Dunfermline Athletic

Manager post Falkirk

Saturday, 17th Sep 2022

17/09/22: Link to audio of James McPake’s post match comments

- - Listen to this James McPake interview

Dunfermline manager James McPake agreed that it had been a pulsating derby match:-

"For a neutral I think that would have been a very good game, for this league. I think it was a very good game, a showpiece for the league. There are good teams in this league. First half I would say Falkirk were the better team. The way he [McGlynn] plays football... he`ll probably come out and say he should have won the game.

“You know that`s not true, but the way he plays, they`re hard to deal with. When you allow them the space and time to do it, they`ll hurt you. Second half we changed the shape, but that`s all down to our players. Second half we were the better team. I know we hit the woodwork in the first half but in the whole of the game you hit the woodwork three times and you come away disappointed that you have not won the game.

“Credit to my players, the way they responded. Chris Mochrie in the second half was the best player on the pitch by a country mile. He showed why he`s in the under-21 squad, it shows why he`s going to have a fantastic career. First half he looked a wee bit lost in the way it was going, but I`ll take that because it was me that picked the shape. It`s the first time we`ve went behind as well and in a strange and weird was I`m glad that happened, to see how they`d react.

“Obviously I`d have rather won the game but it was a big test in front of a big crowd. Those players, I don`t know how many of them, you take out Benedictus, take out Mochrie, I think the rest of them - the last time a lot of those players played in a big game that was important, with a big crowd - everybody built [today`s game] up to be a big game, but it was worth three points, a points or no points - the last time they played in a game with a crowd like that was a play-off or a relegation fight. So to show the character that they showed to them back into the game, that`s credit to them and the mindset they`re in and what they`re trying to do. We are still unbeaten which is a positive as well. All credit to my players."

Second-half you got a reaction when Chalmers hit the post?

"It`s not just when he hits the post, it’s the way it comes out. Normally they roll out and somebody taps it in or a defender has to clear it and they`re snatching at it. He hits it that well that he clears the ball for them - because it hits it hits the post that well. On another day that goes in.

“Todorov`s is a great move and he gets across the man. But they had a couple of chances late on as well, so we`re not going to cry over hitting the post a couple of times, we`ll get that back in another game. I`m not surprised with the response, we saw it against Airdrie, albeit in  different circumstances. We saw it when we draw two games in a row then you go down to Dumfries which is a very hard place to go. The players have got character in there.

“They`re a really good bunch, real quality in the dressing room. Craig Wighton coming back is brilliant for us. For them to come out when they were low, they were low at half-time because they felt they hadn`t performed. I`ll take that on the chin because I pick the shape, I pick the way we set up. To be fair, Falkirk knocked it about but we allowed them to do that but in the second half it was a completely different game.

Fans pushed the players on?

“They had a big crowd and it was a good atmosphere. We want games like this, we want big crowds. I don’t think they will go away happy because we have not won the game. As I say fans will look at the chances, we have hit the woodwork three times. They will be looking at that but when they dust it down I think they will be proud of their team again.

“The first half wasn’t good enough, we know that but the way they came out in the second half showed what it means to them to play for this football club. That is what fans want and that’s what makes the fans stand up at the end of the game and applaud the players. That is what they did and that’s all we can ever guarantee.

“We have a big two weeks now, we have no game next weekend and then Peterhead come here. It will be a big two weeks of work and we want to get back to winning ways. They had a good result today (2-1 win over Kelty Hearts) so it is going to be a tough one and I believe that there will be a big crowd at that game as well because they are starting to believe - not in me but in the players and what the players are doing on the pitch. Today is just another example of that.”

You switched shape at half time and it clearly worked but what did you see in putting Lewis McCann out on the left?

“I think it was either make a change of shape or you stick with the players. I do not believe that the players had done anything wrong in that we had to make changes to the personnel.

“There are loads of ways to win a game of football, you can move it about and credit to Lewis because he started as a striker but moved to the left but he plays narrow. The work rate and the way he went and played is credit to him. He has not been in the team for a couple of weeks but coming on as a sub. I thought that he was excellent today.

“We had to try something to try and get ourselves back into the game. Changing the shape is not something that we will ever be scared to do. What it then resulted in was, in my opinion, Falkirk then going to a diamond. We got a lot of joy with Josh Edwards and Aaron Comrie bombing up the right hand side. Chris Mochrie could then pick up a lot of space because the midfield was a bit empty.

“That worked and probably the change of shape asked them questions more than what it really did for us. I will watch it back and my mind might change but I think the players deserve all the credit. It was a tactical change and people sometimes overlook what managers can do. It is not me passing the buck because it is a decent result after going a goal down.

“We didn’t lose the game but the players played the 47 minutes in the second half and they put the performance in, a performance that we have been used to seeing this season whether it has been in the Premier Sports Cup, friendlies or league games. The players deserve all the credit not the change of shape.”

What is the problem with Kevin O’Hara?

“His knee. We will get it assessed and see how he is but it is a blow for us but when you see Lewis McCann playing the way he can play, when you see Craig Wighton (returning) you look at Kevin and can put it into perspective. He is a human being, we are gutted for him in terms of injury. It is part of football but he is a key player for this football club but we will get him back.”

Rhys Breen seemed to take a knock?

“He is alright. It was just at the point where the linesman had told us that there was 35 seconds to go. No way were we going to take a centre back off and allow them to put a ball in the box. Sam (Fisher) came on and then there was two and a half minutes of the game somehow.

“Sam has a header and what a goal that would have been! I would have taken credit for that tactical change. It was more caution. Sam is a fantastic player that I have had since he was sixteen at Dundee. We are delighted to have him here and he will contribute to Dunfermline throughout the course of the season. I wasn’t taking any risks when you know the rule when the physio goes on and it’s that late in the game. We could have put Todorov back but we were still chasing a goal ourselves.

“Rhys will be fine, he is a strong honest boy and we have got the two weeks if we need it. We will work hard and be ready for Peterhead when they come down here in a fortnight’s time.”

It’s nice to be top of the table and unbeaten at this stage in the season as well?

“It is nice to be unbeaten but genuinely I have no interest in the league table whatsoever. The league table can be whatever it wants right now, we will speak about it in May that’s when it will concern me.”

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