Dunfermline Athletic

Managers Post Partick

Saturday, 10th Jul 2021

10/07/21: Link to audio of both managers’ post match comments

- - Listen to this Peter Grant interview

Dunfermline took their chances to come back from a goal down to lead 3-1 at half time in their opening match of the season against Partick Thistle but manager Peter Grant was quick to point out that they could have been more than one down before things changed:-

“We could have been two maybe three at that time. Deniz has made an error and then a worldly save. The disappointing thing for us was that we turned the ball over in very good positions and I just felt that we were lazy positionally. Once we got that sorted out I thought that we were electric for a period in the game. It could have been more if we had taken care.

“But then we lost bad and I don’t want us to be a good team to watch and not be able to defend. I know what it is like, you have to win games of football, probably the Euros have shown you that, the teams that keep clean sheets get the chance of winning titles. We have to be much better at that and that means the strikers have to do much better against the ball positionally.

“Once they did that it gave them more opportunities at goal. It sounds crazy but once they realise they if they pick up better defensive positions they will get a better chance to score goals. That proved that and there were periods in the game as I said I thought we were electric.

“We know that we have a long long way to go and we know that we need players who are going to help us get better.”

Two good finishes from Nikolay Todorov ensured the 4-2 away win and Peter continued:-

“I was very fortunate because I know that he is a top quality striker. As soon as I came in I knew he was the type of guy that I was looking for. He is different to what we have, that is always important when you bring people to the group, the club.

“You look around the boys and I wanted to do that to give the boys I hadn’t seen a chance. I feel that I have done that but still feel that I have to add more to it. I like to have a good mixture - you have pace with Kevin, Wigs is quick as well and then you have Toddy who is mobile but doesn’t have to play as a target player. He can play in different positions but he likes to score goals.

“He has that hunger and desire to score a goal as other boys have as well. That is a great thing as a striker because too many of them want to be number tens now, they all want to come short and join in. Strikers are paid to get in the box and score goals and they have done that very well.

“I think I have a good mix and when you add young McCann to that. He is out injured just now but when I will be happy with that front four if we can keep them all fighting fit.”

Then you have Kevin O ‘Hara as well?

“People used to question his finishing but forget that he was only sixteen or seventeen years of age when they questioned that. Then they said that he didn’t score in fifty goals but to put it into perspective he probably played three games in those fifty if you put all the minutes together.

“I know that there is a player there. I watched him as a young man because my son Peter was there at the time and I have kept an eye on him ever since. I thought that he had something different and he has proven that. I am absolutely delighted.

“All the boys have worked really hard in the few weeks that we have been in. You can see that in their legs, we do not have a big squad so a lot of them have played ninety minutes when they shouldn’t have been playing ninety minutes. We have picked up a couple injuries, more kicks in training just through fatigue really and people a wee bit late in the tackle.

“That is why we need re-enforcements to bolster the squad and hopes bring quality to help the guys. We have got to have a rock solid defence to do that well and allow us to exploit that. I thought they did that very well for a big period of the game today.”

It is a tough Group but the manager was pleased to get off to a winning start.

“The game is all about winning. To win cups you have to win games. I know it is just the start of the season but we want to win them all because it breeds a confidence. People say if you lose it doesn’t matter because it was only a cup tie but I want to try and win as many games as we possibly can.

“You get into that habit and it takes a hell of a lot of work to win games of football. There are no easy games. Thistle are very strong and a very good side who could have been two or three goals up. That shows you the fine lines in this league and that’s the way it is going to be all season.”

How pleased were you with the wing backs, Kyle Macdonald and Josh Edwards?

“It is a young young group of players but their attitude and commitment to try and learn something new has been very very pleasing. It is slightly different for them but hopefully it gives that freedom to not worry too much about what is behind them. That is up to the boys behind to help with that.

“It is something that we can flick into. I’m not saying that I am going to play that system, I think it is an option for us. I have always said that I do not have a philosophy, I do not have a football philosophy, mine is about helping the players who are there. Playing a system that suits the players not me. I have got to help them feel as confident in the positions that they are playing in. I think we proved that today and every time they play. Every time they train they are getting better and better.”

- - Hear the thoughts of Ian McCall

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