Dave Mackay previews Viaplay Cup

It is approaching six weeks since the final game of last season but Assistant Manager Dave Mackay feels that time has past really fast. Although thoroughly refreshed after holidaying in Cyprus he is now focusing on the season ahead and he gave his reaction to the Viaplay Cup draw and the first fixtures of the 2023-2024 season. Dunfermline were drawn in the same section as Kilmarnock, Raith Rovers, Annan Athletic and Albion Rovers. 

“I think it is a decent enough draw to be honest, there will be some tough games there. The first one that comes up is a local derby against Raith Rovers, they have made a few decent signings, we can expect a good crowd there and it is live on TV so it is one to look forward to for the fans and the players I’m sure.

“Kilmarnock is obviously going to be a tough test and then we have a couple of lower league teams. Annan had a great season last year and got promoted to League One. Albion Rovers went in the opposite direction and got relegated but it is a tough group but one where we want to make sure that we go and show that we are competitive and try and get through the group stages this year.”

Dave dismissed any suggestion that the Viaplay Cup will not be taken seriously:-

“We have got to. You have seen how big a thing it is financially for clubs, see the amount of clubs who are saying that without good Scottish Cup draws etcetera that they might have struggled to make it to the end of the season financially.  We know how important it is but also as players and staff you want to try and get as far as you can in any competition. We will be taking it very seriously.”

Group F includes a Premiership and two Championship clubs and undoubtedly Kilmarnock and Raith will have designs on winning the group but admitting it is an open group, Dave sees no reason why Dunfermline cannot be up there challenging to qualify:-

“The way this cup competition is you are straight into it from pre season. It always throws up surprises so everybody in it will be expecting to try and top the group, or at least progressing to the next stage of the competition. We are no different.

“I think the way the draw has gone in terms of travelling, we have Annan at home, we have Kilmarnock at home – it has been pretty kind. We can look forward to these games, there will be a lot of pretty tough matches but we fancy ourselves to do well.”

Most will consider Dunfermline’s opening two fixtures as testing but Dave was unmoved by the prospect of facing Raith and Kilmarnock first up:-

“Last year we had Ross County and although we didn’t win the game we performed really well and it gave us a lot of confidence going forward. I don’t see why it would be a hindrance playing these teams straight away. You are straight into real competitive stuff against two very good teams. Whatever way the draw came out you are not too fussed but I don’t see any harm in playing these teams first and see where we stand after that.”

The Viaplay Cup Group matches will follow an opening game at home to St Pauli and four, possibly five, pre season games. Hearts at home on Sunday 9th July is the only one that has been announced and Dave speculated on a further one on the weekend of 29th and 30th July:-

“I think we have got four pencilled in at the minute. There might be an extra one given the way the cup draw has left us with a free weekend on the last weekend of the cup. There will probably be another one scheduled in there I would imagine. Again we will reassess that nearer the time when we see the shape that the squad is in and whether we have any injuries at that point. We will take it from there but we have some competitive games coming up.”

Hearts and St Pauli will provide massive tests for Dunfermline in the effort to ensure that the players up to speed for the first cup game:-

“The league campaign quickly follows after that so it is great to go into competitive games against two very high quality clubs – St Pauli and Hearts. It will be a great test for ourselves to see where we stand but again a lot of it comes down to a fitness exercise but you also don’t want to let yourselves down and put in poor performances against good clubs, in front of good crowds as well.”

Up to 30% off in our
black and white friday sales

Offer is valid from midnight Monday 20th November through to midnight on Monday 27th November.
While stocks last.