Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 11th Mar 2021

11/03/21: SC - “It will be competitive match and they will look to cause us problems that we have to be ready for.

Above: 2002 DAFC photocall - Jason Dair, Gus Macpherson and Stevie Crawford

Saturday’s visitors to East End Park, Morton, have today appointed former Pars player Gus Macpherson as manager until the end of the season with Andy Millen joining him as assistant manager. It remains to be seen if that upsets manager Stevie Crawford’s homework on the Cappielow side. Stevie discussed the fixture:-

“It will be competitive match and they will look to cause us problems that we have to be ready for. I have watched their game and we have spoken as a staff about what problems we can try and cause them. Looking at our home form, it has been very good this season and the points that we have been able to put on the board from our home games.

“You are always trying to get better, we want to try and score more goals in games. Our record defensively is very good, it is the best in the league at the moment so we have to consolidate on that while looking at being more creative in the final third.”

Macpherson’s appointment comes as a result of David Hopkin’s resignation in December. Stevie felt that Morton got a reaction when Anton McElhone took over the interim manager’s role ahead of the last time the sides met at East End Park:-

“Looking back there was a slight release from a change in management the last time when Morton came to play us. I know talking to the players they felt a bit unjust that we lost the game but it did happen.

“We cannot change that, the result is what it is. What we have to do is use that as our motivation going into Saturday’s game. We must make sure that we go into it with a winning mentality to try and take ourselves into a stronger position in the league.”

Above: Morton’s Anton McElhone and Chris Millar in the dug out at Dunfermline in December

Morton’s win 1-0 at Inverness on Tuesday night lifted them into sixth place in the Championship just five points behind Dunfermline and Queen of the South. The competitiveness of the league is apparent with just eight points separating second top from second bottom. “It is crazy” remarked the Pars gaffer:-

“When you see the run that Queen of the South have gone on, every team will want to replicate that because it can put you in a very very strong position.”

Asked if there had any good news about Ryan Dow, Stevie said:-

“There is talk about him possibly seeing a specialist, whether it is done over Zoom or whatever it is with Jamie (Sutton) towards the end of this week. If not it will be next week.

“He is still in his boot but there have not been any indications that there is anything untoward happened with Ryan at this moment in time. It is still at a stage of being far too early to say if he is going to be out for the season or not.”

Above: Ryan Dow in action against Morton in December

Continuing the manager also gave an update on Lewis Martin who has not been able to play at all this season:-

“There is frustration that we cannot get to the root of the problem with Lewis Martin. It is very frustrating because we are getting towards the final third of the season now. We just have to be there to support him. It has been a difficult season for Lewis.

“He knows that we think the world of him here and that we are there for him to try and help him through these tough times. We will do our best as a club and on the medical side to make sure that we are trying to speak to people on that side of the game who can possibly help him.”

On a more positive note the manager was pleased with the progress of new signing Vytas Gašpuitis in his quest to get up to match sharpness.

“He has been like a player coming back at the start of pre season. He was still in very good physical condition but what he has found difficult is coming into a group of players who are up to a certain speed at the stage of the season where we are two thirds into it.

“He has worked extremely hard and I know through speaking to him that in the last few weeks he has started finding strength in his thighs. It is a good feeling as a football player that you are then able to react to difficult situations. Especially for a defender trying to react to a forward, making short and sharp movements.

Above: Vytas Gašpuitis at East End Park

“He has worked extremely hard, he is now in a situation where he is in place now to be considered for inclusion in the squad. Credit to him, there is still a case for him to go out and get minutes under his belt. That becomes a problem because we don’t have reserve football at the moment.

“His attitude is first class on the training pitch, he is a strong individual whose mindset is to come over here and do well. He wants to bring something to the table, whether that opportunity comes sooner rather than later that will be determined by the way the results go.”

Vytas on the bench at Dumfries so was that because Euan Murray was not available?

“Partly that was the case but, like I have said before, because of the numbers we now have in the squad, it is trying to pick the right people for the games accordingly who are going to have an impact and give us a possible solution to try and adapt to a game on a certain manner. A little bit of both.”

Stevie was unwilling to reveal too much on player availability for Saturday:-

“I can only confirm that the two who are definitely not going to be available at this stage are Ryan Dow and Lewis Martin, and of course, Lewis Mayo is suspended.

Above: Lewis Mayo against Queen of the South

“Unfortunately Lewis Mayo picked up a red card towards the end of the Queen of the South game. It was a shame because he had shown his adaptability. He came to the club as a centre back, he has been asked to play at right back, he has played centre mid for us and he got the opportunity to play at centre back against Queens.

“Albeit the result wasn’t right for the club, there was disappointment amongst the group and the coaching staff because of the result but I thought Lewis performed well on the day. It is a little frustrating that he has picked up the red card that will see him miss out the next game.”

Dunfermline went into the match against Queens without their captain and vice captain so Stevie had to give the captain’s armband to centre back Paul Watson. It was an easy decision revealed the gaffer:-

“Since I signed Paul, he behaves and acts like a captain. When I listen to interviews or listen to experienced managers in the Premier League in England talking, they talk about a calmness and I think Steven Whittaker and Paul Watson have brought that as well. They don’t wear the captain’s armband but on and off the pitch they behave in that manner.

“There was disappointment in Paul when wearing the armband that we didn’t get the result down at Queen of the South, we can dwell on that, we can feel sorry for ourselves or we can look forward. Paul has been looking to lead the team in the last couple of weeks to get us back to winning ways.

“Against Queen of the South we didn’t cause the goalkeeper enough problems on the day but we have an opportunity to put that right against Morton because our home form has been very good. We have got to take any frustration from the last result into the next game.”

Above: Paul Watson

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