Dunfermline Athletic

Manager post Kelty Hearts

Saturday, 24th Dec 2022

24/12/22: link to audio of James McPake’s post match comments

- - Listen to this James McPake interview

“Brilliant, in the end you get three points at a very tough place to come. In the first half of the season we have lost one game, it was away to Montrose. We are now half way through. The subs made a difference and the squad is getting strong again, I can’t ask any more of that group of players.

“First half was what we kind of expected. It wasn’t a great game, from both teams I would say. It is a really tough place to come to. We came up here earlier in the season and we have seen other teams come here and really struggle. They are a decent side and in the top end of the pitch in particular they are very effective. We are just delighted to get an early Christmas present.”

Players showed great character again after going a goal down?

“You don’t go on the run that you are on without character. They showed that. They have been down in games, they have been up in games and pegged back and still managed to react in them. There is plenty of character, spirit, commitment, whatever in abundance in that dressing room. You need it in any dressing room and in our position at the minute we need that, it shone through.

“The subs made a huge impact and I’m delighted for Lewis (McCann). He has been great and he was excellent through the week. You hear the subs on the bench willing their team mates on before they came on - that’s team spirit, that’s teamwork that’s whatever you want to call it, but it is working.”

Other than his goal, Lewis McCann was great when he came on?

“He was brilliant against Dundee United on Tuesday. He has done his rehab great and I’m really really pleased to have him back. Kevin O’Hara is coming back as well, Paul Allan is not far away. When you can make four changes and bring in people who in reality before the game we said, we’re disappointed not to start because of the performance at Arbroath.

“The Airdrie game was off but it wasn’t going to be the same team that played today that was starting at Airdrie. I can factually say that because we had picked it.

“They are now a group of players in there that whoever plays, we know can win a game. We also know that the ones that coming on can come on if needed to affect the game. That is pleasing, yeah.”

Does the manner of the win provide a good psychological boost?

“4-0 or 5-1, like at Arbroath would have been better! For my psychological state. I think it is, it`s great when you win and score a late goal - or win a dramatic game in any sense. Or you hang on and win a game, it gives you that wee buzz afterwards. Tomorrow morning - I say tomorrow morning, it`s a bit different because it`s Christmas, but when we look back on it it`s another three points, it`s another win.

“This one is special because it is a tough place to come to. We`ve been here before and it was tough at East End Park against them as well. So we know what they bring and they`ll take a lot of points off other teams in this league. As I say, the quality they`ve got at the top end of the pitch is up there with other teams in this league, in my opinion."

Isn’t it unusual that in making a triple-substitution that every one of those three players made an impact?

"I think my head was a bit fried. It was three subs on, a change of shape - everything rolled into one. You can be confident of doing it, I`ve got a great group as a coaching staff - we pick a team together, we make changes together. I`m never going to stand here and say I make every decision or I do this. We work really well together, we`ve proved that but when they go on and you`re changing shape as well, you`re trying to think where they can go - but then we`ve got good players.

“So having them back, having them fit... and then you`re bringing on Chris Hamilton and Kyle Macdonald in particular. Both of them played in that game at Arbroath when we were outstanding on that night. They had a wee bit to prove. Lewis is coming back.. not to me. There`s always that wee one when you`re left out or you don`t play that you have that wee chip on your shoulder, which I love. I`ve been in that position as well. They went on and they proved that they`ve got a place in that team.

“We need to now enjoy... we`ll have a couple of days, a few beers. Which will go down a treat now. A few wines as well, a few Baileys, whatever else. I hope everybody else enjoys it because it`s great. I wouldn`t be standing here saying this Christmas Eve fixture was great if we hadn`t won the game. I`d maybe say it was alright if we went away with a point because we were behind. Now that we`ve won we`re over the moon. I`m going to enjoy my Christmas with my kids and my family.“

Watch James McPake’s interview with Jordan Burt for PARStv

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