Manager post AirdrieoniansSaturday, 11th Feb 2023
Link to audio of James McPake’s post match interview
- - Listen to this James McPake interview
It was no surprise that the Dunfermline manager James McPake coined the first half performance “nowhere near acceptable”. Speaking after a 4-3 win he described his team as being outfought in the first half.
“We were second to every ball. Airdrie wanted it more than us. It is disappointing and it’s the first time that I have labelled that at that group. It was nowhere near the standard that great away support deserved or that I want to be manager of a team that comes out and plays like that. I can accept getting beat, I can accept conceding goals but what I can’t accept is another team wanting it more than us for 45 minutes and maybe I’m not sure in the second half when they had eleven men.
“We were a wee bit better when we started the second half okay. Obviously we conceded the goal, another poor goal but the three things that do come out of that and over the course of the 94 minutes was the character we showed to get back in the game, to get the three points and the performances of the subs that came on, they were outstanding.
“That is the positive and the players deserve a lot of credit for licking their wounds at half time and performing because that is not easy when you are 3-0 down. Dave (Mackay) said that after the match, not a lot of them will have, or might never again come back from 3-0 down to win a game. Within the playing squad Kyle Benedictus is the only one that has happened too. That’s a massive show of character from the group but it is nothing less than the fans deserve.
“I was disappointed, embarrassed with the first half performance, I will be honest. It wasn’t what these boys have shown since 14th or 15th June. Even in training and everything they do, they do it with real determination and real desire whether it is a training session or a game but for 45 minutes today it certainly wasn’t that.”
What is your view on the goal that was disallowed in 17th minute?
“I couldn’t see it from here but that doesn’t take away from the fact that we were second to every ball. That Airdrie team looked like the6 wanted it more than us, they certainly ran more than us and that’s what we have built this squad on - that we keep running even when things are going wrong.
“I can accept when things are going wrong but you roll your sleeves up and help your mate out. You just run about and people will say ‘what about all the good football that teams play’ but the bottom line at all these top good clubs with all these good players, what they do is they work as hard as they can. In the first half we didn’t do that so regardless of whether the goal was given or not, I still wouldn’t have been happy.”
What was your thinking regards substitutions in the first half?
“I think that I have shown before, myself and the staff if we don’t think something is going right or we are not happy then, it is nothing personal, we picked two that we thought we could take off and get other players on because there were players sitting on that bench who must have been sitting watching that thinking ‘why am I still sitting on the bench?’
“Lewis was running about, Craig was running about but apart from that everybody else just looked with acceptance that Airdrie were better than us today. ‘You know what? We were just going to raise the white flag’ but that’s not what we are about. That’s not what this football club is about, that’s not what those fans deserve. Thankfully we gave them something to celebrate in the end.
“We deserved the celebrations because it showed a lot of character. They deserve us to come over to them. Whether we won the game or not, the players would have gone over to them either to applaud them or to apologise to them because they don’t deserve that. It is not something that we want to do.”
The substitutes had a massive impact and did it for you today. You mentioned before that Robbie Mahon was a little unlucky not to play more?
“He was excellent, he was close to playing and you can see why. When you are training that way every day and you are not really getting your chance he must have been one of those ones sitting on the bench saying ‘how am I not getting a chance out there?’
“”Ewan (Otoo) was excellent on his debut after being flung in after 30 minutes to come on in a game when your team is 1-0 down at the time. It became 2-0 but the changes were getting made at 1-0.
“Nikolay gets another great goal, Kevin was excellent and in terms of the subs Chris Mochrie was excellent as well. The changes did work but again it wasn’t down to great play. They went on and they ran about, they put their shoulders to the wheel and said ‘look we are not accepting this’. Then everybody else followed suit, nobody accepted it and we got the win.
“Look, we got away with one because Airdrie were excellent, they are a very good team, they are the best team that we have played. That’s my opinion on it. People might think that is is disrespectful to the other teams but in the game at East End Park and then here, nobody has done that to us.
“We have another game against them next week which will be even harder because they will be hurting after being 3-0 up and losing the game. They will be down but next week they will come and be the same, be in our faces from the first minute. We need to stand up and do that because if we don’t we will not get away with it again.”
We could see what it meant to not just the fans but yourself and the coaching team. Was that because you had such a difficult game today?
“No it was because we had picked up another three points. We had let the fans down in the first half and we had a great away support. They were noisy and they were right to be annoyed with that first half because they are not used to seeing that this season. If I was a fan I think I would have walked out, so credit to them for staying and credit to them for getting behind the team and sticking with the team.
“They got their reward in the end but the fans know as well that we got away with one today. The fans know football just like anyone, they go to games, they travel all over the country so for them to stick with us, to get behind us and help us over the line that is why we went over there and why it meant so much to the players, to the staff and the fans because it is a collective thing.
“They have been with us all season but for 45 minutes they were right to be whatever they were but they stuck with us and got behind us so a massive thank you to them.”
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