Dunfermline Athletic

Managers post St Johnstone

Tuesday, 15th Dec 2020

15/12/20: link to audio of both managers post match comments

- - Listen to this Stevie Crawford interview

Manager Stevie Crawford felt the the first twenty minutes of Tuesday night’s Betfred Cup Quarter Final was a very testing twenty minutes. He gave his assessment of the match to the media:-

“St Johnstone knocked the ball about well, they penned us in. We made a wee tweak asking Ryan Dow just to step up a bit to stop Liam Craig getting on the ball as much which I thought brought us success to get us up the pitch.

“After that it was very much an even contest on the night. Then to go into extra time and going a goal down, we thought boys were maybe starting to struggle a bit in terms of out on their feet. We went with the 4-3-3 putting our three strikers up against their three centre backs.

Above: Lewis McCann came on to challenge his brother Ali

“We managed to get ourselves back into the game with Iain Wilson gambling in the box and sticking the ball away well. It is a sore one to lose on penalty kicks but no disgrace.”

Penalties are just a lottery?

“It is, you can try and replicate that and you have heard it from other managers and coaches other than myself. You try and replicate it but the minute you go up knowing that you have the chance to take the team through to the semi final it becomes a different animal.

“There is no disgrace, the boys put their hands up to hit the penalties. They hit the target so credit to big Zander Clark for making the saves. It is not a case of boys missing penalties in my eyes. As I say five of them were brave enough to go up and take the penalties. It is disappointing that we have not made it to the semi finals but if you said that was going to be the way we are in the League Cup campaign, it is small steps we are taking as a club. That hopefully whets the appetite to do that even more.”

Your team didn’t buckle in extra time?

“There are two bits that stick out in the game for me - the first twenty minutes where we were up against a good Premiership side. Callum (Davidson) has got them well organised and we dug it out at a horrible time in the game when we were under the cosh. That is where I think we have improved.

“You go a goal behind in extra time and you could feel sorry for yourself after the weekend result against Morton but the boys managed to find it, they buy into it at half time in extra time when you are saying go 4-3-3. They found that we bit of energy to go and get the equaliser.

“Questions are getting asked of them albeit they lost the game tonight but credit has to go to the players for the way they have conducted themselves through this campaign.”

Iain Wilson’s first goal for the club made it 1-1 and ultimately took the tie to penalties-

“He has anticipated it when we had bodies in the box. It was bouncing about and Iain has got on the end of it. It is something that I think Iain can add to his game. He is very good technically, people probably see him as a defensive midfield player. He can play that role but I also think he has different things in his make up that he can be an attacking midfielder as well. He has got good legs about him, he will take confidence from that tonight.”

When the dust settles on this you can surely take a lot of positives from the attitude, commitment and the endeavour of the guys?

“I have said to them to a man in there, no matter how the result was going to go tonight, when you are coming up against an opposition that is an established Premiership club, as long as they have given it their best effort you can live with a lot of things in life.

“It can be a cruel place at times but the thing that I am asking them is to dust themselves down, they wil be off tomorrow, they will come in Thursday and do a recovery sessions and then we have a hard game on Saturday. That is the reality of it, going up to Dens Park. All we can asked again of the players is to give one hundred per cent and if they do that we give ourselves the opportunity to win the game.”

Harnessing the positives from tonight cannot do your Championship challenge any harm?

“I have said it to the players. There are guys that they are playing against who have 50, 100, 150, 200 games in the Premiership. Some of our guys have not played 30 games in the Championship and that is not making excuses. That is where they should be wanting to play.

“Let that be the hunger, they have just missed out on a chance to get to a semi final, which you don’t get very often. It is just making sure that the hurt from the result doesn’t go the other way and they feel sorry for themselves and it very much kicks them on. We have a big game on Saturday to look forward to now.”

- - Hear the thoughts of Callum Davidson

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