Dunfermline Athletic

Manager post Celtic B

Tuesday, 15th Nov 2022

15/11/22: Link to audio of James McPake’s post match comments

- - Listen to this James McPake interview

"I really enjoyed that game, I`ll be honest. I thought they were excellent, credit to Darren [O`Dea] and Stephen [McManus]. As I have said before I have known Darren for a while, he is one of my closest friends, I know how good a coach he is and he will be a top top manager in my opinion. You can come back to me whenever he does it and say ‘you were right’ because I’m pretty sure on that one. They`re a well-drilled team with really good players.

"We had three 16-year-olds on the pitch had a wee mixture. I thought the three boys were excellent. It was a great goal from Taylor [Sutherland], great movement. You wouldn`t think at that age, the way he moves his man one way then goes across and it`s a great finish.

“Sam Young playing in the middle of a back three which is normally the job for people for me with no legs and you needed cover on the sides, but we were comfy with Sam in there because he can pick a pass both ways and he gives you the balance on each side.

“They press you, they play just like their first team and they are a good side. I thought we played pretty well in the game, we had good possession and we had good chances. Then wee Toddy, a great experience for him, playing in that [No 10] role, which is really tough. You come up against a CDM or a No 6, that role, the deep-lying midfielder, Daniel Kelly is the best about at that age that boy for Celtic, I`ve seen him a few times. He`s so assured. It took Andrew a wee while to get used to that but I`ve asked senior players and players that have been internationals to do jobs like that and they`ve struggled. That`s nothing for Andrew to worry about because after 15-20 minutes he got the hang of it.

“A lot of credit to him for the start of the second half as well because I think when we did get the press going it was down to Andrew. These are the wee things that you need to learn and it’s stopping them being able to play either side, make them go back or stopping the game at times. It is not something that we encourage but when you get to a level in the first team you need to do these wee things.

“He didn’t need to do that tonight because his positioning was really good. He had worked really hard and it’s a hard shift but for Taylor, Sam and Andrew I’m delighted and Greg (Shields) because of the work they do. Bear in mind that when I came in I was delighted that we had our academy back, our academy and not Fife Elite, the Dunfermline Athletic Academy and we will spend time on it.

“There is loads and loads of work to do but they are going in the right direction, you could see that tonight. We played against a really good Celtic team. No disrespect to any other B team but I don’t think anybody could have come and played the way they did.

“That is credit to Celtic and Darren because they have the best players at that age group. They are so well drilled and they were excellent. I just enjoyed the game - you don’t normally see me like this, I am normally a moody B but I enjoyed coaching it, trying to work it out because to be honest I have been on the back of trying to work it out when it is their first team and the music comes out through the speaker six times and you are 6-0 down. That is not a great feeling and you are thinking how are going to press now?

“It was good to have a wee go. We were trying things, you could see the difference in where the strikers were pressing and what we were doing. We were going man for man at the back which we were quite comfortable to do in the three centre backs we had. They all have pace so there was no worry about that.

“We got minutes into people, Josh (Edwards) got a cameo, Wighty got a wee cameo - he didn’t need much. Matty Todd again was excellent, that boy could just run all day - he wants to play all the time. Joe Chalmers and Hammy the same. Everybody wants to play, Benedictus was unhappy that he wasn’t playing, which I love, Max (Little) coming in and getting a game. It was a good night for us.

“It is momentous for us as well because on Saturday we were all disappointed and then I wake up on Sunday, watch the game and feel terrible because we actually played well. When you watch it back we created really good chances, there were two uncharacteristic mistakes from Josh and I came out like a mad man at the end wanting to go daft when really you look at it we were good in the game.

“People will maybe disagree with that but when you watch that game back with a clear head it is probably the most chances that we have created at home. There were positives to take from Saturday but we move into tonight’s game and you get back to winning ways.

“It is a cup. Two of the players in there have won it. Joe Chalmers and Kyle Benedictus. I asked them if they enjoyed winning it and they said that they loved it. I have never won this cup, I have never won any cup so we go to Arbroath on 9th December and we will go up and have a go at them.

“It was a good night. I actually enjoyed it and I wish we maybe could have gone to penalties, I quite like to have played another half hour. It was a good game to watch and I’m sure the fans will say that as well when they watched it because they got to see the kids playing. They got to see different stuff and I think for the football club it was a really good night.”

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