Club Captain appointedThursday, 18th Jul 2019
Paul Paton is handed the captain’s armband for season 2019-2020 and Lee Ashcroft will be his vice captain.
Paul Paton captained Partick Thistle to the championship title and at Dundee United regularly stepped in for club captain Sean Dillon. Now Stevie Crawford has made him the Dunfermline Athletic captain for the coming season.
The 32 year old felt that as an experienced player who has been about for a while it made him an ideal candidate but it was not a role that he had expected when he was signed on 14th June this year from Falkirk. He said:-
”It makes no difference to me, the way I play or the way I am as a boy, in the dressing room and things like that.
“There is also a pride factor there to be captain of such a big club. I am delighted but at the same time it has to be mentioned that Lee Ashcroft did a great job here as captain. Since I came through the door he has been great with me and with every other new boy.
“I was a wee bit surprised but the manager opted for change. We both respect that and we will both move on. I think it is important for the group of boys that we do move on and pull together for a successful season.”
Stevie Crawford says that one of his main reasons of appointing Paul Paton captain is that he is a midfielder who gets about the park and knows what is expected of him. He said:-
”I don`t think he will go under if games are going against us. Even if he is having a bad game himself, I don`t think it will put him off captain’s responsibilities.
”We are going to have young players on the pitch at certain times this season so I think it is important that he can talk to the strikers, talk to wide players and pull them in and ask them to be a bit more expansive. But also then feedback to the boys at the back as well.”
Stevie also wished to compliment Lee Ashcroft for the way he handled the appointment on Sunday as well.
”I thought the manner and the way he went out and performed, never bringing any attention to it, got on with it and was very professional. He did very well against Danny Mullen and Cody Cooke which was a credit to himself.
”I had a respectful conversation with Lee. I tried to put myself in Lee’s shoes before I had the conversation and explain my reasons. I asked Lee to go away and think about it for a couple of days. When he came back in he was full of respect and wanting to do well for Dunfermline.
”We saw on Sunday what the club means to Lee. It is not easy because, is it something you would like done to yourself? No, but for the good of taking the club forward and I think Lee believes in that as well you get on with it.
”I saw Ian Ferguson come in and do that when Andy Tod was the captain here. It is not an easy discussion to have but probably simikwt to the way that happened at the time, playing in the position that he did, Ian had an influence on us and I just think that Paul will have an influence on the rest of the boys because of the position he played.”
Lee Ashcroft will take over the role of vice captain and, since he and Paul Paton travel daily together to Dunfermline from West of Scotland, it is just as well that both parties accepted the change of armband. Paul explained:-
”I gave Lee a phone call out of respect, I travel with Lee every single day so it was important that couldn`t become a situation. He is such a great guy, he is never going to be a bother and the manager said to us that it might help Lee’s game - kick him on, he is still a young enough lad -to take a bit of weight off Lee’s shoulders.
”No disrespect to Dunfermline but Lee is the kind of player who should be looking to get back at the highest level. That is the kind of defender that we rate him as. You never know that weight off his shoulders might do that.
”Initially I thought I was just coming here to help him in his duties as captain. I am hoping that he helps me because he has a massive respect about the club, massive respect in the dressing room and I need him by my side for the full season.
”He will be like a captain to me. I am wearing the armband but I will be leaning on him as well. He knows a lot more people at the club than I do, he has been here longer he has got my full respect and he is somebody that I trust.”
Even as a player going into his fifteenth season in senior football Paul confessed to being as excited as he has been for a while for a new season. He continued:-
”Especially after Sunday. I am really excited but I know it is only ninety minutes, we can`t get ahead of ourselves but showed enough in those ninety minutes that we can be a good side.
”It was enjoyable and actually caught me by surprise. I didn`t realise, if I am being honest, that we would be such a good threat in attack because we have hardly played a game together.
”Obviously it is important on the pitch that I can drag them in, help them defensively and tactically on the pitch but if we can do that with a real attacking threat, we can have a right good season.
“That was the first ninety minutes most of the boys have had all pre season. A lot of boys have only played 45 minutes in one game, sixty in the others so you don`t really know what you are going to get from a group of young boys.
”It was so encouraging both halves of the game. From my point of view the second half was just as important as the first because it showed a bit of character. It showed that you can dig in. It is fine going forward but if you are going to collapse and end up drawing the game there is no point in that. We managed to see it out and for me that was so important.
”It is only ninety minutes but if we had lost that game at the weekend badly you wouldn`t be too down, you wouldn`t say ’oh no, we are going to be terrible’. It is important that you don`t put too much pressure on a group of young kids and start saying that we are going to be this or that because that would be ridiculous.
”As a team we know our ambitions and we said that we would keep that within the dressing room and just look to progress as a team. It could be an exciting season, it will take a lot of hard work but since the minute that I walked through the door that is all the boys have done.
”They have worked hard. It is probably the hardest pre season that I have every done, certainly that I remember. Anything that we get this season will be well deserved.”
There is a distinct good feel about the dressing room and Paul hopes that the fans come out in force and start backing the new look team.
”It is easy for me to say but you are asking your fans to come out and pay money to come but for a club to progress and kick on we need that financial backing. We hope to have an exciting season and if it is, then the fans will come out in their numbers.
”I just think it is important as captain to ask that to happen, we want the boys to get the best backing possible. We say that we are a big club and we are hoping to act like one.
”It is important that we keep the attacking boys fit, we have good legs and good players to come off the bench. To be a good side you always need to keep you best players fit and that is something that we hope to do. If we have our best eleven on the pitch every week possible, it should be a really exciting team.”
Clearly the two Dundee teams will be the big favourites this season, they have the big budgets but Paul feels no need to fear anyone in the Championship especially after Sunday’s performance:-
“We know that we can score goals, we know that we can grind it out, it is just putting that all together. Keep our expectations in check or at least in the dressing room and hopefully we might surprise a few people this year.”
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