Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 15th Sep 2016

15/09/16: "If we stay positive, cut out the mistakes and keep playing the way that we have been playing, then the results will come.

Allan Johnston commenced by giving an update on the player availability:-

"The majority of boys are all back. David Hopkirk is doing a lot of running but still probably a few days away. We will try our best to get him as fit as possible so that he does not break down again before he comes back into training.

"Sean Murdoch is getting closer and closer. Last week he did some handling and we are just taking it easy and building it up because he had not done anything for a couple of months. This week he has been doing shooting and small sided games, just getting used to the pace of the ball again. Just getting some handling and getting his feet moving again. It would be great to have him back because he was obviously a massive player for us last year. He is feeling good and hopefully he will be challenging for a place sooner rather than later.

"We want competition. Hutts has done well but sometimes if you do not have the competition it doesn`t push you on. It will be good to have more competition but having said that young Cammy Gill has been doing excellently as well. He is improving all the time but he is still a young goalie."

Reflecting on the last match against Dundee United Allan Johnston lamented how his team got punished for their mistakes:-

"We just have to cut out the mistakes, I do not think there was much wrong with the way we played. I thought that we were the better team, created more chances, missed three penalties which I have never seen before. But the good thing was that we were positive and we were creating the chances. We looked a real goal threat with the pace we had upfront. A lot of good stuff but obviously we need to turn that into results."

AJ revealed that penalty kicks had been the focus of practice this week:-

"In training they all score penalties. It is not possible to replicate it. It is typical, when you are playing against a different goalie who doesn`t know you it is totally different."

After missing the last six penalties the manager said that there were no plans to change the dedicated penalty taker:-

"It is whoever is confident. The last thing you want to do is say `right you are taking the penalty` and they don`t want to take it. It has to be one of the boys who is confident to take it that is going to be happy to step up there and get the goal. We have good players and it is one of those things. We do not have a great record at penalties recently but that will change."

Allan said that he did not call the changes from the sidelines:-

"Gavin was first up to hit the penalty. When he missed the first one then Nicky, who had said on the Friday that he wanted to hit the penalties as well, was the automatic choice. When he missed Paul stepped up and he wanted to take it. There was not much I could do, they were all confident enough the lot of them. Sometimes penalties are a lottery but you expect to at least score one of them."

The Dunfermline players know that they have to improve because results have not really been good enough. The performances have been good, cheap goals have been conceded but with the quality in the team they can always score goals.

"It is not as though teams are cutting us open with brilliant play which is what you might expect when you go up a division. It is just basic errors but something we can work on and we have got to improve on because we cannot afford to give away the number of goals that we have been giving away.
"If we stay positive, cut out the mistakes and keep playing the way that we have been playing, then the results will come. Some teams are struggling to create chances and their confidence is down. If you went to our game at the weekend, you wouldn`t say that the confidence is down. Every player wanted the ball, the work rate was incredible, you couldn`t really ask for much more - except score three penalties!"

The manager watched opponents Morton when they played Hamilton on 9th August. It was the last match that they won but they played really well. He observed:-

"They had the young boy Quitongo up front, he had pace and his movement caused them all sorts of problems. At setpieces they have three big ones who attack the ball well. They have signed Gavin Gunning as well because they have had a couple of injuries. Their centre half came off at the weekend injured, the left back got sent off last week so there will be changes to the team that played last week.

"It will be a hard game especially going down to Greenock but it is the start of a few games that we are looking to pick up a few points from."

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