Manager on ThursdayThursday, 29th Apr 2021
29/04/21: SC - “It is pleasing that we have now made the play offs and we know what is going to be facing us.”
Stevie Crawford reflected on the 4-3 win over Arbroath last Saturday:-
“It was an emotional rollercoaster. Having watched the game back, fair play to Arbroath they came down and threw everything at us as well. There was the excitement of going two goals up early on in the game and I was disappointed in the way that we lost the first goal.
“I don’t think there was much contact in the penalty incident that brought about the second one, if there was any at all by Ewan Henderson but I can see why it was given.
“The pleasing thing was we re-grouped at half time. We made the boys aware that Hearts were three nothing up and our destiny was in our own hands. I was delighted in the fashion that we took the game to Arbroath again and it was two excellent goals from Craig Wighton that went on to win us the game.
Stevie was delighted with the steel, grit and the determination to get his team over that winning line. Of late he felt that there had been an added element in the most recent wins:-
“It was the creative side in terms of, going back to the Queens game scoring three goals the week before and making numerous chances and then scoring four goals at the weekend. We could have scored more as well. It does leave us a little more open to the opposition attacking but the creative side has been there for us to see in the last two weeks.
“I was disappointed when the emotion of the game took its toll when Stewart scored from Jason Thomson’s cross. I was frustrated at the time thinking how has he managed to score a header from there. From watching that back it was a great cross from Jason Thomson and a tremendous finish. From the minute it came from Stewart’s head from the distance that he was out, Fonners had no chance to save it.
“It made it an edgy last ten minutes but we were throwing bodies in front of the ball to get any blocks and we got a bit of the rub of the green that we hadn’t been getting in previous matches.”
Ewan Henderson has made an impact with a goal and three assists in the last four games and Stevie claimed that the on loan Celtic midfielder had been a massive plus since arriving in late March and he has created competition for places which was needed:-
“He has got that calmness and he has that art of being able to carry the ball and dribble with it at his feet where he is in total control of it. He sees things going forward, he is a good character who has settled into the group right away.
“Towards the end of the game on Saturday he was chasing one down in the left back area to get there before Jason Thomson. The only reason that I had to bring Ewan off was because he was on a yellow card and he could possibly have picked up another one in the latter stages of the game.”
Stevie acknowledged that the club has felt very fortunate to have been able add in Ewan towards the end of the loan window:-
“We had tried in January to bring him in but for one reason or another it never actually went through at that time. He looks like he is enjoying his football, he has settled into the group helped with having Kerr McInroy in the building, who he knows really well.”
The pair have been together at Celtic from the age of twelve but since the turn of the year Kerr has been an unused sub in 8 matches and on two occasions wasn’t in the match day squad. He has returned to the first team action in the last two matches and hopes to play a part in the important season finale. Steve commented:-
“Sometimes a person coming in who you know, can allow you to kick on again. Ewan has definitely brought the best out of Kerr in recent weeks as well.
“Kerr is probably a little bit frustrated from the turn of the year that he has maybe not had as much game time as he would have hoped. He has shown in the last couple of weeks that he will have a big input in what we do between now and the end of the season.”
With injuries troubling Euan Murray, Scott Banks, Fraser Murray and Iain Wilson, and Steven Whittaker and Declan McManus playing with injuries the manager was asked if he would be tempted to rest anybody on Friday?
“We will fully focus on the Alloa game. We want to keep the momentum going after the feel good factor of winning two games in a row. We want to win the game but I’m sure everyone is aware that we have had guys missing out with injuries in the last few weeks.”
“Some of them did start training towards the end of last week and we have not had any setbacks with them at this moment in time. We will be picking a team to try and win the game against Alloa. Whether it is right that some boys go back into the team, or we stick with the team that won on. Saturday is a different question.
“We still have decisions to make, we are hopeful that we are going to have a full squad to choose from. Fraser Murray picked up a knee injury at the weekend after he came on quite late in the game. He took a nasty knock whether the game comes too soon for Fraser Murray we will have to wait and see. Other than Ryan Dow and Lewis Martin, we are hopeful that we will have a full squad to choose from.”
Stevie confirmed that he took central defender Vytas Gašpuitis off on Saturday as a tactical change:-
“It wasn’t because we were unhappy with his performance. It was a decision that was made to try and allow us to win the game of football which proved to be the right decision at the end.
“Paul Watson came on for the last twenty five minutes, half an hour and he communicated with the boys. That is something that Vytas will get better at the longer that he is in the country and the longer that he is playing with us.
“I just felt that Paul’s experience of being able to talk to Aaron Comrie, Lewis Mayo and the boys in front of him was going to prove pivotal in allowing us to win the game. In the end I think that happened to be the case.
“Credit to Paul, he wanted to play the previous week and we just felt that it was a game too early. The pleasing thing is that we have managed to win games without him playing or starting either of them. He will be in a better place come Friday night. Whether he starts or I go with big Vytas again that is a decision that you have to make as a manager.
“It is good that Paul is going to be back for selection and closer to starting games. Also Euan Murray seems to be in a better place with his ankle and his calf. If the week goes well then there are going to be headaches for me in getting the right starting eleven.”
So is that a nice headache to have?
“It is, and it is not trying to be too clever in the team selection because it is the feelgood factor of having won against Queens and Arbroath in recent weeks that we want to continue that vein of form. Alloa are a very good side, I know that they have been relegated but we have always found it difficult games against Alloa.
“Peter Grant has them playing in a certain manner and they are a very good possession based team. Innes Cameron upfront has scored a number of goals for them now. Alan Trouten and Kevin Cawley play just in behind him and they are an exciting team to watch. They knock the ball about and ask you questions so we will have to be fully focused on the problems that they can give us. Again we will be looking to try and be creative ourselves to score goals.”
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