Greg Shields on Youth Cup exit

Hearts gave Dunfermline a quick double blow scoring twice in the opening six minutes to put themselves in the driving seat in the fourth round of the SFA Youth Cup on Tuesday night. Dunfermline recovered to put up a fight that had their opponents on the back foot for a large part of the second half. Coach Greg Shields gave his thoughts on the cup tie to the website:-

“I always say when you are 2-0 down it is easy playing, there is nothing to lose, the fear goes and you start relaxing in the game. Tonight the game was probably won in the first five minutes and it was an uphill battle from then on. We tried to correct it at half time, we changed shape and pressed a little bit higher and we caused them problems. For 30 to 35 minutes of the second half, Hearts didn’t really get out of their own half. 

“It was exciting at times. We had a few moments, Jake Sutherland hit the post and Freddie Rowe had a chance and there was another one across the face of goal when their goalkeeper got pressed. It was a positive reaction from them after half time which was pleasing. 

“The first half wasn’t us, we froze a little bit and that’s to be expected. Hearts are an Elite League team, they do well in their league, they are a good group of kids, they are very athletic and to be fair we gave them a little too much respect and that showed in the first five minutes.

“We have got to do better stopping the cross and then defending the cross – that’s bread and butter stuff. That’s how I would like to score goals as you saw with the second goal we scored. But that’s the game, that’s where they learn and what young boys do. It was a tough first half after losing the two early goals.”

Jake Sutherland’s goal just before the interval came at just the right time to give the team belief that they had every chance going out for the second half?

“It was a bit special that goal. I turned around to the bench and asked if anybody had seen Jake score a goal from a free kick, it is usually Sam Young who hits them. It was a great finish, a great strike and it was great to see Jake back out on the pitch. He has been out for four or five weeks now. He has had a tough time of it as it showed with his cramp. As soon as he got cramp you take him off but credit to him, he was a threat, a real handful and you could see at the start of the second half how important a player he is for us.”

The stoppage to allow treatment to Jake helped Hearts and Greg acknowledged that it always was going to be significant when you are replacing him with players who are two or three years behind Jake in their development.

“They are big boots to fill but great experience for Lucas Fyfe who came on, a 2009 who has three years left at this level and Jay Snoddy came on as well. We needed fresh legs at that time anyway. They had done a power of work at the start of the second half and it was always going to take its toll.

“I am happy with them, to a point. We made a mistake for the third goal which put Hearts really in control and it was a hard one to come back from. The reaction after that and the goal that we scored was really good football. There was good link up play to go down the left hand side to send the ball across the face of goal and a good finish from Mark (Beveridge). The momentum was with us a wee bit but it was always an uphill task. As I said that earlier the game was won in the first five minutes.”

Match Report SFA Youth Cup, 19/12/23 – Dunfermline 2 Hearts 4

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