Dunfermline Athletic

Battle of the Talismen

Friday, 28th Feb 2020

Paul Paton - Kevin Nisbet is the real deal but I don’t care who is scoring as long as we’re picking up points.

The Pars captain Paul Paton spent three seasons at Tannadice making just short of 100 appearances but it is that which colours his opinion that Dundee United are the best team in this season’s Championship. He believes, however, that Dunfermline have the league’s best striker in Kevin Nisbet and the fact that he remains at East End Park after being subject to bids in the January transfer window, is a big boost to the Pars play off place aspirations.

“What I take from the league table is that there are a lot of teams quite similar in terms of standards, I don’t think there are many outstanding teams. United are the best team now but that is because they have been so consistent. That is what makes them the best team in the league. You wouldn’t necessarily look at their team and think that they are miles ahead of anyone else but their consistency levels would say that they are.”

The Championship table shows that there is not massive differences between the other sides in the league. Many expected Arbroath and Alloa Athletic to struggle but they are proof that there are no poor teams in the league. Just five points separate the Pars currently in seventh and Dundee in third.

Inverness went to Tannadice last week and did really well, so Paul feels that there is no reason why Dunfermline can’t do well on Saturday when the league leaders come visiting.

A major differentiation between the teams could be the success on the day of the two hitmen Kevin Nisbet and Lawrence Shankland. Kevin has found the net 22 times this season as opposed to Lawrence’s 29 but Paul wouldn’t swap Kevin for anyone:-

“We believe our front four is as good as any front four in the division. I mean that, I think Nizzy is the best striker in the league.

“You’ve got to hand it to Shanks, with his goals, but we feel that, Nizzy is an all-round striker. We feel with him, Jonathan, Dowser, Dom Thomas, Ethan, whoever’s playing, that we have a really good front four. So, if we can get the ball to them more often, we always look as if we’re going to score more goals.

“Don’t get me wrong, I think Shanks is great, he’s brilliant. He’s one of the best strikers in the league, along with Stephen Dobbie as well. It’s no disrespect to Shanks, but we just feel we’ve got the best. We’ve got to be honest with that, that’s what we believe, we believe Nizzy is the real deal - as is Shanks.”

Paul praised the club’ chairman Ross McArthur, for staying strong and turning down big bids.

“We’ve got to say ‘well done’ to the chairman. The manager didn’t want to lose him either but it would have been easy for the club to take in a big chunk of money.

“I just think it’s impossible to replace him with the money we would have got in. I don’t think you can buy a striker for anywhere near that who is going to produce what Kevin Nisbet can produce.

“I think if you lose Nizzy in January, you lose any hope of getting into the play offs. He’s a talisman, he’s a good guy and everyone loves him at the club.

“Hopefully he produces this weekend. He shows it every game, even when he’s not scoring goals. He always looks like a threat, he always runs channels and wins headers. We’re delighted to have him, I can’t speak highly enough of him.”

Paul is also hoping to extinguish the disappointment of Tuesday night with a win over Dundee United

“It is obviously hard when you don’t have a game for so long but I didn’t really think it showed that much in the game. I thought we were the better side, but they did cause us a few problems with the big boy, Jordan White upfront. He is one of the best strikers in the league, a good hold up player.

“Apart from that I felt we dealt with everything quite well. They scored a deflected goal to win it and a free kick that was a dubious freekick. Even then we don’t feel that the ball think crossed the line. It is a hard one to take but we don’t have time to complain we just have to get on with it because we have a big game on Saturday. “

Dunfermline have taken no points from three matches against Inverness Caley Thistle the season a fact that Paul felt was not good enough:-

“They are riding high in second place in the league that is no fluke, they have a good team and a good manager. They are a hard team to play against because they have a lot of good players but we felt we did more than enough on Tuesday night to take something from that game.”

The Pars are seeking a change of luck and hoping that it changes soon but you cannot legislate for decisions like the one for the free kick from which Caley Thistle opened the scoring:-

“We were a bit aggrieved with that. We didn’t feel it was a foul and then I don’t think anybody saw the ball cross the line. That was hard to take as well then a deflected shot for the winner. You could say that we could have been closer to the shot but it is one of those things. Unfortunately we seem to be on the end of such things.”

The Dunfermline equaliser on Tuesday was a stunner from Dom Thomas and the on loan Killie player’s strike earned great admiration from his captain:-

“He’s a good player and he’s come here with a good pedigree. He did well at Dumbarton last season and he’s played a few games for Kilmarnock this season, so we knew what we were getting.

“He’s got that in his locker, we see that in training and he’s a good guy to have in the dressing room. He’s come in and been great banter, he works hard and always has that ability on the pitch as well.”

It is always important for midfielders to find the net and take the pressure off strikers but Paul did comment on being reminded that he had not scored in any of his 27 appearances since joining the Pars for this season:-

“Goalscoring has never been my thing. I’ve scored a couple of good goals in my career - I’ve got 17 - but it’s not something I’ve ever prided myself on.

“I wouldn’t put money on it, put it that way! In recent games I’ve not been very close to scoring, to be fair. It’s not my role but I should probably chip in with a couple. If the other boys are scoring and Nizzy’s scoring, then I don’t care who is scoring as long as we’re picking up points.”

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