Dunfermline Athletic

Meet the Manager Night

Thursday, 1st Mar 2012

01/03/12: JM - "You live and die by putting the ball in the back of the net. It's a results business and we understand that more than most.

MEET THE MANAGER NIGHT

Jim McIntyre was joined at the Meet the Manager night in the Kingdom Suite by his assistant Gerry McCabe, Director of Football Jim Leishman, captain Austin McCann and striker Liam Buchanan. Throughout the Manager gave a very honest opinion to the audience of around 70 fans.

"First and foremost, we are all in this together - the players and the management - there is not a them and us. We know full well that especially at home this season it has not been good enough. Nobody will ever try and disguise that. I don't make excuses.

"We want to stay in the SPL and we were under no illusion at the start of the season that it was going to be tough. Its proved that way, we could look at different things but ultimately we will not make excuses. What we have produced outside on the pitch has not been good enough. Whether keeping the ball out of the net or putting it away when we have had the chances, there have been several home games this year where we should have won. It is our own failings that have let us down there.

"We may have had players out injured but we have had ample chances to win football matches and ample chances to defend football matches but we have not done that. As a group we take that on the chin."

The Manager may not have wanted to highlight the injury situation but he was then asked a follow up question on the subject from the floor:-

"It has been a hell of a season regarding injuries. I have never known it to be quite so bad, it seems to be that every injury is worse case scenario for us. Take Nicky Phinn for example. Nicky injured his hamstring which came from a nerve problem and he has been to see the best of people. The Club has spent money sending Nicky down to London, down to Leeds - there has been thousands of pounds poured in there and the boy just can't get a break.

"Sometimes it is just players bodies. In the case of Craig Easton for example, his history before he came here was 30 plus games every season and he comes to us, does his calf and just keeps redoing his calf. Paul Gallacher's injury is a challenge in a match and its season over, Andy Barrowman pulled his calf at Motherwell and is out for seven weeks.

"Kevin Rutkiewicz last Wednesday night went in for a challenge and ruptured his ligament. It has been really, really frustrating. You can look into things and analyse it to death which we do but we are very vigilant in terms of rehab and giving players time to come back. We make sure that they see the best of people and follow their guidelines.

"They get scanned, identify what's wrong with them, go to a specialist who determines the time out and then you build up a rehab programme based on that. It has been a killer not to have Nicky Phinn or Steven Bell - two young players in their prime who I really felt could complement the Premier League.

"It is hard for the football club as well because they are having to go out and spend finances that they don't really have to build the squad up again. They deserve great credit; they backed me to the hilt in the January window. We signed four players. Iain Turner who had not had a back problem since he was 16, training on the astroturf does in his back. He woke up and went into spasm. He went to see a specialist who says complete rest for six weeks. Some of this you couldn't make up. It has been so frustrating.

"Mark Kerr comes to the Club and gets smashed into in a tackle with Steven Davis and does his ankle ligaments. Jordan MacMillan had the same from a tackle and damages ligaments as well. Hopefully he has a good chance of returning on Saturday. Three out of the four new signings who you hope will give the squad a lift are out right away and you are fighting yet again against the wind."

The Manager admitted that certain things just haven't gone his teams way in games but was not offering excuses:-

"As I said at the start, especially at home we have had umpteen opportunities to bury teams. If we go back to the start of the season and the 3-3 game against Inverness where we had to score in the last minute to get a point out of it. We should have been well ahead at half time.

"The 2-2 game against Hibs is exactly the same. We should have been well ahead at half time and had to come back from 2-0 down, showing great character in the team.

"I would never question their hunger but I did last week at Perth because it just wasn't good enough. When it is like that I will hold my hand up and I will say it. The players know it themselves that they were very flat. Sometimes that can happen coming off the back of an Old Firm game where they put so much effort in but again I do not want to make excuses. It just wasn't good enough for the dogfight that we are in.

"For me, over the course of a season, your league position does not lie. We have had shortcomings this season. There have been some poor individual errors in terms of goals that we have lost. But we have had good chances as well to go and win games. You live and die by putting the ball in the back of the net. Its a results business and we understand that more than most.

"You will always get commitment; they have got to have that. It is alright for me to say in the papers that they are a great bunch - and they are a great bunch, they give everything that they have got - but when we have a performance like last Saturday, like Aberdeen away then you deserve the criticism that's coming your way."

Macca was asked for an insight into how he tackles the problem of players mistakes:-

"We work on set plays, team formation and we spend a lot of time doing video analysis showing the players where we think they went wrong. Asking for their opinion as well because it is important when you do video analysis that you don't just give them the answer. You say, 'what did you see there yourself' so that the player then learns from that.

"Some of our mistakes this season you just can't legislate for. Decision making by the individual at a particular time costs you a goal."

GERRY McCABE

Gerry McCabe gave his take on the home match against Aberdeen in November that ended up 3-3:-

"We were 3-1 up and missed a great chance to go 4-1 up. They went straight up the park and scored an own goal through Alex Keddie. They went on to score late on and had they not missed a chance at the end, could have won it. That's the fine margin; if we had scored a fourth one we could have gone on to score five or six but they got off the hook with the own goal.

