Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 11th Aug 2022

11/08/22: JMc - “You come across these players and you hear people saying ‘a good player you only need to tell once’ - well that’s true of him.

Manager James McPake reflected on the 3-0 win over FC Edinburgh last Saturday and the only issue to address is whether to change a winning team to allow starts for Chris Hamilton and Chris Mochrie.

“It was one win, it was a dominant performance that again the scoreline didn’t reflect. We keep coming back to that but I will be happy to say that 38 times a season if it means we are winning games.

“The important thing was that we got the three points away from home on a tricky pitch. The game was the way we thought it would be - they would frustrate us and we had to be sharp, move the ball quickly and I thought that the boys did that, moving the ball from side to side really well.

“We kept the pressure on them and in the end they just couldn’t handle the amount of attacks that we kept bombarding their box with. We missed a penalty but anyone can miss a penalty so that is not an issue but we missed other chances which is more of an issue.”

James again explained how pleased he was that on the eve of the match at Meadowbank Stadium, Chris Mochrie joined the squad on loan from Dundee United:-

“I was delighted to get him in. He is a player that I know particularly well from years gone by. In terms of games coming up through the academies, I have probably seen Chris a lot more that I have seen some of my own players.

“When he went on, I think he showed that bit of composure that more of our players need to show. He took his goal very well and that’s why Chris averaged 45 or 46 minutes per game and played a lot of football in the Premier League last season for Dundee United. You saw why that is the case, he can be trusted to play at that level because he does have that composure. That is what we are trying to build into our players.”

Recalling matches against the next opponents while at Dundee in the Premier Sports Cup tie last season and in pre season friendlies, James expects a tough game when Montrose are the visitors this Saturday.

“They are a team that knows each other very well, they have a very good manager - a legend at this football club, who I believe will be warmly welcomed back. That doesn’t matter to us, we had the same at East Fife under Craw. Yes they are legends here but we still want to go and get that victory. He will deserve his welcome but then that’s it for the day.”

The Pars boss respects Stewart Petrie for what he has achieved at Montrose and believes that they will be one of the clubs challenging near the top of League One come the end of this season.

“It is going to be a challenge for us. No disrespect to Edinburgh, they have come up a league while Montrose have been a threatening side in this league for a few years now. It’s a game where we need to be at our best if we want a positive result.”

The manager has no injury worries from the weekend with just Graham Dorrans still out. He has options for the weekend with Chris Hamilton returning after suspension but says “headaches no.” Never one to suffer the likes when his team is winning he continued:-

“I never get headaches over leaving a player out of a team or putting a player in a team. Charlie Adam sat out a TV game at East End Park, there was no bigger a player in the Championship, bigger name than Charlie Adam that season but myself and Dave (Mackay) had no qualms about sitting him on the bench.

“Because he is Chris Hamilton, because he is a Dunfermline fan and because he has had a great start - is there a guarantee that he will play on Saturday? Absolutely not because we have just won two games on the bounce.”

There is competition for places but James is adamant that you have to earn your right to play in his team Paul Allan, Joe Chalmers and Matty Todd have all made important midfield contributions. He enthused:-

“For me Matty Todd has been our best player so far and I’m loving working with him. I knew him from the youths and he is a fantastic young boy to work with. He is a sponge in the way he takes in information, the runs that he makes. You come across these players and you hear people saying ‘a good player you only need to tell once’ - well that’s true of him.

“I had one at Dundee, Max Anderson who is very similar to Matty Todd and when you told him to do something, and you explained why you wanted him to do it. Both of them are very similar in characteristics. You can sense when you tell them if they agree with you. You can tell if they are questioning if that is the right thing to do. Then you watch them go and do it, sometimes they agree with you and sometimes they find a better way of doing it, which is great.

“That is who Matty Todd reminds me of. Max is going to have a fantastic career as is Matty in my opinion. He is a joy when you see some of the runs that he is making. We have asked him to make runs into the left and right wing areas to distract full backs and centre backs, then all of a sudden a space opens up. You only need to tell Matty that once and he does it.”

The Dunfermline gaffer disagrees with the system which caused Chris Hamilton’s suspension. A booking in the final play off match against Kilmarnock took him to a disciplinary level that carried over a suspension to this season but he added:-

“Chris has managed to play in four league cup games so he is fit and ready to come in if need be, if called upon and if I feel the need. If I don’t then I will go with the same midfield that has brought us maximum points this season.”

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