Manager post Raith Rovers

Listen to this James McPake interview

In his post match interview with the press James McPake was in good form as he said:-

“We’re delighted because, last season, it was a penalty shoot-out that put us out this cup, so we knew how important that was. I don’t think either team deserved to win that game if I’m honest. They had spells, we had spells on transition where we looked dangerous, but I think if it was a league game, then walking away with a draw, I probably would’ve been happy, because there were certain things in that game we didn’t do to the level that we’ve shown.

“We’re going to face that week in, week out in our league, but it was a cup tie. We should’ve been more free, more confident on the ball and, for me, it was the simple things that let us down – the five yard pass, second balls, winning our headers. The good thing about that is that it’s stuff that we can work on. Maybe it being early played a part in that. I thought they did that side of the game better, but there was certain things in the game we were better in as well.  I’m delighted it went to penalties, and third time lucky, because we lost two last season, so delighted to get it.”

Plenty positives?

“In terms of character, work rate and togetherness that showed today again that it is still there. They had to do a lot of defending, I thought we defended the box pretty well at certain times. Kyle Benedictus in particular. Other centre backs need to start winning headers and we have told them that but they know that themselves. 

“When you are this early in pre-season I don’t know in friendlies how many teams will put as many crosses into your box or not direct because they are not a direct team, but will ask you questions the way they did today. Maybe that’s on us and work we need to do with the games coming. Normally Ewan Otoo, Rhys Breen and Sam Fisher are excellent at doing that. They showed that last season.

“It’s a mixed bag in terms of positives and negatives. If it was a league games I’d be delighted going away with a point.”

It was a good goal from Lewis McCann?

“He was excellent for me the best player on the pitch in my opinion. Maybe that’s a biased view but I just thought he looked a threat. I think he had five goal attempts in the first half. He has come back in pre-season fit and strong and one thing about him is he is so desperate to do well. When he is like that he is really tough. 

“Keith Watson is a very experienced and good centre back and that would have been a tough game for Keith today as well. He handled him pretty well as well, it was a good tussle but not many people will like playing against Lewis when he is at it. It is up to him now, he has got to be at it like that week in, week out. Even when he is not great, when things aren’t coming off for him he is still a massive threat given how powerful and strong he is. If we can keep him at a consistent level then we have a very good player.”

Do you think it is a big season for Lewis?

“I think it is a big season for everyone, especially at the start. Looking at it, it is a clean slate and last season we are proud of but we need to wipe it away now and move on. They will all be desperate to do well, they will all be desperate to kick on and keep the feel-good round about the club. 

“We know how tough it is going to be going into the Championship. We have a couple of home games now in this cup which we will look forward to because it will bring in a decent crowd. I’m looking forward to getting back on East End and a very good pitch. It is a big season for them all.”

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