Manager post Annan Athletic

Listen to this James McPake interview

James McPake told the media:-

“It was a comfortable evening, there were a lot of positives to take from the game. We were never in any trouble in the ninety odd minutes. There was some really good stuff, it’s three points in the group which we are delighted about and another clean sheet for Deniz and the team. That was important, we wanted to get back to that and we looked pretty comfortable all evening.”

It was good to see a few goals going in?

“We had loads of chances, we got in really good areas and there were good moments in the game where sometimes a bit of luck or the pitch at times was a bit sticky and we were getting caught under our feet particularly when we were trying to get in that final area – Lewis a couple of times. It was three good goals for Lewis, that’s his first professional hattrick. Well done to him and  a good goal for Sam Fisher.”

We thought Lewis’ first one was maybe an own goal?

“I’m only going from where I am sitting. I think it was Lewis’ touch and it hits the boy. If the boy wasn’t there it was going in I think. He has got it, if he doesn’t touch the ball it doesn’t go in anyway. 

“I think the big man deserves it, he was excellent again tonight. Craig Wighton along with him – that’s the best Craig has been in terms of everything. He is just getting to that level again. You need to do that, work through it and get to that level. We are starting to see that. We are delighted with a lot.

“I thought Andrew Tod was excellent coming on. It was disappointing with Matty Todd’s injury, we will get that assessed tomorrow and fingers crossed it’s not a lengthy one. He has not had any luck from the end of last season and he was just getting to that level, looking really good and then that happens. Hopefully we get a bit of good fortune with that and we will be okay.”

What actually happened?

“It is his ankle so we will get that assessed in the morning and we will know tomorrow. It was just a challenge.”

How is Lewis?

“Again he is showing a bit of maturity, he knows the game is done, he knows there is no point in forcing anything. He got a kick and he is just looking after it. Well done to him for that as well, he is making better decisions in terms of on the ball. His all round play is developing and he is doing well. 

“Tonight we looked very comfortable in the game but there was still a lot of good stuff in the game that made it that comfortable because these games can be tricky as we have all been involved in. We are delighted to get through it with hopefully minimal damage to Matty.”

Sam Fisher’s was his first goal for the club?

“He claimed an even worse one than that one of Lewis’ against Edinburgh where he crossed it and Liam Fontaine put it in. That’s his first proper goal for the club and he had a shot late on that Greg Fleming makes a really good save from as well. He was excellent tonight along with Rhys Breen and Kyle Benedictus. I thought the three of them were really good.”

Your younger players came on – Taylor Sutherland, Miller Fenton and Liam Hoggan – can you take positives from that?

“It is great to expose them. They have done a lot in pre-season, training and we don’t just do it for the point. They are there on merit, I’m sure Paul Allan would have been sitting when Andrew (Tod) went on ‘why am I not getting on?’ Andrew has deserved it, he has been excellent since he came back and it is great to see that.  Paul does go on and again he is at a different level from where he was earlier in the season. Coming back it has taken him a wee bit of time.

“Rhys Breen was the best that he has been as well and it doesn’t matter who are the opposition because there are certain things that we are looking at from the players. They did that in the game – Paul, Breeny, Wighty – they are now getting to the levels where we need them to be for the start of the league campaign.”

With Matty’s injury does that mean there is a need to add to your squad?

“Again that will be dictated by the scans and what we find tomorrow. I couldn’t possibly stand here and make any kind of statement that had any element of common sense, little alone truth. If I had to say ‘yeah because Matty has gone over on his ankle we need to go and sign three players’. We will assess Matty in the morning, dust that down. 

“We know where we are short in terms of what we want but, like last season we are not just going to go out and sign people for the sake of signing people,  to say that he can come in and do a job, or he is alright and he can come off the bench for us. We want to improve this squad, the squad is good. Hopefully Michael O’Halloran and Chris Hamilton will be in for Saturday. Chris will definitely be in but Michael has a bit of tightness. We are not going to take a risk with him, his load has elevated in the last couple of weeks from training himself to training every day. You get these wee things so we were never going to risk that particularly the way Michael plays.

“So hopefully those two come back into the squad on Saturday and I’m hopefully Matty will be there as well. Sometimes with these wee injuries, particularly in the younger ones – he has never really had a bad one, he had a couple of surgeries last year but it wasn’t really through injury apart from taking too many elbows in the nose. I’m hopeful that Matty will be okay.”

Can tonight’s result give you momentum going into Saturday’s match?

“Yes, it probably puts us back in a position where we are quite used to. We have not won many games since we beat Clyde out there. That would have been our last win, not counting the penalty shoot out at Raith Rovers. Obviously in pre-season games you are looking at different things but against St Pauli, Cove, Hearts and St Johnstone we did not pick up a win and that has been annoying us a wee bit, albeit it was just pre-season friendlies. 

“It is a team that’s used to winning. Yes they are back on that and we have another Premiership test coming here on Saturday. Kilmarnock will be up for it, we will be up for it. Derek McInnes is a fantastic manager and he will have his team ready to go because he will be desperate to get through as well. On paper it has the looks of a good game but we feel in a good place. 

“We will have Chris back, hopefully we will have Michael in the squad as well and the squad will be a bit fuller. With a bit of luck Matty will be there. The momentum is there, we are still on the back of a decent run. Okay St Pauli beat us – but they were good though. We are in a good place and we are happy with how things are going. 

“We are aware of what we need to do to improve the squad but like I said, it has to be quality over quantity and that’s the way we will do it. I’m sure everyone will see that, stand by us on that and support us with that because they want to see good players in the black and white strips on out there. There are things going on in the background but that’s my go-to answer all the time.”

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