Dunfermline Athletic

Managers post Morton

Saturday, 8th Jan 2022

08/01/22: link to audio of both managers post match comments

- - Listen to this John Hughes interview

The defeat Pars manager John Hughes suggested that his post match comments might be quite strange:-

“I felt in the first ten minutes we were slow starters as we usually are. After that I felt that we were the better team in the first half but every time the ball went in our box or there was a shot a goal it was in our net. We were the better team in the first half without having a cutting edge.

“In terms of dominating the ball, every time it goes forward it ends up in our net. I have been in games like that but we have defend it better. In the second half there was a little bit of where we are, we were sorry for ourselves - there are a lot of young boys in there, I understand that. As I stand here talking to you now at 57 years old, I was the best player in the world but what I take myself back to when I was in teams as a young man fighting relegation, I feel their pain, I really do.

“I am in it with them in that way. My biggest frustration, even on the back of a 5-0, I have a great belief in them. I see them doing things on a training pitch, some wonderful stuff but we need to bring that to the game on a Saturday, and we need to toughen up a bit.

“When it comes into our box we are conceding goals far too easy. That is not the first time this season, it happened against Queen of the South and it happened against Arbroath. We need to sit down and analyse that. Look at it and try and pick a team that is going to give us the best chance to win the game. I think that they gave me their all and I really really do feel for them.

“It might be the best thing to happen to us! It might be now that there is a realisation that we are right in this dogfight. It might be the best thing to happen to us and it is up to these guys to come in here and do something about it. We need to use the fuel of getting beat 5-0, the embarrassment of getting beat 5-0. That is the word for it, I’m embarrassed, you have to be and that is taking nothing away from Morton.

“We need to use that fuel, that hurt, that pain for next week. If we can do that and do the fundamentals better in terms of getting after people and turning bad into good. We need to play forward more and help your teammate. Do what you are doing on the training pitch and go and express yourself. If they play with that we will be the better for it and it has to happen ASAP.”

Given that you acknowledge that the heads went down, do you believe that you have a group of players that can respond the way that you are demanding?

“Yes, I do. There is one or two of them who could do with game time - Coll Donaldson and Lewis Martin - but that is no excuse. We just need to stand up to it, that is my message to them. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, be embarrassed and let the pain hurt you because it should hurt you. On the flip side of that, we are talking about character and all the things that manager say when they get beat - the spirit and the character.

“I have been there, I have played with the most quietest guys but as soon as you step over that white line that switch goes on. It is the switch that brings the winner in you and if that mental switch is not on and you have doubt, you shouldn’t put the strip on. That is a fear, you cannot fear because what do you have to lose?

“Have no trepidation in your game and be the best that you can be added to the stuff that I’m wanting off them. We need to get a real good siege mentality together and if we do that we will be alright. As I say this could be the horrible catalyst for us going forward.

“My message to the Dunfermline supporters is that we are really really embarrassed with that. I will back them one hundred per cent when they are my boys. I am in it with them but you have to have a real pride in what we are doing. A real pride be it for your family, for your kids, for your grandparents, I would love to think that it is for Dunfermline. If it is, what a chance we have but you have to find that nugget - what it is that switches on to bring the animal out of you to be a winner.”

Do you hope to bring anyone in?

“We are always working even before the game, always ducking and diving. I am under no illusions what the job that was in front of me at the club and I have had a good response from them but we are a little bit naïve in terms of everything that we do. So hopefully we can get one or two in to help them.”

Can we assume that Mark Connolly won’t be hanging around?

“That has been ongoing for the last two or three weeks, Mark might be going back to Dundee United or going on loan somewhere else but right at this moment he has hurt his thigh so it was pointless him coming here.

“Big Rhys Breen had a covid problem but that is how it is going to be like. That is part of the battle, the guys sitting out have to go and take their chance. It is swings and roundabouts, chops and changes and when you get your chance make sure that you take it and stay in the team.

“Graham Dorrans is another covid victim unfortunately. We are now down to seven days so I think it was Thursday so I think that they will be back for next week.”

- - Hear the thoughts of Morton manager Dougie Imrie

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