Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 25th Mar 2021

25/03/21: Collectiveness, fighting spirit and mentality apparent in Tuesday night’s cup tie

The Dunfermline boss Stevie Crawford acknowledged the disappointment of going out of the Scottish Cup on penalties stressing that he doesn’t take that lightly.

“We wanted to go through and I think you saw that in the performance in terms of the effort. It wasn’t to be, so let’s not dwell on it and let’s look forward to the next eight league games.”

The gaffer did however highlight some positives to take from the match against Morton:-

“Without going on too much about it, there were things in the Inverness game and although we only lost by one goal, it just wasn’t us collectively. Against Morton there was a collectiveness. I know we came away having lost the game, but there was fight and boys blocking.

“Not everything came off and the ball ended up off the pitch for a large part of the game. But there was a togetherness on Tuesday night. We are going through a sticky patch at the moment and you don’t get everything that goes your way.

“We have a decent run of games now that are going to play a big part in how our season pans out. If I see that fighting spirit from the boys, it will hold in the games that we are facing coming up.”

The coaching staff had discussed and gone for three central strikers on Cappielow’s tight pitch but there were several switches made early on:-

“Credit to Morton, Lewis Strapp pushed down the left hand side and caused us a wee bit of bother. Declan was probably having to track him back before we sorted that out by putting Steven Whittaker on Craig McGuffie which left Aaron Comrie to look after Strapp.

“There were things in the game that they took on board. Nesbitt and McGuffie are decent players on the ball, so I felt we dealt with that.

“If you want to be successful, you have to try and do the ugly side. I know that we have finished on the wrong side of it on Tuesday night but I don’t want us being too downbeat and disheartened with that performance. It is never an easy place to go and barring the penalty we could have been going through to the next round against East Fife.”

Stevie made seven changes to his starting eleven for the Scottish Cup tie but claimed that every individual in the Dunfermline squad has a role to play in getting the most out of the remaining league games and hopefully the play offs.

“The boys know that the changes weren’t made to disrespect the competition, it is important to let everybody know that. We have eight big games coming up and we have got to make sure that we give everybody the chance of playing as many games as possible.

“Recovery is going to be a big thing for us, not just towards the weekend but the way the games are going to pan out now. I have got a trust, a belief in the players on that side of things. You could see that on Tuesday night. Some boys have been very patient on getting game time and I don’t think it showed.

“Some boys have gone 120 minutes and that shows that they have been training properly and looking after themselves. We will need everybody. I keep saying how big a part every individual will play. It is something that only time will tell.

“We have to make sure that we fully focus on the Dundee game. It is going to be a difficult one but we must make sure that we get results together between now and the end of the season. All the games are important now.

“Is everyone a cup final? You could possibly look at it that way. The Dundee games have been attractive games in my spell as manager and though Tuesday night wasn’t an attractive game it showed that fighting mentality side. We didn’t let Morton dominate us in terms of their directness, Lewis Strapp’s long throws and playing for setplays.

“We have just got to find that little bit extra and I have always said that the hardest thing in football is scoring goals. We need to have the belief, work on it on the training ground and start creating more chances in games to allow us to go and win games of football.

“We have developed as a football club in every window since we have been in the job but like everything, some times you can be experiencing something for the first time. We have a few players who have won promotion out of this league but there are boys who have been playing League One football and some didn’t have any Championship experience under their belt as well.

“I can see them growing, I can see them getting better. We want everything today rather than tomorrow but I do think it becomes a mentality thing. The mentality was there at Cappielow. We will play better and we know that we have to create chances to score goals.”

The last time Dunfermline travelled to Dundee it was on the back of taking St Johnstone to extra time and penalties in the Betfred Cup. Stevie recalled how his side found a way to get back into that game.

“It wasn’t nice to be 3-0 down but we have done it and we will be telling the boys that over the next couple of days. We have shown signs during the season that it matters to play for Dunfermline.

“Our form was very good at the start of the season in terms of winning games. We have gone through a patch of indifferent results. Sometimes that can come on the back of playing everybody in the first round of fixtures. That is something that you have to deal with as a football team, as a football player but let’s not make it easy for anybody who comes up against us. I will stress that, we don’t need to look any further back than the boys’ attitude on Tuesday night.”

Reporting on players availability, Kyle Macdonald missed out at Morton through being cup tied. Stevie is hopeful that Paul Watson, who also missed Tuesday night’s cup tie, will recover for the match at Dundee on Saturday night. The consolation was that Lewis Mayo stepped up and provided a good partnership with Euan Murray in the centre of a defence that was well tested.

Ryan Dow has seen a specialist and progression will allow the removal of the boot that he has been wearing since going down injured against Raith Rovers on 3rd February. There is “nothing untoward” assured the manager.

The home match against Dundee, postponed on 9th March, has been re-scheduled for Tuesday 13th April with a 7.00pm kick off at East End Park.

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