Dunfermline Athletic

Attraction in distraction role

Friday, 23rd Oct 2020

Paul Watson - “To be fair, I’m happy to be a decoy for Muz! He’s flying at the minute and hopefully that can continue.

Recording a 3-1 win in the first match of the Championship season is more important than ever given the shortened 27 match programme and Pars centre back Paul Watson admitted that everyone in the squad knows that the start is vitally important, otherwise if they were to get too far adrift, they could be left with too much to make up.

After four wins out of four the 29 year old, who was signed from Dundee United in June, hopes that Dunfermline can take the momentum into Saturday’s match against Alloa Athletic:

“It was a great start in the league for us. I think it was important that we got off to a good start and the boys were brilliant, especially in the second half, I thought.”

Paul’s singling out of the second half performances is something that many observers have also noticed, he continued:-

“We’ve started games slower than we would have liked but we’re getting to half time and, on Saturday, we said to each other we hadn’t got going yet. We knew there was a lot more to come. In the second half, I thought we dealt with the game very, very well, so that was very pleasing for us.”

The four wins have been made possible thanks to a significant defensive effort with just one goal scored against them in the last six hours of competitive football. Paul was disappointed with the goal that Inverness Caley Thistle netted on Saturday and in particular the manner they lost it, admitting that he personally thought that he could have done better. Paul was pleased though with the way his Dunfermline team came back to win the match:-

“We’ve been pretty solid so far but a lot more work to be done and hopefully we can keep that going as well. The way we reacted was good, because we’ve not been in that situation yet this season, going one goal down. We reacted very well. I thought there was a real calmness amongst everyone.

“With the quality we’ve got going forward we know we’re going to get chances and we were delighted to take them. With winning that game on Saturday, it will give us a right confidence booster with the run of fixtures we’ve got.”

After the Inverness match Paul required stitches as a result of sustaining a cut on on his forehead with literally the last kick of the game. He quipped:-

“It’s not great, is it? I went up for a header and there was a clash of heads. It burst open and the blood was spraying out a bit! I got seven stitches in there, but hopefully it will be okay for the weekend.”

With defences keeping an eye on the club’s top goalscorer Euan Murray, Paul fancies his chances at set-pieces so his ability to get in headers could be very important.

“To be fair, I’m happy to be a decoy for Muz! He’s flying at the minute and hopefully that can continue. We need to take advantage of the good quality that Dom’s got at set-pieces. The quality of the ball that Dom puts in is unbelievable and I should have scored on Saturday - I missed a bit of a sitter. It doesn’t matter who gets them, as long as they go in.”

Paul pointed out how setplays are such a big part of the game at both ends of the park:-

“It’s something we’ve worked on in training a lot. Thankfully the hard work has been paying off. We look a real threat from set-pieces, which is good, and hopefully that can continue. They are going to have other teams panicking a little bit and overthinking it a bit when we do get corners. It can cause panic and hopefully we can keep scoring goals from set-pieces”

The Pars took only one point off Alloa Athletic in three matches last season and Paul has personal experience of how difficult it is to win there since in his last two seasons at Dundee United they too have struggled, their haul two points from the last four visits. Paul feels that is because Alloa are a good team, especially on their own ground:-

“It’s a very difficult place to go. They’re very good at keeping possession of the ball. I don’t know if that’s something than fans see, but the way they’re set up and the way they keep the ball, it’s very difficult to get after them.

“Sometimes you think ‘oh, it’s Alloa, you’ll overrun them’ because you should have a better squad or whatever, but it’s not the case. They’re a very well-drilled side, with the way they shape up and keep possession of the football. We’ve done a lot of work and we’ll go there full of confidence. We really want the three points.”

One of the biggest challenges facing visiting clubs in playing at the Indodrill Stadium claimed Paul, is the astroturf but there is hope that having used it as a training base this season the home advantage might have been diluted.

“Before it was big and then they made it narrow and now it’s bigger again. It is a difficult surface to play on, I think, but with us training there every day it should give us a benefit.”

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