major role as well:-

“I thought big Owain had two terrific saves in the game and collectively we looked good. It is weird but when you are facing a team at the top of the league and they are coming at you, it allows us to exploit some areas to be an attacking threat ourselves.

“If we perform like that more often we will win games and we will get back out of the wee rut that we are on. We have drawn a lot and our form is winning two, drawn five and lost two in the last nine. We know the challenges that we face, we have spoken about it and I don’t want to make a big deal of not hitting the back of the net at the moment.

“I can’t be critical of the players at the weekend because they made the Hearts keeper work. He did pull off some fantastic saves, Hearts boys were having to throw their bodies in and we had shots that were hitting the target so, other than the actual result itself, there was a lot of positivity in the performance.”

The team can take confidence from many aspects of their match on Saturday.

“Right from the off, I did not realise myself that it was actually within thirty seconds that they cleared one off the line. I thought it was a couple of minutes into the game and that wee bit of luck will turn for us.

“Ryan Dow’s header at the back post was really positive, it was a great ball from Fraser Murray. Iain Wilson was putting in crosses as was Lewis Mayo so I think we did cause Hearts problems. They actually changed their shape at half time to a more direct 4-4-2 so in a way that is a backhand compliment as well.

“We have come away with nothing, that is the frustration but it is something that we can build on. We can add that creativity to our play in the two matches coming up against Raith Rovers and Arbroath.”

This Dunfermline v Raith fixture will be the 100th between the clubs and when the first Fife Derby was played at Stark’s Park in December, it was generally regarded as a great advert for the Championship. Stevie predicted another compelling encounter:-

“Raith Rovers were the better team in the first half in all honesty and in the second half we were the better side. I am sure that it will be another cracking game.

“The Rovers are scoring a lot of goals and they have a lot of creativity in their team. We need to be aware of that but like I said we exploited them and scored two goals ourselves. We know that we need to try and be a little bit more ruthless and also get a wee break of the ball to try and start winning games of football again.”

Having gone to Tynecastle and won and defeated Dundee 3-1 on Saturday Raith have served a warning but Stevie prefers to focus on his team and what they can do:-

“We have got to be confident from the performance at the weekend that we are going to cause them problems as well. They are a good side, John McGlynn has put together a side that is competing at the right end of the Championship. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what we need to try and do better.

“We have improved as a team, as a squad and we are now in the position of having a really healthy squad of players. The bit that we have to correct is trying to start winning games of football again. It will be a tough challenge but one that we can overcome. It is an exciting game of football to play in a derby game here at East End Park.”

A win would narrow the gap between the Pars and league leaders Hearts down to nine points, is the play offs the best road to promotion now?

“I have never been different. We got off to a terrific start and to be up there at the top of the league created a feelgood factor about the place. Realistically I have always said that we are a club that has to take small steps in the right direction. There is an element of disappointment at the moment that we have just not won enough games of football but we can’t let that effect us.

“We have to take the positivity from it. Having won only two games out of the last nine in the league, we still find ourselves at the right end of the table. It is a competitive league but we have to make sure that we are doing enough in games to score goals and win games. That is the challenge that every manager faces. The only way that happens is being fully committed, you have to run that extra yard to try and get on the end of a cross. Try and get on the end of a pass to try and unsettle teams.

“I think Saturday’s performance proved that we are a good side just needing that bit of luck to turn and move on in a positive direction again.”

Regards player availability for Wednesday night Stevie said all was good:- “Everybody is available for selection other than Lewis Martin.”

Commenting further about Kyle Turner and Dom Thomas who weren’t in the squad for the match against Hearts, the manager added:-

“There are things that we have to face in terms of putting a squad of only 18 together. We have more than 18 players so we have to find a way of winning games of football. I am not always going to discuss every single thing through the media about where we are at with players, why they are in the squad or why they are not in the squad. We have a squad that is going to be competitive to take on Raith Rovers and Arbroath at the weekend.”

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