Dunfermline Athletic

Manager previews Dundee cup tie

Monday, 9th Jan 2023

09/01/23: JMc - “It’s another game where if we put a good performance in, we will give ourselves a chance in the game.”

Although he will be visiting the away dressing room at Dens Park on Tuesday evening, James McPake will be made comfortable in the dug out since his previous viewing place is now the away dugout.

“I’m going there as Dunfermline manager, that’s all I’m really bothered about. My Dundee times are in my past, I’m now invested in this football club and the group of players we’ve got. I’m actually going to be in the same dugout - I think they’ve changed them - so I’ll have my same seat!”

James retired from playing football in January 2018, and started his coaching career in the Dundee youth system. He was appointed as the senior team manager in May 2019, and held that position until February 2022. He was appointed Dunfermline Athletic manager in May 2022.

The SPFL Trust Trophy Quarter Final comes just three days after an away win over FC Edinburgh. The win, the three points and the 14th clean sheet of the season was a real boost as James McPake takes his current team back to face his previous one.

The manager admitted that he would take a 1-0 win every game if it was guaranteed but felt that there were positives from Saturday’s game that some might have been perceived in tactically a negative way.

“The chances missed are positive. Not that you miss the chances but the build up to Chris Hamilton’s chance, Matty Todd’s chance in the first couple of minutes, Chris Mochrie’s chance. It was really good play that we will use as a positive.

“The league now gets put to the side until Saturday anyway. We have a tough game up there playing against, like last time, a team in the league above us. We will give it everything to try and progress in the cup.

“As I have put on record before, it is an important competition for us, we want to win the game and there is an expectancy when you are at this football club regardless of who you are playing - whether it is Partick Thistle in the Scottish Cup or if we were to draw a Premiership team in the Scottish Cup or the League Cup, the fans still expect us to go, give them a right good game and make them proud. That is what we want to do tomorrow.”

Arbroath were the side that Dunfermline demolished 5-1 in the previous round of the SPFL Trust Trophy and Dick Campbell’s side have since had a resounding win at Dens Park. James observed:-

“Arbroath had been on a bit of a sticky run and had lost a few goals to Queen’s Park the following week after they played us as well. They went to play Dundee in what was a high pressure game for them both. Dundee were top of the league and Arbroath hadn’t won in a while and they played reasonably well on the day. They were effective from setplays and caused Dundee a lot of problems. Dundee gave it a fight to get back into the game but couldn’t quite do it.

“I will not look too much into that. We are different to Arbroath, Dundee will be different from that day as well. It is a separate game in a separate competition with no real pressure for either club so it should be a good game.”

Like many managers James enjoys cup games played under the lights and it will be the first time his Dunfermline team will be on live television (BBC Alba). The attraction in playing a team from the division above will also mean that he can instruct his players to go out and give it a right good go.

“When you are top of the league and winning games you just want to keep playing games but this is a welcome break from that. There is a freshness about it being a different competition but it will only be good if the performance matches it.

“We’re going up there to win the game. It would take us into the semi-finals of the competition and it would be decent. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we want to win the game whether that’s Dundee, FC Edinburgh or Falkirk, they are all important because they are the next one.

“Dave and Martin Harty were with me at Dundee. It is a squad that we know very well, maybe three at the most weren’t there when we were there. I don’t know how their manager works, I don’t know how they train but my focus is on Dunfermline Athletic.

“I’m proud to be going up there as the Dunfermline manager and of what we have achieved since the start of the season. I am really happy with how it is going. I knew this would come up at some point, going back there, but I’ve genuinely no issue about it. It’s another game where if we put a good performance in, we will give ourselves a chance in the game.”

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