Listen to this James McPake interview
Manager James McPake was disappointed to lose goals to two setplays in the first half.
“In terms of the performance, I don’t think there was much in the game in the first-half. But set plays are hugely important, not just today, I say it most weeks. You need to do your job because they are so important. We give ourselves a real mountain to stay in the game after conceding two set plays.
“The players know that. We’re not going to point fingers because it is a team – we win and lose as a team but you’ve got to do your jobs at setplays. Other than that I’m proud of the players in terms of performance, but proud doesn’t get you points. It’s a real sore one to take.
“Partick are a good team that’s twice we have played them and we played them last season as well. I like Kris in the way he coaches and manages. They are tough to play against, Brian Graham has a massive threat. You see the hunger and desire for him to score every time the ball is in the box. That’s why year after year he scores goals.
“That is maybe one criticism of our team in the first half, we didn’t have too many clear cut chances but there were instances in that half that the killer bit that Brian Graham has about scoring at all cost, just be in the middle of the sticks. That’s not just the strikers, that’s the full team in general. He has got that and he has had that all his career.
“We needed a bit of that and second half that was there. From the minute the second half started I thought we were right on the front foot. We pinned Partick back in, we played some good football.
“Today I thought Ewan Otto’s performance was a top top drawer performance from a young kid. He’s learning the game and it’s his first season at this level. He’s maturing every day in training, he is maturing every week in games and he put that together.
“I said it in midweek and it is certainly not an excuse had we won this game, we are going to get these wee knocks as a group. We wanted to run with the young group, we want to see that progression Ewan Otoo, Matty Todd is now looking like the Matty Todd that lit League One up last year. There is so much in that team that can grow and develop and we are developing as coaches and managers as well.
“I’m bitterly disappointed for the players but really proud of the way they came out at 2-0 down and still continued to play the way we had asked them to. Still on your front foot. People say that’s easy to play when you are 2-0 down. Sometimes it is when the pressure is off but I thought we were doing okay in the first half, the only difference was those two setplays. We came out and took the risks at 2-0 down knowing here if you get beat by three or four it is really bad. Credit to that young group aided by the experienced ones.”
How did the sickness bug affect your selection?
“It did affect us. I had a phone call at eight o’clock this morning from a player and we wish them all the best. There were a couple of staff members – from the football department and other departments in the club as well. That happens and I just wish the players and the staff and their families all the best.
“Sam going off injured, I’m gutted for him and frustrated for him. There’s nothing in it. The boy just stands his ground and Sam runs into him and he was a bit dazed. Credit to the kid, he wanted to go on and in hindsight should we have taken him off but he passed the tests and was adamant he was okay.
“He went up to hospital and we’ll take care of him again. It’s stop-start with him and the good thing is he only missed a couple of weeks. We need to make sure that he is okay with this one.
“The posts kept us out again, Matty’s strike was outstanding and I have not seen the other one back. it looked like it was going in. Look I’m proud of the progression in terms of where we were standing this time last year. We still need to keep winning games, we know that. We had won two in a row and we were desperate to make it three, we haven’t done that in this league yet and we move on to next week.”
Match Report: 16/12/23 – Dunfermline 1 Partick Thistle 2