Dunfermline Athletic

Managers Post Hearts

Saturday, 3rd Apr 2021

03/04/21: Link to audio of Stevie Crawford and Robbie Neilson post match comments

- - Listen to this Stevie Crawford interview

Dunfermline manager Stevie Crawford felt that Hearts were the best possible opponents after the disappointment of Tuesday night’s derby defeat to Raith Rovers.

“I said to the boys that tactically I got that wrong, I am man enough to say it. I am responsible for putting the team on the park, Raith Rovers were very good on the night but equally we turned them over 4-1 here as well playing similar tactics but that doesn’t guarantee you success.

“What I am delighted with it the reaction from the players to go out and play against a team that is probably going to win the league. We had a clean sheet and looked dangerous on the counterattack. In the first half we had a number of chances and Vytas hit the bar in the second half and Craig Gordon pulled off an unbelievable save from Euan Murray’s header later on in the game.

“We got a positive reaction and I think the important thing was that we took a point and we end up in the play off positions again. For our mental side of it, it is a positive as well.

“That is the Raith Rovers one away, it will be on my cv for the rest of my management career and it will always hurt but I am a believer in this group. Our objective was to get into the play offs and we have got ourselves back on there.”

All about looking forward now?

“It is about learning. When you look at the age of the group of players that we have got in here, it is exciting in think that they have big chunks of their career ahead of them. You can learn from adversity, you can learn from sore ones and defeats but it is a matter of moving on. I think they showed today what it meant playing for Dunfermline. There was a pride in them and they were hurting as players as well.

“We have five important games ahead of us to look forward to between now and the end of the season.”

Is the only downside the fact that the boys passed up so many opportunities to score today?

“I think that I have said over the season that there are certain games where we have maybe not been clinical in terms of our finishing. I don’t think it was a case of that today. I thought that some of the runs the application and the legs to get into positions, Declan playing that role today was magnificent in the first half especially with some of his link ups and passes.

“Dom (Thomas), Banks and Kevin O’Hara looking to run in behind was excellent but it is not getting carried away. We have taken a point today, we could have possibly taken all three but the big things for me is that we have got ourselves back in the play off positions.

“Declan is 26 years of age now, that’s why we felt it was right bringing Declan back to the club. There was that wee bit of experience within the role. He is not saying that he is a midfielder but he took his responsibility to know where Haring was. That allowed Iain Wilson in the main to deal with Andy Irving. I thought that he looked a threat all day in terms of his link up.”

How pleased were you with Vytas Gašpuitis first start?

“It is great for the big man to get his first start for us. He had been away on international duty and got game time under his belt. He has come in today and having just spoken to him in the dressing room he said that he could not feel his legs in parts of the second half but we have come away with a point. I would have loved to have had all three points today but again it is that application and desire.”

“The big man got tested at times as the game went on but he was up fir the fight and he has shown that he is going to have a good future here at Dunfermline.”

Scott Banks went off with a possible injury but the manager said tha5 he had no5 spoken to him.

“At the time I just felt that I had to fresh up in the wider areas, I thought the team as whole did a shift today and it was going to be Dom Thomas that I was going to freshen up but I don’t know if Scott has gone over on his ankle but we ended up taking him off and putting Dom over the other side.

“I thought Dom’s attitude when that happened - you know, he could have spat the dummy thinking that he was coming off the pitch but he got his head down and worked extremely hard in that last spell of the game.”

- - Hear to comments of Robbie Neilson

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