Dunfermline Athletic

Manager post Alloa Athletic

Saturday, 4th Mar 2023

04/03/23: link to audio of James McPake’s post match comments


- - Listen to this James McPake interview

James McPake was pleased to agree that it was a comfortable home win over Alloa Athletic:-

“We spoke to the players before the game because we had been a bit slow at starting certain games this season, particularly here. We have been giving ourselves a lot to do in the second half. That doesn’t mean being ahead or being in front but we get a good crowd here, the energy from them is good so I think it is really important that we start games a bit better.

“The players were excellent and I thought that we started the game really well. There were some real opportunities, some very good play and we were comfortable in our own box when it did come in. Then Aaron (Comrie)’s injury kind of unnerved us a little bit, you can understand that when it is one of your team mates and friends that goes down. When you see that, and you don’t know how serious it is, it then takes a little bit of time to get going again.

“They had a wee spell of ten minutes but all in all I thought that it was a very comfortable performance and a good performance from us, one of our best in a while if I’m honest in terms of the way that we controlled the game, the way we adapted to the injury eventually.

“We changed the shape as well which was difficult. We went with a back three with Ewan (Otoo) on the right and Macca (Kyle Macdonald) as left wing back and Kane (Ritchie-Hosler) at right wing back and the balance at times just wasn’t quite right but I think they adapted really well when the change of shape came and they were worthy winners today”

Aaron Comrie’s injury?

“It is positive. At the time with how big the cut was, you could see the bone through it. We didn’t know if it was fractured but it just required cleaned out and stitched so it’s positive in the sense that it is not a disaster like a leg break or whatever.

“It is still a disappointing one for us because Aaron has been very consistent in the way he trains, the way he plays and just the way that he conducts himself in and around the place. He is a credit to himself and everybody who has been at the club. It was worrying and as you know, everyone comes here to see us winning but when you see an injury like that you are just hoping that Aaron is okay, which he was thankfully. On the flip side we got three points as well and we will see how it is with him tomorrow.”

Important first goal?

“We had a few chances and I thought some of the play looked like they played with a bit of imagination. They looked as if they were having fun for large spells of that game. Again that gets the crowd going - the shots and the goal obviously. It was a good goal from a setplay.

“I think they are arguing over whose goal it was but that is up to them. If I have got a say I’d give it to Wighton although Breeny celebrates the most but it looks like Hammy headers it. I’m not bothered who takes it.

“The big frustration from the coaching staff, without getting too frustrated about but it is a challenge to the players to start games better. When we start we really get this place and the crowd going. We move the ball good and it unnerves other teams when we start that way.

“It was maybe later when Wighty hit the post but we had a couple of good chances and we got in good areas. That is what we had to get across to the players, it is not about a good start to get the goal but it’s then the confidence that a good start brings. You don’t need to be in front, you can sometimes start well and be behind. We could have started very well and conceded from our first corner which thankfully we never.

“It was more the emphasis on the start to the game being positive and going and expressing ourselves great. Yes I think if we had been a couple of goals up early it would have been justified.”

Good individual performance from Kane Ritchie-Hosler

“He was excellent and he has been. It is a strange one because I keep coming out and saying how well he trains and how well he does that. The lad has been a joy to work with since we got him in from Rangers. He has had an interesting career starting at Manchester City, then going to Rangers and playing and doing well. You can see why with the potential that he has got and the energy.

“Take all that away and he has been good to work with. He has not played a lot of football, he has been in and out the team but he has got himself in and he is looking really good. He is the one who looked like he was really loving it out there.

“He gets cramp and then you are thinking put the reins on him a wee bit but he gets the ball again and he is running the full length of the pitch putting crosses in. He was excellent defensively and attacking today.

“When we brought him we knew him and obviously we had been speaking to Billy Kirkwood. They rate him highly. In terms of his attitude and the way he trains even when he is not playing it was one we were comfortable keeping until the end of the season knowing and having the conversations with Kane, that he would get in the team. When he gets in and plays like that it is going to be very hard for anyone to put him out because he gets the crowd on their feet, he tracks back, he runs forward, he gives everything but he has real quality as well as he showed today. I’m delighted for him because he has waited a while.”

Ewan Otto and subs contribution

“Ewan was great as well on the other side. It wasn’t easy for the kid having to start in one position then move him to centre back and move him again. It shows you how he can adapt and be comfortable doing that. All the subs coming on - Kevin (O’Hara) came on scored a great goal and was excellent. Lewis (McCann) made a difference and Gowser (Paul McGowan) coming on again. That was another twenty minutes for him and he had some great touches. All in all I thought it was a really good team performance from everyone today.

“Macca came on in the first half at left wing back and then asking him to go to right back. Him and Kane worked really well on that side. It has been a good afternoon.”

Absence of Josh Edwards and Nikolay Todorov?

“Nikolay has either a viral infection or the flu. Hopefully he will be okay, I will have a chat with him tonight. Josh had a minor ankle knock that we had been monitoring, he will train tomorrow and get moving hopefully. We will have a look at it in the morning. It wouldn’t matter who we were playing, we are now down to ten league games (remaining) of the campaign plus whatever happens but we would never risk a player when that’s the case.

“Even with Wighton, we were thinking get him off at half time because of his shoulder but she wanted to continue but we weren’t taking any chances by getting him off. With Aaron as well we were forced into that, but it is more the welfare of the human beings and the people, so we were going to rush Josh and Nikolay we will take our time with. Hopefully he is okay, but they will all be desperate to get back in.”



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