Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Wednesday

Wednesday, 22nd Jan 2020

22/01/20: SC - “There were positives in the Morton performance but we need to stop this rot of results that we are on at the moment.”

Manager Stevie Crawford feels that it is vitally important to halt the team’s poor run of results. He told the media:-

“When you are on a losing run it was not a good time to have no game last weekend.

“We have been leaking too many goals. To go down to Cappielow, score two goals and come away without taking anything from the game is a sore one to take.

“We are hurting but the boys have worked hard last week, as they always have, and tried to address a few matters that give us the best opportunity to win the game on Friday night.”

Like the opening match of the Championship against Dundee it will go out live on the BBC Scotland channel. That was an exciting game and there will be comparisons made to that one, Stevie predicted:-

“It was disappointing on the night, we were two goals up and we are not going to blame it on decisions made by the officials, it was partly of our own making as well.

“I thought that Dundee had to change their game plan. They threw the dice and it worked in their favour. Result wise it did not pan out the way that we hoped that day after going two goals ahead. It was a really energetic, positive performance and on another day we would have come away with the three points.

“That seems a long time ago now. There were a lot of positives from the performance that night and I think we have goals in the team. Then it is just collectively working that wee bit harder to make sure that we shut the door now at the other end. It is just tightening up on the goals that we are losing to give us the opportunity to put points on the board.”

Friday night’s opponents Dundee put four past Dunfermline in the Kilmac Stadium in December and the manager has that very much in his mind:-

“I thought that we were too open in the game up at Dens. We went up there in buoyant mood, not overexcited, not overconfident but we started the game very well. We went a goal down but responded in a really good manner. The goals that we lost were poor goals.

“We were a bit open that day but managed to dig it out by getting it back to 4-3 after going down to ten men. The pleasing thing that day was that the boys showed the character that we are going to need to get ourselves out of this run of results that we are on at the moment. They have worked tirelessly this week to try and rectify the problems that we have been on the end of recently.”

Team selection for the last match against Morton involved introducing Euan Murray in midfield and a rare start for Gabby McGill. The manager revealed the thinking around his decisions for that game:-

“What we tried to address going to Morton was the conditions. Going away from home to a tighter park where in the earlier part of the season we have not done so well. I thought for the first half hour we were very good and the game plan was working.

“But we shot ourselves in the foot by conceding a goal just before half time. We came out in the second half and lost one quite quickly on the back of that as well. We had to start chasing the game.

“As I said to go away from home, score two goals and not come away with anything, that is something that we have to make sure doesn’t happen. The boys as well as the staff will take accountability for that.”

The squad is working harder on the training ground to stop crosses getting into the box:-

“Leading from the front line - it is not just a case of looking at defenders and defensive minded players. It starts at the front with Nisbet and McGill. There were positives in the Morton performance but we need to stop this rot of results that we are on at the moment.”

So will Euan Murray and Gabby McGill be fielded on Friday night in similar roles?

“I have said all along that we will pick the best eleven that we see fit to try and win a game of football. Gabby did himself no harm against Morton. His game time has been limited but he works extremely hard on the training ground and we don’t have any qualms with Gabby in that respect.

“He is a young boy who has come up from Middlesbrough and it is his first season competing for a jersey and the expectation levels that Dunfermline brings. Gabby like everyone else will be hoping to get a starting place on Friday.”

At Cappielow Euan Murray started his first match since August, SC commented:-

“It was nice to see Euan Murray back in the Morton game and, to be fair, it shows what Muzza’s all about. Is it his best position? Probably not, and that’s not taking anything away from him but he’s been absolutely desperate to play his part in helping the club and to kick-start his Dunfermline career. He’s been very frustrated.

“He is very much a team player, probably short of game fitness but he gave everything. He wasn’t taken off in the Morton game because we were unhappy with his performance, it was because his legs had started to go, and there’s no shame in that.

“If you look at his career, he’s not really been one who has been blighted by injuries, so it’s something he’s had to deal with and there’s been a lot of frustration in Euan. He has now had a considerable time on the training pitch and there’s not been any signs of complications.

“So, he’ll be playing with a clearer head himself and he’ll have a big contribution to make in the season going forward.”

The other change in the starting eleven at Greenock was Dom Thomas coming in to replace Greg Kiltie after the two had travelled in opposite directions as loan deals from Kilmarnock started and finished. Stevie claimed that Dom will bring flair and excitement:-

“In the first half against Morton, I thought he was excellent - he was unlucky with a free-kick, he got crosses into the box, he faced up his opponent and took him on one-v -one.

“He probably fell out of the game in the second half, due to lack of games. In fairness to Dom Thomas, he had come in and trained in one session on the Friday but he’s been in amongst the group now for a couple of weeks and I’m sure we’ll see his performances improve, which will give us a lift as a club.”

Asked if there were any more contract deals to report, SC said:-

"Lewis Martin and Ryan Dow were both rewarded with contracts because we felt that the contribution they had made since the summer was deserving of that. They showed their commitment to the club by signing one year deals and as I say, they have benefited from, I wouldn`t say taking a gamble because Dunfermline was a big attraction to them, but it wasn`t just purely based on finances in the summer.

"It came down to relationships that I have built with them. They trusted that they were going to get an opportunity to play regular football here. From within that they have done well and were possibly attracting interest from other places and we felt that they were deserving of a new contract."

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