Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 5th Nov 2020

05/11/20: SC - “We have got to try and work at being narrow, tight, secure out of possession and then make sure that we are causing them problems as well.

After registering their best ever start to a season, if Dunfermline are going to make it seven wins out of seven they will have to overcome Ayr United on Saturday, opponents that Stevie Crawford describes as “very difficult”. He told the media:-

“When you look at last week’s result against Morton, they lost three goals in the last ten minutes of the game. They created a number of chances in the game, Zanatta wasn’t involved but the front four - Cammy Smith, Luke McCowan, Michael Moffat and Bruce Anderson - caused a lot of problems. They hit the post as well so they are good with their combination plays, clever in terms of linking and asking defenders questions.

“It is going to be a very difficult game but what I would then flip that with is, that we have got to try and work at being narrow tight secure out of possession and then make sure that we are causing them problems as well.

“We are scoring goals at the moment and winning games of football but Somerset Park is a very very difficult place to go. Mentally we have got to be on the money right from the start.”

One of Ayr’s danger men, Bruce Anderson, is no stranger to the Pars since he scored five goals for them during the 14 matches he played for them while on loan from Aberdeen in the second part of the 2018-2019 season. The gaffer expanded:-

“Bruce is an out and out striker, a penalty box striker. His link up play will get better the more games he gets under his belt. It was Bruce who hit the post at the weekend and he just makes wee darting runs in behind centre backs.

“If you allow them opportunities to get their foot on the ball and make these slide passes then you are asking for trouble. It is something that has to be stopped at the source and not allow these runs. Sometimes players with good movement will cause you bother but we have to be wary of it but also look to cause Ayr United problems in similar ways.”

This season Dunfermline have found varying ways to win games and Stevie agreed that last Saturday’s match against Queen of the South proved the point:-

“Looking back there wasn’t much in the game to start with on Saturday but I thought we finished the first half really strong. We played some really good stuff to go in 2-0 ahead. Then when you lose the goal early on you are thinking are Queens going to have a go at us now because they are hurting having lost their first two league games?

“There was a great response again. In the lead up to the third goal I thought some of the football we played was fantastic. There there a lot of composed football, we were knocking the ball about and there was patience shown. We won the ball with stuff that we work on to react and get it further up the park again.

“We kept the ball and Kerr McInroy made the run in behind to get the corner which is refreshing because we are talking about midfielders trying to run beyond. It was a good delivery from the corner, Euan Murray gets on it, Paul Watson reacts like you want your strikers to do and buries the chance.

“It is collective at the moment, there is development in the team and we are now seeing things that we are working on the training ground.

“At that point it was great, 3-1 up and an hour into the game but then we lost a bad goal at a bad time. Giving away the penalty, should Iain (Wilson) have dived in? Possibly not but he will learn from it but we are not here to shoot anybody.

“The one thing that I will say, although we ended up too deep we didn’t buckle. I think that you earn your own luck at times like that. I do think if you look back maybe twelve or eighteen months ago with the corner kicks that we are conceding late on in the game, we would have lost a goal. That is not to say that we won’t in the future but that was the pleasing side at 3-2. The difference between taking three points at the weekend and coming away with a point is massive.

“I keep saying it, we will drop points at some point this season but as long as the attitude and commitment is there like that, the togetherness we will pick up more points than we will lose this year.”

It was Kerr McInroy’s first league start since arriving on loan from Celtic. Stevie discussed the frustration that the midfielder has felt:-

“He played down at Dumbarton, then he got called up that night into the Scotland Under 21 squad. He had to miss out on the Falkirk and Kilmarnock games then was probably frustrated like the rest of the boys who don’t start but he didn’t let it show in his training.

“I felt it was the right game for Kerr to come in. It is not a slant on the other boys’ performance levels because we are winning games of football but I think he showed his maturity in terms of how he thinks. As a football player he is very comfortable on the ball, he doesn’t panic, he is a good passer, his weight of pass is good and he has got a good range of passing.

“I am delighted with him and you can see in his performance, albeit we were hanging on for probably the last ten to fifteen minutes because Queens were throwing everything at us. It wasn’t necessarily that Kerr’s legs had gone but we just ended up a little bit deeper than we had hoped and that is because he is dedicating himself well on the training pitch as well.”

Defender Aaron Comrie is still a little sore after being forced off in the first half against Queen of the South:-

“We will see where Aaron is at over the next day or two but I think Saturday will come too soon for Aaron. We are still not sure of the full extent of how long that he is going to be out. It is disappointing but then you see the flexibility that we have in the squad.

“I could have possibly have put Lewis Mayo on at right back, Iain Wilson has played right back but we felt at that moment in time to slot Steven Whittaker in there because of his experience.

“Iain Wilson had been doing well for us slotting into the middle of midfield so it felt the right decision to make at the time. It panned out that way in the end.”

Stevie had an update on Lewis Martin who has not played this season:-

“Lewis got an MRI scan on Tuesday. He had one earlier regarding his calf, there just seems to be a wee issue in the meta tarsal area. We just have to make sure that there is nothing underlying, if there is the MRI will pick up on that. Then it is just treating him in a slightly different way. It is frustrating for Lewis but at least now the MRI will establish if there is an issue with a different part of his body now.”

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