Listen to this James McPake interview
“It was a good crowd, good opposition and a very good exercise for our players and we will take a lot out of that in terms of where we are at in pre season.”
They looked a pretty good outfit and a good test for the guys?
“We knew that when they came, they had two good outfits. They put a team on in the second half that was equally as good as the team that played the first half. They moved the ball well, they are a big club that gets 30,000 at home games and we saw from the away support they brought.
“We played Kilmarnock a year ago and we had 1200 fans at it, both Kilmarnock and Dunfermline fans. Tonight we had over 4000 of our own fans here, or around about that anyway, to watch a pre season friendly, albeit it was foreign opposition that brings excitement. I think it shows just how far the club has come in the last twelve months. It is on the back of the success of winning a league, that gets the fans through the door but I don’t think they were let down in terms of seeing a tired Dunfermline team that was going to work hard.
“They have had a really tough week and what we take away from that game is a mentality that even when we are tired, we keep going. They came into the game tired and you don’t normally do this, it is a risk that looks like we got away with – you don’t normally five days in play good opposition like that and give people 90 minutes.
“You could see why they were getting tired. We have been seeing the data all week as to why they would get tired but they kept at it, they played for this football club again through pain. They suffered a lot out there in terms of chasing a ball and when you are tired that is extra hard.
“Coming into that game fresh would have been hard enough doing it in the way we did. I’m delighted we got through it without any injuries. Touchwood nothing develops but I’m delighted with the level of performance and physically that Dunfermline team gave us.”
Will you see the benefit of that in three weeks time when the competitive games start?
“Definitely. It is a risk/reward type thing. Do you risk playing players for 90? We did protect a few like Benedictus and Wighton who came off at half time. Ewan Otoo had a touch of cramp but we were never going to risk them at that point. The young kids that came on were great and it will benefit us as the full week will benefit us.
“We have another day tomorrow and then they will have Sunday off which I think they will be glad about. It has been tough but it needs to be tough when you see the levels they (St Pauli) have got and it would have been interesting to see, not in terms of quality, but physically if they had kept that team on just what would have happened. Not the scoreline, just to the eye could they keep the pressing up?
“I’d maybe say they could because they looked that physically strong but they finished three weeks after us as well. They were an excellent opponent, excellent advert for this football club as well to be in front of that amount of fans. It was a great exercise.”
It was a severe test for the defence and Deniz Mehmet in particular?
“He has done that since the day I walked in the door. He made some great saves and you are not even surprised now when he makes these saves. He is that reliable and he is that calm as well. He makes saves under pressure, he makes saves when he shouldn’t. We needed him tonight or it could have got embarrassing to say the least.
“The boy hits the bar when it would have been a wonder goal. I wish that had gone in to be fair, that was beautiful. Deniz has been great but I think everybody deserves credit tonight.”
It was a fantastic learning experience for the younger players in the side?
“Not so much the level of opponent but playing in that atmosphere as well. It didn’t feel like a friendly and we knew with them coming they had a big backing, we had a big backing so they were going to come out and play.
“Twelve months ago we played Hill of Beath at the Michael Woods, on a public astro. Fast forward twelve months and there are over 7000 fans out there against a fantastic St Pauli team. It is great for the younger boys but great for the senior ones as well. You never tire of playing in good atmospheres or in front of good crowds on a good pitch against a good opponent, particularly in pre season because of course the result doesn’t matter but there is so much to take away from that game.”
Paul McGowan started as a Trialist, is he somebody we could see signed up again?
“I thought he was excellent in the game. He has worked hard all week and like the rest of them, he put a lot of work into that. I’ll see how he is in the morning, if he can walk after chasing them about for eighty minutes or whatever it was!”
It was great to get Ewan Otoo and Kane Ritchie-Hosler back in after they showed last season and again tonight just what they can do?
“Brilliant. I thought Ewan especially, there were times in that game where he was beaten or pressed but it was just the way he was stepping in. You can see that he is used to that, even when he is tired it is maybe something from coming through at Celtic. It is maybe something that we need to not teach but get our players to believe in. Playing under pressure Ewan has been used to that since he was eight years old at Celtic.
“I don’t mean pressure of crowds but just not dismissing the ball stepping in. He was excellent tonight and Kane was excellent as well in the glimpses because it was tough for Kane. He played in the pitch in the first half then you put him to right wing back and there is a fresh left wing back coming on against him. He must have been thinking ‘just give me a break’.
“The thing for Kane to take away from it, when he looked dead on his feet, he got a second wind or whatever and he went again. That mentality, walking away from that showing that even when I’m tired, I have got more. That is what we wanted out of this game and I think we got that it bucket loads tonight, character.”
Where are you with any other signings?
“Working away. Honestly it is non stop, we will get them in tomorrow and see if anybody turns up!”