Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 22nd Apr 2021

22/04/21: SC - “We are looking to win the game but we have no divine right to just turn up and think that we are going to take all three points.

Stevie Crawford has pointed out that the match winning performance against Queen of the South on Saturday was not solely all down to Dom Thomas. The Pars midfielder earned himself a place in the SPFL team of the week and Stevie conceded “it is nice to hear other managers talking about him that way but it was very much a collective effort.

“I did say after the game that I am not really one for singling out individuals, but Dom was involved in all three goals. He showed his creativity but the boys gave him that platform to do that on Saturday. It was very pleasing looking back at the game that albeit he was playing slightly higher, his defensive positioning was very good and that allowed him to get on the ball as well believe it or not.

“He got his body in between the defender and the ball and then linking up play. He varied his play which was important as well. He got crosses in, he dribbled at people, he had shots at goal. It was very pleasing on that side of things.”

For the crucial match against Queens Stevie went with plenty of attacking options playing Craig Wighton upfront beside Kevin O’Hara with Declan McManus playing in behind them and Dom Thomas and Ewan Henderson in supply jobs. He explained his thinking:-

“What is important is that you get the opportunity for the right combination of plays when you are going to play attacking players. I felt that there has been signs of that in recent weeks.

“We knew going into the Queens game that we had to win the game to give ourselves a realistic opportunity of finishing in the play offs. We are faced with the same situation again against Arbroath. We are looking to win the game but we have no divine right to just turn up and think that we are going to take all three points.

“We will very much just focus on ourselves knowing that it is going to be a very hard game. We need again to try and bring that creative side to score goals to win the game.”

The manager claimed that he always knew that his team would face a tough spell during the season. The only unknown was at what point and over how many games:-

“We found that it was towards the latter stages but we have come through it and faced a very challenging period. I said after the Raith game that we then faced Hearts and the boys showed character that day. We had opportunities in that game to score goals, as we did against Dundee.

“It was there for everybody to see that we created a good number of chances at the weekend and in football you want to see that on a weekly basis but unfortunately you come up against different opposition that can stifle that and it is trying to bring that creative side to try and score goals which is the hardest thing in football. We very much take encouragement from Saturday’s performance.”

A top four place is a case of winning the final two Championship games at home to Arbroath and away to Alloa Athletic but typically the Pats gaffer would only consider one game at a time:-

“I don’t think that we can get ahead of ourselves. Saturday is going to play a massive part in whether we are going to get into the play offs or not.

“Every day is a learning day and we have faced highs and lows throughout the season, we have remained pretty consistent through it in terms of our behaviour.

“I have spoken about our discipline with what we have faced with covid, as every other team is facing as well, but it is a massive plus the way the boys and the squad have applied themselves over the course of the season. I think that will hold with us for the remaining games.”

Dick Campbell’s Arbroath come to East End Park on the back of a 4-0 victory over Ayr last week and Stevie said:-

“I have watched it back, it was a very good performance but it is not for me to say how Dick Campbell sets his teams up. They will be given due respect and we know that it is going to be a very tough game.

“We have faced them three times this season already having won two and lost one of them. We have to focus on trying to hit the levels that we did last Saturday. It was refreshing that we got back to winning ways, that was important because it had been a number of games since we had last won against Morton.

“The boys showed a belief and a togetherness. If we can hit those heights, it will give us a good opportunity to try and take all three points. We have won up at Gayfield this season but it is a different game playing down here at East End is totally different but when you are coming towards the end of the season so it is different type of performance that might be required.

“We know Arbroath are a good side, they have competed well in the league in the last couple of seasons when we have been in amongst them and I don’t see anything different come the weekend.”

While Dunfermline are keen to pick up the three points Arbroath have also plenty to play for. The Red Lichties sit two points above the play off, ninth place. The teams below them are Ayr United and Morton. They respectively face Queen of the South and Alloa Athletic and Arbroath host Morton on the last day of the season, so it is important for the Angus side that they ease themselves away from any play off involvement. Stevie continued:-

“Any team under Dick Campbell is going to compete, whether they were sitting here in a position in the table where they were comfortable- not able to win promotion or get relegated. It is not getting caught up too much in what Arbroath are doing but being respectful knowing that he has good players and he has put a good squad together.

“It is not just eleven players, he has good characters in that dressing room so we need to be mindful of that and try and hit the levels that we did against Queen of the South.”

On player availability Stevie explained that there are injuries to Iain Wilson, Scott Banks, Euan Murray, Paul Watson and Declan McManus after his shoulder knock:-

“At this moment in time there is nobody that I am ruling out of the game at the weekend. They are doing some part training to get themselves fit for the weekend. Other than Ryan Dow and Lewis Martin, the longer term injuries, we are hoping to have a full squad to choose from.”

Euan Murray was initially out with an ankle knock that went up into his calf and Stevie closed:-

“You can only push your body so far but Euan had played a number of games and had shown what he was all about in terms of his commitment and get us over that to start winning games of football again. He has not ruled himself out for the weekend.”

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