Dunfermline Athletic

Manager post Airdrieonians

Saturday, 18th Feb 2023

18/02/23: link to audio of James McPake’s post match comments

- - Listen to this James McPake interview

Dunfermline Athletic manager James McPake admitted that Airdrieonians made it a tough match:-

“They are a good side, we knew that from last week. In my opinion they are the best team that we have played. I like Rhys (McCabe) as a player, never mind as a manager -he is a very good player and always has been. They are a good team, there’s no two ways about it. They are tough to play against and they can hurt you. They make good decisions, when to turn you or when to play. Probably differently from the start of the season when they came here.

“They played that so-called ‘proper way’ to play football - everything was passing and now they have a lot of variation to their play. They mix it up and at times they make you defend and are a hard team to play against.”

Dunfermline played some good stuff at times but there were other times where it was frustrating?

“There was a lot of good in the game from ourselves as well and it was sometimes maybe that final pass. Whether it went out to Kane, particularly in the second half, and it was just misplaced. I can accept that.

“As I said when I stood and spoke after last week, what I cannot accept is people not working hard or running about. We saw today that they gave everything for the club and the fans today. We are disappointed obviously that they are only going home with a point but I think the players gave absolutely everything. It was honest errors, honest mistakes and we will accept that all day long, they are human beings.”

Is Todorov going to have to sit on the bench until he stops scoring coming off it?

“As you know I pick a team every week. The team today wasn’t based on last week or whatever, like the subs last week were not based on purely Joe (Chalmers) and Hammy (Chris Hamilton). Last week I could have taken any player off apart from Deniz (Mehmet) if I’m being brutally honest. I didn’t do it.

“We just picked a team but what I will say about Nikolay and the reason that he has now made 31 appearances under me is that his attitude is spot on. Whether he is playing, whether he is not playing, he scores important goals and he will be back in the team at some points in the season and he will be on the bench but you can say that about everybody. Nobody has a divine right to play whether they like it or not. It doesn’t matter a jot to me.”

It did look as though you were on to another comeback victory apart from that penalty save?

“Bene is a great captain, a great leader and he has been fantastic since we brought him to the club. He has the bravery to go and take penalties. He hit the post against Partick Thistle, then he scored a pressure penalty last week to get us back into the game. It’s a penalty, yes I would have loved it to go in because we would have won the game comfortably. We would have made the change and I think then with Airdrie being down to ten men, they wouldn’t have got back into the game unless it was a real error from us.

“If it had gone in great but again it is not even an error, it is a good save from the goalkeeper. I have no complaints with that. I haven’t seen anybody, there will be somebody with a 100% record but they have maybe only hit one or two. Bene has been great for us, he is top class in the dressing room. He will be hurting because of it, because he thinks it has cost us three points but it’s not. A draw was probably a fair reflection on the game on the whole and maybe sometimes that’s the way it works when you maybe don’t deserve to win the game fully. The luck just goes with the other team, I have no problem with that.”

Rhys McCabe said that the referee (Ross Hardie) was bad for both teams?

“You do know that Dave Mackay got sent off? I agree with Rhys although I don’t know what he said, if that’s what he did say. I believe that referee has done five games at this level and I think it showed for both teams.

“They are human beings, they make errors but the thing that I don’t like about it is that they are so unapproachable. There are some great, I think we had Alan Muir here a couple of weeks ago for the Montrose game. Referees will confirm this, I have actually chapped the door and said as a player or as a manager whatever, and said ‘I thought your performance was good.’

“There was an assessor at the Partick Thistle game as well and he asked. I had no complaints, I thought the referee handled it well, the big thing was the communication with the stand side linesman. We were asking him questions and to be fair he was alright. It did show the difference between that stand side linesman and the referee in the middle.

“I’m not saying Bryan Prunty should have been sent off, I don’t even think that he should have been booked, but he got booked for something that is the exact same thing as Dave’s but the referee chose to be trigger happy to quickly show the red card.

“Like the penalty, before I knew it was a penalty I knew it was a penalty because I saw the red card. To me that shows that you are not giving time to think. When we are saying they are human beings, they need to understand that we are human beings and we get emotional. That’s where I believe that the referees who are approachable, whether they are better or not on decisions I don’t know because I don’t watch enough other games in other leagues because I focus on our league and our games and players that we are watching. That is when you see the difference.

“Even going back to my playing days you could communicate a lot better with them. I will speak to Crawford Allan about it - he is fantastic when you do speak to him. He will tell you when he thinks that you are right and equally he will tell you if he thinks you are wrong.

“Scotland is such a goldfish bowl in football and we do try and build relationships with them but there seems to be a resistance from certain referees to even speak to you which for me is a problem. We want to help the referees, we want to have that dialogue, that communication. If they think that you are being out of order then yes, they have the right to send you off.

“Also they could get to the point where they maybe just say ‘calm down’. I agree with Rhys today, it looked a lot worse game that what it was. There was no malicious intent at all in the game. It was two sides fighting for points in the right manner, battling with each other.

“All of a sudden it becomes a melee at times because in my opinion and it’s only my opinion, the referee did not have enough control of the game.”

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