"If we had won that day we wouldn't have been sitting here saying that we could have had two or three home wins under our belt. That's the way the game goes. We have forgotten about that one but know that the next game at home is so important. Maybe teams are coming saying 'they have a terrible home record' and if they score a goal the fans might get agitated and get on our backs. Make it more difficult for us but we don't look at it that way, we say here is an opportunity.

"We have nine games to go and we know everybody is waiting on this home win but we are just wanting the next three points, whether it is away or whether it is at home. I know it would be great for the fans to get that home win. We don't go into home games feeling under pressure, we go out first and foremost to try and get the three points."

Jim McIntyre stressed how vital it was during the next four match programme ahead of the SPL split that Dunfermline keep in touch with the others that they are chasing:-

"Hibs have got five games left, we have got four. At the moment it looks like a straight two horse race but that can change, the picture can change but the only way that it is going to change is if we pick up points. If Hibs pick up points as well then we can move forward on to the heels of someone else. We get this saying about dragging a couple of other teams back into it but the only way that happens is by moving forward yourselves, taking care of your own business and that's all we have got to worry about.

"At the start of the season survival was our main aim. That has not changed, I knew that it was going to be a hard slog. You hear about First Division teams when they have a good cup run and the view is that there is not that much of a difference between the First Division and the Premier League but for me there is. The difference is the Premier League players do it on a weekly basis. They do it week in week out more often. For cup games it can be easy to lift yourself when you are playing a big side but we have faced a battle in every game this season.

"I still firmly believe that the players are good enough to keep us in this league. What we have to do, as I spoke about earlier on. is when you get your chances you need to be putting them away. That is something that you will all have seen - anybody getting a chance against us, they are ruthless, they bury it. It is equally important not to make mistakes at the back."

The Manager stressed that there are only three points between Dunfermline and Hibs:-

"There is absolutely no reason why we can't avoid relegation. We know that we are running out of games, we are realistic enough to know that it has to be now that we start picking up points. The games are being ticked off; we only have four before the split and we must make sure that we are within touching distance or above them. We can't affect Hibs results and at the very minimum we need to ensure that their three point lead doesn't increase.

"You have probably read in the papers recently what has been going on at Rangers and obviously that has had a direct affect on us. We are fully aware of the importance of staying in this league and always have been. We will be trying our best to do so."

JIM LEISHMAN

Jim Leishman backed up the Manager saying that everyone hopes that they can stay up.

"If we can stay up the Manager will get means to stay up again. When you come up, the Manager has added to the squad and brought new players in. In the first year, the secret is to stay up and that as the Manager said is what we are focussing on. It would be silly not to have plan B if we do get relegated.

"Last year playing against Falkirk, Cowdenbeath and Raith Rovers - the three teams that we want to play every week because of the derby atmosphere that they generate - we came out on top of that. It was a great situation to be in for the crowds. It was terrific out there but look at Falkirk and Raith Rovers now and the support that they have been getting, it is very poor in comparison to last year. They will be desperate for us to go back down and generate atmosphere for them."

Looking ahead to Saturday Jim McIntyre was in no doubt that Motherwell are a very good side:-

"The boy Jamie Murphy can play up front or play wide. They have added Ojamma who is very dangerous. Big Higdon gets a lot of stick but he is what he is and does a good job. He is a target man, he is strong, holds the ball up and players can play off him. They have good options, especially in the wider areas with Mark Daly who is also very quick.

"They are a good side but it is up to us; we are scrapping for points and we must try and combat their strengths. We need to make sure that we get that first goal that I think is so important. I'd love to see a big crowd here. Jim has just spoken about Raith Rovers last year when we had 9000, Falkirk and the crowds that we had here. We understand that they are derbies and also understand results have not been good enough which can put people off coming. We know that there's a recession on but at the same time we are fighting for our lives and we need everybody to come out and support the Club. Give the players as big a lift as possible."

The Manager revealed that Andy Barrowman and Jordan MacMillan trained on Thursday.  Mark Kerr will miss this Saturday's game but shouldn't be far away from a return.  Macca also explained how gutted the players were when they followed up a fine away win at Kilmarnock in January with a poor performance against Motherwell at Fir Park the last time the teams met:-

"We needed to make sure that we took the confidence from the result into the next game but we never and it was a sore one."

Responding to a question generated because of the reported wage payment problem at the Club, Jim Leishman emphasised how important it was to give the Manager and players as much support as possible:-

"It wasn't just Glasgow Rangers that caused the problem, there were two or three things. You are all aware of the Kilmarnock game that was postponed. In the re-arranged game there were a lot of things missing - we still had to pay for the corporate hospitality for the Saturday. Storm damage to the away stand meant that we had to bring in cherrypickers, there was about £20,000 worth of damage and that had to be paid out.

"The Rangers event came at the end of that month and so it was an accumulation of things. The players were brilliant at their meeting today. Once everything was explained to them, they got right behind what we are trying to do and responded brilliantly.

"We are working hard at Dunfermline to get the income stream to exceed the expenditure. Stephen Wright and Craig McWhirter are working really hard with the under 17s right down to produce talent. We are starting to see youngsters coming through that system, so there are positives there and the Manager is starting to include them That's not only the ones you see on a Saturday but the Manager or Gerry or both will pick a young player and invite them to train with them."

2012-03-03 - Motherwell

YOUR CLUB NEEDS YOU



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