Manager post Ayr United

Listen to this James McPake interview

James McPake gave his reflections after the 1-0 home defeat to Ayr United, he told the media his feelings were that of frustration and disappointment:-

“Off the back of a really poor performance in Glasgow against Partick Thistle, that was another one – certainly in the first half. For me it was just as bad or worse than anything we saw through there. It was really frustrating and we are really disappointed.”

What were your thoughts behind the double substitution just 32 minutes into the game?

“Something had to happen. I have already apologised to Joe (Chalmers) and Hammy (Chris Hamilton), I wouldn’t say they were the worst players in the team – it could have been anybody. It was that kind of situation where it looked like we could be going in at three or four (down) at half time just the way they were cutting us open. We had to try something to get a different shape and go with different personnel on the pitch just to try and get a foothold on the game. 

“I don’t like doing that. Those two in particular have been excellent for us since we came into this football club and they will continue to be that. It was purely just to try and do something in the game. It wasn’t to try and be clever and hope to go and win this game. 

“Regardless if we got ourselves back in the game if the chance goes in. It was a world class save from the goalkeeper for the second one, we probably should still have scored from it and go on and win the game. When we come up people would have been saying it was a great change. It wasn’t a great change, it was just to try and get something to happen in the game and I do feel for those two. We took the gamble, we made that decision that’s all it was.

It seemed to steady the ship?

“We got a wee bit of a foothold on the game, second half we were better. That’s no consolation to me. I speak through the week and I think the last thing we said to the players before they went out ‘no matter what happens out there, we need to get a performance’. You go out, you perform and I’m not just saying this because we lost the game – you go out, you get your performance levels and then we will come in at the end and say ‘well done’ at the end regardless of what happens. That’s been the consistent message since the day we came in.

“It is only by being consistent in your work rate and your performance that you win games of football over a long period. Especially here, we know what these fans can be like when we get them going, I just think today was really disappointing because we never even gave the fans a chance to get into the game. It would be boring and nervy for them because if Josh (Edwards) had worked the goalie early on or scores. Even if the goalkeeper had saved it, I think the place erupts and five or ten minutes of pressure and they are right behind us. That would have given us that lift but we never even did that today. 

“We have a crowd here that’s desperate to get behind us but when you see a first half like that you fully understand why they are booing when you are walking down the tunnel because it is nowhere near acceptable.”

Was there any sense of rustiness because you have not played for so long?

“No, I know people might say that’s an excuse but Ayr United never played last week, we had an extra week but there are no excuses for the way we played that game and the way we started that game. We should have been 1-0 up yeah, but even then if you work the goalkeeper and get the place going but then we do the opposite by taking chances at the back. 

“That’s on me and Dave because we are asking them to build (from the back), we are asking them to play but they also have to make the right decision at the right time. Carry it out properly and don’t put your goalkeeper under pressure, don’t do things like that. We didn’t do that and all of a sudden you have five thousand plus fans nervous, you have ten players on the pitch nervous, people on the side nervous when you just want to be calm and get a foothold somehow in the game. 

“It might take a wee while and you might go direct for five or ten minutes but they have got to recognise that. That’s what we need to work on and that’s what we will start working on next week. The good thing, and I hope this doesn’t come back to bite me, we are going into a derby. There will be a good atmosphere and we are ready for that but on the flip side if we perform like that, then it could be anything next week against a team that is really on form.”

Ian Murray and John Potter were here, maybe they will go away thinking it is going to be easy next week?

“Watching that first half, any manager would go away like Partick Thistle in that first half any manager would go away (confident). Thankfully we know that is not the case, we know what we have got in that dressing room and we will stand by that. Let’s be honest, myself, Dave and the rest of the staff we deserve as much of the blame for today as the players. Collectively as a group we will get back together, we have had hurdles before, we have had challenges before and we have come out fighting. That’s what is going to happen next week.”

What was the thinking behind bringing Deniz Mehmet back?

“It was really tough, Harry is somebody I have a lot of respect for as a goalkeeper. As a young goalkeeper I have known him since he was sixteen, I gave him his debut at the other club but the season that Den had last season, just the way he brings a calmness to the team and let’s be honest he broke all records at the football club last year, he was our best player. I thought he did well in the game, he made some really good saves and it was just a decision we made.

“The same way that we decided not to start Sam Fisher which was different in a way because he hadn’t trained for ten days. Even then I’m second guessing myself at the time, not risking him and then putting him on after 32 minutes. It could have really backfired on not just the football club but Sam because he had not trained for ten days, he was probably not ready to play 70 minutes of a game. 

“The one thing I will say about him, when he came on he was a shining light. Sam had a poor game at Partick but today we saw the Sam Fisher we are all used to. His passing was excellent his defending was good and he calmed it a bit when you are looking for your midfielders to calm the game. 

“Deniz, Fisher and McCann were the ones today that you could hang your hat on for that performance. The rest well I don’t think anybody can chap the door next week if they are not playing in the derby.”

Was Paul Allan’s introduction a tactical move?

“To be fair when Paul came on he calmed it as well. You saw that and since we first came in Paul was excellent for us. He got that injury that we didn’t handle quite right as a football club at the time. It backfired on Paul’s career because it took him a while to get back. I still have a lot of faith in Paul Allan as a footballer, he scored the winner against Airdrie when he came on and did that here. We brought him on because we needed to get a hold of the ball so we brought him on because Breeny wasn’t feeling right at half time. That was the reason Rhys came off, he was sick. I thought Paul came on and got hold of the ball. People will say bravery is Lewis McCann running away and sliding. Yeah that’s brave and you have to do a lot of work but bravery is also when there’s people shouting and wanting the ball to go forward. Taking the ball under pressure and Paul is excellent at that.”

Match Report: Dunfermline 0 Ayr United 1

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