Goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet has returned to competitive action after his unfortunate injury in training prior to the league opener against Airdrieonians in July. Having broken all clubs record last season he had already shown his mettle in four League Cup matches at the beginning of the season, disappointingly Mehmet’s anticipated league return resulted in a 1-0 defeat against Ayr United. Deniz summed it up:-
“It’s nice to be back out there and playing again and being out on the pitch, it’s just disappointing to come away with a result that none of us really wanted.”
Despite the team’s overall performance, Deniz’s individual performance showcased his unwavering commitment to the team. He was as content as he could be with his contribution but conceded:-
“It’s a hard one to take when you lose a game. I’m there to make saves and I made a couple, which is nice and good for myself to know I’m up to sharpness and up to speed. There are a few little things I’m not pleased with but I think you’re always going to be like that in a game.”
The near three months out due to an ankle injury was clearly a challenging period for the goalkeeper. Deniz described his injury journey as more disappointing than frustrating, emphasising the importance of maintaining a positive attitude:-
“I knew what I was in for with my rehab and everything. So it was just a matter of trying to keep relaxed about it, not get angry and not get frustrated,” he said. The real frustration, according to the 31 year-old, was the team’s first-half performance against Ayr United, although he also acknowledged an improvement post half-time. “The second half we were much better and it showed,” he added.
Deniz was as baffled as most by his side’s lacklustre first 45 minutes showing:-
“I don’t really know to be honest. I think we started fairly well and had a really good chance in the first five minutes. I just think it was a little bit panicky and not like ourselves. It’s difficult to put your finger on it when the reaction in the second half was so much better, playing out from the back was a lot better, we’re playing tidier football and everything looked a lot more calmer than it did in that first half. Hopefully we can go over it, look back and find out what happened.”
The team had not played for three weeks but Deniz would not call it rustiness:-
“During the break we had, we had a bounce game against St Mirren last week but it’s very different when you’re playing behind closed doors, it’s not a league game and people aren’t flying into challenges as they normally would. It’s getting back into that emotion, getting back into the swing of things, but it’s just one of those afternoons.”
On 21st October last season Dunfermline were unbeaten in their first eleven league games and had only conceded four times. Deniz touched upon the contrast of this year. “It was brilliant to break all the records that we did collectively as a club and as a team but I think we know what we’re in for this season.” The ambitious player also hinted at the team’s determination to bounce back in their next game against Raith. “We’re going to try and bounce back from this result and fix it as best we can next week against Raith in the derby.
“I’m assuming the atmosphere is going to be good, like it has been the last two fixtures we’ve had with them, one through there in the league cup and earlier on in the season here, so I think it’s going to be a good turnout and the fans will bring a good atmosphere for both sides. It’s a game that both sets of players are going to be fired up for and we can go about our business on the Saturday afternoon.”