Dunfermline Athletic

Managers Post Raith Rovers

Wednesday, 4th Jul 2018

04/07/18: Link to audio of interviews with both Allan Johnston and Barry Smith

- - Listen to this Allan Johnston interview

Allan Johnston felt that his side made a better showing in the Raith Rovers friendly than they had done on Saturday against East Fife.

“I thought we passed the ball a million times better but obviously the two goals were a bit slack. There wasn’t much in the penalty when you look back on it again. I suppose that you just have to learn to be careful in the box.

“We passed the ball really well first half, created some good chances but we know ourselves that you have to defend better especially if you are in the Championship. But they were a lot more positives tonight than I thought there were against East Fife.”

The manager started with three at the back and he thought that after the first ten minutes his side were totally in control:-

“We passed the ball through them but gave Raith Rovers a lift by losing a goal, I thought that we were by far the better team.”

With close season Aidan Connolly carrying a nasty infection on his leg after sustaining a graze on it in training, the manager started Lewis McCann (pictured above) and it was the 17 year old striker who scored the Athletic goal:-

“He has done well. I thought he did really well at the weekend when he came on as well. He certainly didn’t look out of place, he is a threat, you can see that he has a physical presence and is a goal threat as well. It is brilliant to have young lads like that coming through.”

Saturday’s other goal scorer Matty Todd (pictured below) was also rewarded with an early substitution, AJ added:-

“They have been doing really well and it doesn’t matter what age you are, if you are god enough you will play. That should be the message to all the young boys, they have to make sure that they are pushing the first team boys.”

Next up are English opponents Tranmere Rovers who are the visitors to East End Park on Saturday. Allan expects them to be a typical lower league English team:-

“They will get the ball forward quick. It will be a right physical battle but you can see that we are improving every game and we just have to make sure that we keep on improving. Obviously we learn from our mistakes and be right for the start of the season.”

On Saturday the manager says that he will be hoping to see his players get more game time.

“We have a lot of games coming up so we will still rotate all of players.” The match clashes head on with the World Cup Quarter Final between England and Sweden but moving the kick off to accommodate the visiting fans has not been discussed, AJ added “you will need to speak to Ross (McArthur) about that!”

The first competitive match of the season is now less than a fortnight off, a Betfred Cup tie at home to Peterhead. The draw has placed Dunfermline in a group with Neil McCann’s Dundee and three teams from lower leagues, how pleased was the manager with his group?

“It is really early in the season. I think Cup competitions like this come far too early because teams are still finding their feet. I think the majority of teams are still using it as part of their pre season.”

So will Dunfermline treat it that way?

“It is part of pre season, I think I said that last year. I think our priority is trying to make sure that we get promotion this year. You want to win every game and obviously you want to start the competitive games off with a good run and get some good wins.”

Last season Dunfermline topped their group after a much praised draw at Tynecastle against Ian Cathro’s Hearts. Four of the best second placed team quality so can Dunfermline realistically aim for that?

“Obviously getting the result against a Hearts gave everybody the lift so hopefully we can do the same again this year.

“It gave the boys that bit of belief, it is important to win games especially the competitive games. We are disappointed tonight because it is against rivals. I know it is a pre season game but you still want to win games and get into good habits.”

Finally asked dutifully if there were any signings imminent AJ replied:-

“We are trying but we will just to leave it at that just now.”

- - Listen to Raith Rovers manager Barry Smith

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