Dunfermline Athletic

Managers post Arbroath

Sunday, 26th Dec 2021

26/12/21: Link to audio of John Hughes and Ian Campbell post match comments


- - Listen to this John Hughes interview

Dunfermline manager John Hughes felt that his side beat themselves but conceded that Arbroath deserved their victory:-

“They had taken seven goals off us and we needed to come up with a different game plan. In the first half I felt that we dominated the game but once again we gave away sloppy goals. We got turned over in midfield and before you know it, the ball was in the back of our net. We need to be more resilient and more determined to keep the ball out of the back of the net.

“Nothing the matter with Rhys (Breen), we have all scored own goals. It was an easy cross and it seems to be a recurring theme from us. Then we dominated the ball but with no cutting edge. Everybody wants to come to the ball, we are playing through the lines and then we come back on ourselves. When we are playing through the lines we should be turning and going the other way.

“McCann should be further up and we should be getting down the sides and getting crosses in. I thought our crossing was horrendous, we kept hitting the first man and when you are doing that you are not going to score goals.

“The second goal, right on the stroke of half time, was avoidable as well. When it gets played into feet you have to get round the ball. It was an absolute wonderful strike and so you say to them at half time ‘right we need to mix it up a bit’. We need to start playing longer over the top and saying to McCann ‘you get on the diagonal’. We said to the full backs to get up and down and do better with their crossing.

“I felt that we gave it a right go in the second half. We said to them to go out and win the second half and see where it takes us. We gave it a right go and the third goal it was of them that happens when you are chasing the game. You always leave yourself wide open for the third goal. I am disappointed by the way it happened but I don’t think it was a free kick (for Dunfermline). I think the big boy (Joel Nouble) just rolled Rhys. I think he put the brakes on and the big boy just skipped around him.

“I said to Alan Muir (referee) coming off the pitch that I didn’t think it was a free kick at the time. We have been taught to play to the whistle but when I see it on the video we seemed to stop. Take nothing away from Arbroath, they are up there on merit, you can see why and they pass it as well.

“They play to their strengths and have all the nous that is needed. They work for each other and we don’t have that. We can be a good football team but we need all the nous, all the craft and all the street wise stuff. We need all the fundamentals, the dos and the don’ts of football to get us up the pitch and be better for it.

“We are bottom of the league at that, terrible at it - when to play long, when to play short or when to play the channel. How to win a header, head it big, win your tackles one on ones, hook it big. I have been a centre half and when I hook and I’m hooking it big, I expect that to stick. If is not sticking it is not going to be a free header and if he is going to head it is falling down and we are up on second balls. We are a wee bit off it on that.

“There is a lot of work to be done but the thing about it is that they are willing boys. There is no point in shouting and bawling at them. All I said to them at half time, and I hoped the message hits home, we need to more streetwise and a little bit more nous in terms of the dos and don’ts of football but football owes you absolutely nothing.

“You are here for the game, the game i# not here for you. As soon as you recognises that it brings you down and gives you great values. If you play with those values then I don’t think that you can get beat. Maybe it is our style of play, if we think we can go out and it will happen but it doesn’t come like that, you have to make it happen.”

Does the performance and the result re-inforce what you need to do in the January window?

“A lot of these boys will still be here. I have really enjoyed working with them, they listen and they try hard. I feel for them because I’m seeing a lot of good stuff on the training pitch but they struggle to try and re-create it on the pitch on a Saturday. I know that they have got it in them but you never give up on them and work on them.

“I think that they need a hand, I really do. In the window, without naming names it is a real precarious choppy water kind of window. You think that you are down the road with two or three and they end up going somewhere else and you have to start again.

“You say to yourself, if I’m not getting my number one, is my number two better than what I have got? We keep plugging away and we are working very hard and hopefully we can get two or three in to give them a hand.

“We need to be more resolute in the way we go about our game and more demanding of each other as well. There was only one team that I was hearing out there, it wasn’t my team it was Arbroath refereeing the game. That is what I mean by fundamentals of the game, do everything that you do.

“That maybe comes with experience and that is what I need to get into these guys and teach these guys. Maybe they are too young and there is an acceptance there”

When you are looking to bring people in does your league position make it a harder sell?

“It makes it a tougher sell but it also goes back to what I have said. This is a wonderful big club, they have everything. I walk about and I see they want for nothing at this football club.

“I will never have a go at my players, they gave it everything that they have got today but we beat ourselves. We have done most of the year with turnovers and it is in the back of our net. We cannot defend it properly and we are out of shape and out of position.

“That is all the streetwise stuff that I’m talking about but at any club, if you have the chance of a window and you can recruit one or two who can go into your first team, then you are moving the club forward. That is what we will be looking to do.

“The games will be coming thick and fast so what I need to say to these guys, were you at your best? We’re you Man of the Match? Because every game that you go into between now and the end of the season you need to put yourself up to run the show. You have to have that belief and that is my frustration. I believe in them, I don’t know if they believe in themselves.”


- - Hear the thoughts of Ian Campbell



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