Listen to this James McPake interview
Even although winning 3-0, Pars manager James McPake felt that his side should have put in a better performance against Lowland League Albion Rovers:-
“It is job done, it’s three points in the group. We made it harder than we had hoped but they had done quite well against Raith Rovers they went and beat Annan and Sandy (Clark) has got them playing pretty well on a good pitch. Fair play to Albion Rovers, but we weren’t good enough.
“It was nothing that I wasn’t expecting but you cannot just approach games in a manner that you think you have a divine right to win it. You have not, we got exactly what we thought we would get from Albion Rovers. Sandy Clark is a very experienced coach / manager so they were well set up. They have some decent players but if you don’t approach the game properly – which we didn’t do for a large spell of that game.
“You saw the difference when Kyle Benedictus came on, Joe Chalmers came on – great for Taylor Sutherland as well. Andrew Tod was excellent but that’s not about what I expected and what I didn’t. I expected us to perform at a consistency and at a level that you get when you wear the Dunfermline strip and for a while in that game we didn’t do that.”
Is that something that you have to work on between now and the league season starting?
“Definitely – 100%. There is a lot of work to do and on the back of what I said about not starting quick although it wasn’t that tonight. We lacked a bit of leadership in the first half when things weren’t going right. As I said you saw the difference when Benedictus and Chalmers came on – the way they can move people about. We heard more from Benedictus in the 42 minutes he was on than you heard (before).
“We have got to have more leaders on the pitch. It is not about when things are not going right that you have a go at somebody. You are not falling out with them. There are standards and demands, they do it in training but tonight they didn’t do that.”
Can you make that into a positive?
“No. You don’t turn things like that into a positive. You work your way through them and you get better at them. We have the time but they will need to be better.”
Two seventeen year olds put in a shift for you tonight?
“Andrew (Tod) was excellent on Saturday, he was excellent again tonight. He has a real enthusiasm to play football, a real enthusiasm to learn. He has handled the step up into first team football. Sometimes you look at it and you say that it’s a massive step up. It is not when you listen and you learn and you have got the ability that he has got. I’m delighted for him again, it is his second start in succession.
“What he has done is put himself in a position where he has now given us food for thought to start. He has done that and you can only ask him to come in and do well. He has done that twice and Taylor (Sutherland) has been excellent in training. He has deserved that but I’m disappointed tonight when we have Liam Hoggan and Miller Fenton on the bench. There was lack of leadership when Sam Fisher had to come off minutes after half time, instead of putting his hand up at half time. It is wee things like that which have annoyed me tonight.”
What was the problem with Sam Fisher?
“He had a stomach bug or something like that. So put your hand up at half time, it would maybe then let Liam Hoggan, late in the game, get another ten or fifteen minutes or Miller because we have that one stoppage with two subs remaining. There was a lot went wrong tonight.”
Michael O’Halloran not ready for tonight?
“No he should be fine for Airdrie. We decided to take the extra time with Michael. What we don’t want to do is be reckless with it and cost six to eight weeks. Now that can happen with any player but when it is in your control I think it best that you take the cautious approach particularly where we are in the season. If this was the last game or second last game, Michael would have been available. We will keep working with him. We now have ten or eleven days I think to work on it but it is an important ten or eleven days.”
You have no bounce game at the weekend when you don’t have a fixture?
“No. We have had plenty games, plenty good tests and we have played Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday in this cup. It has been a relatively tough schedule with a lot of them having to play a lot of minutes. We got Lewis (McCann) off in good time tonight, we got 45 into Bene, 42 into Joe whatever it was. Everybody is at a good level.”
Are you going to give the guys a bit of rest before you start your preparations for the Airdrie game?
“Yes, they deserve it. They came back in and the first game was the 23rd June and we were back on 18th or 19th June. They have worked really hard and as I say, it is tough because we are not used to this in Scotland. I know it is different in England where you go Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday most weeks but it is not something other than probably Celtic and Rangers and maybe the teams that are in Europe get a wee sample of that in a season. Celtic and Rangers do it quite frequently, other than that it is not some that happens a lot up here. You get the odd midweek game, so that will take its toll on them but I’m glad that we have got through it, what looks after tonight, injury free. Sam has got a bug but that will be fine by the time that we come back in so I think they deserve a few days off.”
What happened to that signing that was imminent?
“I didn’t say imminent, I said close. We are still close!”