For Rhys the waits ceaseSaturday, 15th Apr 2017
"We are looking for the win and only focussed on going there to do that."
Rhys McCabe is happy to have started the last two Dunfermline matches but the wait since Boxing Day has been a frustrating experience for the 24 year old midfielder.
"I could speak on behalf of any player, when you are not playing, it is not enjoyable. That is the harsh reality and the truth that any footballer will tell you. You just have to make sure you apply yourself right in training, living right and keeping up your good standards and habits."
The wait for a chance to show that he can contribute to the team ended against Raith Rovers last Saturday due to the suspension of John Herron who ironically was out through injury anyway. Rhys appreciates his lack of starts is purely down to the unwillingness to change a winning team.
"We had that run of one defeat in seventeen games and it is hard when you are sitting watching. When the team is doing well and picking up results, alright too many draws for the teams liking, it keeps the momentum going into the next game."
Few would dispute that Rhys was the Pars Man of the Match on Tuesday night. His work rate was phenomenal, his long throws and crosses created danger and he just seemed to be everywhere on the park. He claimed that it felt strange since, like most teams in the Championship you go to Tannadice thinking that you are the underdogs but then discover there is no reason to think that way. He claimed:-
"No disrespect to Dundee United, I don`t think they were on their best form. If you were at the game or viewed the highlights you will have seen that we were more than in the game for a good hour.
"We created a few clear cut chances but have lacked that cutting edge in front of goal and not taken the chances which are vital at this stage in the season."
The stats confirm only one Pars goal from open play in the last six games. It is frustrating for everyone but it is not a case of being on the back foot and defending for ninety minutes. Rhys continued:-
"We are more than in the games that we have played. It is just luck or maybe breaks falling to the defenders that means it is not quite happening."
There is universal acceptance with management and players all quoted that when the chances fall Dunfermline have to be more clinical.
"The only way we can go about it is to keep getting ourself into the right areas and hopefully one of them falls to you."
Rhys` fine pass in from the right in 30th minute at Tannadice was a case of a player getting in the right position but Michael Moffat was unlucky or maybe just surprised by the accuracy. Rhys continued:-
"It was a shame. I pressed the full back, intercepted and read the pass. I drove on and Moff made a great run, all credit to him to do everything right. I thought I had played it alright but when I hit the ball I tumbled away and didn`t actually see what happened.
"I asked him afterwards and he said that when the ball came in it skipped up and his feet got into a bit of a tangle. He maybe thought that he was offside but the goal came less than 30 seconds later. That is the frustrating thing.
"We can handle it if we miss the chances. Obviously you have to keep a good shape and defend as well as attack. From my point of view and probably speaking on behalf of the boys as well, is that we have had a really good chance and, I don`t know if it`s a lapse in concentration or just a bit of good play from them, but we were out of position and we should have done better defending it."
Dumbarton on Saturday is a massive game at a pivotal point of the season claimed Rhys:-
"It is important that we don`t take our foot off the gas because in the league table very few points separate the bottom of the league from the play off places.
"For me it is probably the most important of the season that we go up to Dumbarton on Saturday and put in a good performance. Three points would give us a safety net and we could build from that. We are looking for the win and only focussed on going there to do that."
Dumbarton are now in their fifth season in the second tier of Scottish football after play off wins over Arbroath and Airdrieonians in the season that Colin Cameron`s Cowdenbeath walked away with the Scottish Division Two. Over the years the Sons have managed to collect enough points to retain their place and Rhys continued:-
"They have shown to be stuffy opponents over the years. I am not being disrespectful but they are not the best team that we have played all season. You could see that by the goal rout that we had here. We totally dominated them for the full game but they somehow seem to grind out results when you maybe don`t think that they should."
It will no doubt be a tough game at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium predicted the Pars man:-
"They are at home, the pitch is not great but you just have to go there and apply yourself right. You need to make sure that you are focussed, concentrate and do the job."
If that job secured all three points they would go a long way towards keeping the Pars out of the play offs. There had been aspirations to reach the play offs at the other end of the table but Rhys rounded off a realist:-
"The main aim at the start of the season was to stay in the league and build on that. Depending on how results went there was a spell a few weeks ago where we thought we could maybe push for a play off spot at the top but the league is very tight.
"The focus is get the three points but I think it is unrealistic to say that we can still get a play off spot at the top but the squad has to show a bit of character, go out and still continue our job on the pitch. We must aim for a place as high up the league as we can."