Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 11th Apr 2019

11/04/19: SC - “With all due respect I am more concerned about getting the result that we need. Whether it is Falkirk or whoever, we have to focus on applying ourselves properly.

Acknowledging the importance of a Dunfermline match against Falkirk, Stevie Crawford stressed that the focus would be very much on that match despite how important the following three matches might be in terms of claiming a play off place. He told the media conference this lunchtime:-

“We have got four big games now. We had got ourselves into a position where we were on the tails of the play off positions but it is not to say that we have given up. It is not mathematically impossible but we want to get back to winning ways on Saturday.

“The last four games have not gone for us in terms of getting points on the board. The last two performances against the two sides relegated from the Premiership last season, I think have been very encouraging.

“Sometimes in life you do not get what you deserve or what you were hoping for. It is a case of channelling all that disappointment into the Falkirk game at the weekend.”

Saturday’s derby against Falkirk is set up to be a real contest. The Bairns sit bottom of the league but just three points off sixth. Dunfermline lie fifth and still have hopes of catching four placed Inverness Caley Thistle. The Highlanders will be playing in the semi final of the William Hill Scottish Cup so the gap could be reduced to five points.

Stevie Crawford has played in this derby and has been involved in the coaching side at Falkirk, so he knows the rivalry.

“For a number of years no there has been a bitter sweet feeling. It is a big game, especially for Falkirk. With all due respect I am more concerned about getting the result that we need. Whether it is Falkirk or whoever, we have to focus on applying ourselves properly.

“The dip from the last couple of games has stopped us putting enough points on the board from the opportunities that we have created for ourselves. Collectively we stay together on that, there is not a blame culture here. We try and take confidence from the performances but also have an edge to us that we are going to maximise what we can out of the remaining games.”

SC feels that all his players have been given an opportunity since the new management team has been put in place. Matty Todd (pictured above) has started the last two games and young Lewis McCann has come on off the bench. He said:-

“You know where you stand. Boys have been given game time, whether certain individuals are happy with the amount of game that they have been given.”

Robbie Muirhead (pictured below) has only features as a late sub in four of 14 Dunfermline matches since the turn of the year. SC said that he did not have an ‘agenda’:-

“If you speak to Robbie he will tell you that it has been a frustrating time for him. He probably wanted more game time but I speak to the players and I have always said that we will try and pick players who are going to try and get us a result. He came on Tuesday night and did well. If we feel that he has a role to play at the weekend then we will select him.

“If we leave him or any other player out, if we don’t think that they are going to contribute then hard decisions have to be made. I don’t want any player at the club that is happy to not be involved. When Robbie came on, he looked like he wanted to make an impact.”

“I have always said that you are responsible not just to the younger player that you are bringing into the environment to try and kick start his career, you are also responsible for everything that the club is about.

“The pleasing thing for me was young Matty Todd playing away from home, in a game that mattered. He would be the first to tell you that he found the pace of the game totally different from reserve team football. He wasn’t fazed by it, that was the important thing for myself and the coaching staff.

“We made a point of talking to him between the Partick Thistle game and the Ross County game because he wasn’t fazed, he found it difficult but then he feeds that back to the younger players at the club. He played a part, yes we would have loved to have come away with three points, but he has played the part and got a result against a team that was fighting for their lives.

“We then go up to Ross County and you see more of the positives from Matty Todd. More of his natural game running in behind, it was a different type of game, a narrower pitch and all the reasons why we tried to promote Matty into the team.

“That was promising and shows that they are hungry. They actually believe that they are going to get an opportunity but they also know if they come in to the team that they are responsible for trying to get a result.

“Whether Matty or Lewis McCann (pictured below) start at the weekend or another youngster is going to get a chance, that is decisions that we make as a coaching staff, but it will only benefit Dunfermline long term.”

The gaffer is thinking ahead to next season but describes his progress as “planning to plan”. Right from when he was appointed in January, Stevie has been thinking about that but play off places and league status next season is still all to play for and he cannot actively work on anything specific until that is known.

“You work behind the scenes and a lot of it goes unnoticed. Trust me, there is a lot of work being put in to what we can do to take this club forward next season, without taking our eye of the ball. I have said from day one that you have to get results and in recent weeks we haven’t managed to do that.

“We all want to get better here and three points will help secure our position and possibly give us a starting point to look to how we can take the club forward next season.”

Stevie revealed that Louis Longridge, (pictured above) injured on Tuesday night, would be getting a scan but was not ruling his influential 27 year old midfielder out for the game on Saturday. Louis used his shoulder to soften his collision with an advertising board at Dingwall.

“There is a bit of swelling on his shoulder so we want to be in a better position to see how we are with that later. It is not ideal and if the game comes too early for Louis then it will give an opportunity to someone else.”

Looking at player availability, Aidan Connolly came through 45 minutes in the reserve league match at Kelty on Wednesday afternoon against Hamilton Academical.

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