Manager post Airdrieonians

Listen to this James McPake interview

“It is a good three points against a very good team” claimed Dunfermline manager James McPake. “They’ll cause every team in this league problems, like they did every team in our league last season.  They are a good side but I’m delighted for the players.

“I felt like I’ve been in that movie before – just different stages of it. We go behind, settle back into the game and Paul Allan comes on and scores a fantastic goal – his first goal for the club. We are delighted for him particularly after his season last year.

“Then we lose a man and they show character.  We say we expect that from them now because they consistently do it – but it’s some level of expectation to ask a group to do that week in, week out and they’ve never once let us down. I take every game over the last year and a bit that we have been here. Those players have been magnificent.

“Everybody in there, apart from Harry Sharp, was part of the squad that won the league last year as well. You expect them to go out and work hard and do this and whatever – but they deliver that group.  The best thing you can stand and say about your group is you’re proud of them. I’m super proud of them again today.

“I thought we started the first half pretty well, we had a decent enough start and a few chances. Airdrie were a threat which we knew they would be, and they came into it a bit more. Stat wise we maybe had close to the same number of chances in the first half but they hit the woodwork. In the second-half, until the red card I thought we were well on top and we were the team looking likely to win the game.  I know that’s a bit obvious because we’re in front but the performance level was great, and the character kicks in.

“I don’t think it was just character. The full performance was consistent with that group of players.  I don’t know how many games I’ve been here now but they’ve never let me down.  There’s been defeats, of course there has, but they’ve been excellent.”

What did you make of the red card?

“I’ve genuinely not seen anything back. I’ll look at but it is what it is. Big Breeny was excellent as well and I’m gutted for him but that’s football.”

You took off Andrew Tod who had been booked, were you thinking of taking off Rhys Breen (who was on a yellow from 14 minutes) before the red card?

“No, I think when Andrew went in with the goalkeeper which he had every right  to go for – thankfully the goalkeeper was okay – the tension was going up in the game. Airdrie were doing what you would expect in asking the referee for a decision. He is a young lad, he is learning. I thought he was excellent again and it is not easy going into a Championship game at that age and on such a big day for the club with it being ‘flag day’.  I think it was just to protect him.

“Centre halves get booked a lot and they see games out. Benedictus and Fisher get booked every week as well. Breeny was just unlucky, he will be devastated but I think his performance was excellent. I don’t know but it will probably be next week that he misses.”

A word on Harry Sharp’s debut?

“Outstanding. I felt for Max (Little) because Max has been working away really hard and doing great but it was just a decision that we made between myself and Dave (Mackay) to put Harry in. He showed that he is a very good young goalkeeper, I have known him since he was sixteen. I played him in Dundee’s first team and he has played a fair bit in Dundee’s first team since I left as well. 

“He made some good saves, he kicked the ball and managed the game pretty well as well.  I don’t think that he had an awful lot to do really, the post and the bar did a wee bit for him so he has got that to thank. He is a great lad and one that I’m delighted to be working with again.”

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