Manager post Airdrieonians

Listen to James McPake’s post match comments

After the 2-1 win over Airdrieonians, manager James McPake said that he was pleased first and foremost by his side’s performance:-

“I know everything is about the three points at the end of the day but I harp on all the time that it’s about consistency in your performances that over a prolonged period of time allow you to win more games than not. I thought that performance was excellent today, from start to finish we were well in complete control of that game. 

“It is not easy to do that against them. We have tried it a lot, we have played them enough now and in terms of controlling the ball the way we did today and the chances that we created, that’s the best we have been against them.  I tell the truth when even win a game and I don’t think we have been great but I thought today we were well worthy of those three points.”

Given the history of this fixture, were you worried when they got the penalty?

“No, we said this to the players and it is easy to stand here and say that I didn’t feel bothered at all. We had three minutes or two and a half minutes to go but I just felt that we were so comfortable in the game. I will need to watch it back to see but I’m normally over critical rather than over happy as you know by now but I didn’t feel under any real pressure at all. Personally standing on the sidelines, Dave and my staff said the same. 

“It was just a comfortable afternoon in my opinion with some really good play but that is down to the players in the way they carried out all the work that we had done all week. Probably the other time I felt comfortable like this was here when we drew 2-2 with nine men for twenty minutes or however long it was. You sometimes just get a feeling that we were that much on it that day that we are not going to concede. Obviously they got the penalty so we did concede but when that went in we had three minutes to see the game out. 

“There were a couple of things in the game where you are going ‘we could have done a bit better’ but the players never panicked and to be fair it was me! I’m glad that it was coming from me, they were still trying to build with a couple of minutes to go and I’m shouting ‘just boot it’. Get us up the pitch because that is the time to boot it. Normally it is the opposite way and we are shouting ‘try and play’. 

“They deserve so much credit for that today because they are not an easy team to play against and certainly not an easy team to play against when you try and go toe to toe with them in a footballing sense. That is what we decided to do today. We have tried loads of different ways and that’s the best we have been footballing wise against them. I think there is a bit in it because they changed their shape as well to try and cope with us.

“I think the respect is there for both teams because we have had great games against them and the way Rhys (McCabe) plays is fantastic. They might not think that about us but I think that there is a respect there that they came out the league, we came out the league and the two teams are doing decent enough, okay in the Championship. I think it was a good game again today.”

Your substitutes did really well, especially Alex Jakubiak?

“I know it is substitutes and that’s what you call it but hate the term ‘he has been left out’ not that you said that but to say ‘he is left out’ or ‘he is benched’. That is not the way that we see it. We harp on about this all the time to the group that it’s a team and we pick a team every week to week. That’s not trying to be smart. We knew where Airdrie’s threat was, we knew we needed certain players in certain areas of the pitch. Then they sprung it on us playing a back three and you get the thoughts of Raith Rovers coming and doing that but we have learned from that.

“The plan was always to bring Jak on because in that formation and in that way we play it is such a hard shift for the players at the top end of the pitch. Today it was a front two but it can be two behind a one. They run themselves into the ground and you have to explain that at times like wee Moff when he comes off after sixty minutes, he is gutted. I know it wasn’t that today but he comes off when he wants to stay on. He has done that much work – we have got the live data and we are looking at it saying that he can’t give us any more.

“The other side of that is we have fantastic players waiting to come on. I agree with you Alex was excellent, he is devastated because he probably could have had a hat-trick. I’m not worried about that because he is making those chances. He was superb but that’s no surprise to me, I have worked with him long enough those goals will come.”

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Your substitutes – Alex Jakubiak and Matty Todd – combined for the second goal, was that a managerial masterstroke? 

“No, I think that is just the beauty of having a team. I will never stand here and say that we are a good team but that’s the beauty of having a team that is together and they all know the roles. They all work on the same principles, the same things we do and I’m being completely honest here, they never chap the door and moan. 

“I think we are consistent enough to see everybody left out almost other than Kyle Benedictus over our time here. He is out now with an injury. I said it midweek in my presser, I have no problem saying it just now – the front three against Queen’s Park were going to be Jakubiak, Wighton and McCann.

“Automatically people think that’s the way you are going to go in the next game but that’s not the way we do it. It is not being smart, it is just trying to pick a team that we think can give Airdrie problems to start with and then cause Airdrie problems when we are making changes.

“I’m delighted for both of them, delighted for Matty to get his first goal since coming back. Trust me on it I guarantee Alex’s goals will come as well because he is too good a player. He is making those chances and I can’t wait until he gets his first.”

Match Report: 09/12/23 – Airdrieonians 1 Dunfermline 2

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