Dunfermline Athletic

Coaching a team effort

Wednesday, 4th Nov 2020

In a world full of restrictions, stealing good ideas is not included

Stevie Crawford is not short of advisers when it comes to discussing how games have gone and what tactics might be deployed. To his management team of Jason Dair and Greg Shields, he now has added Steven Whittaker and Owain Fôn Williams to call on for input. Stevie this week claimed that Steven has brought a freshness and is very much a big part in the conversations that they have.

The 36 year old Scottish internationalist who joined Hibs twenty years ago made 174 appearances for them before Rangers paid £2m for him in August 2007 and subsequently played in England at Norwich City.

In July 2017, Whittaker re-joined Hibernian on a three-year deal making a further 69 appearances for the capital side before being released in 2020 and signing for Dunfermline as a player/coach. The Pars boss said:-

“Out of all of the coaches he has played at the highest level. He has won things and played in major finals but he is very humble about it. He has brought ideas that he has picked up at other clubs. It is not just a case of saying ‘go and give them that’.”

At the start of the season it was a Friday afternoon when the coaches got their heads down to work on their strategy but now the season is up and running and they have analysed the opposition, they discuss on a Monday what they are going to do on the Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

“It is a group effort, 100%.” said Stevie. “Over the coaching courses that I have done and over my career whether as a player, manager or coach, I have always wanted to listen. There is nothing wrong with stealing people’s good ideas or good experiences.

“Steven’s generation gap, along with Jason, Greg’s and my own ideas keeps a freshness. It also lets you progress as a football club. Steven has a very good knowledge of the game - he has played down in England in the Premiership, which I hadn’t experienced. It is great to steal some ideas from him, he brings that to the table and long may that continue because it is the players who benefit in the end.”

Goalkeeping coach, Owain Fôn Williams with over 400 senior appearances between the sticks, is a keeper with a vast amount of experience including being a member of the Wales squad that reached the semi-finals of UEFA Euro 2016. Owain comes back for the Monday planning meeting as well and Stevie added:-

“With myself, Greg, Jason and Whitts, we talk and Owain works on what he is going to be giving the goalies in the working week ahead. In modern day football as you saw with Paul Gallacher at Hearts, goalkeepers go on courses where it is not just a case of working on goalie’s stuff as in shot stopping. There has been an introduction now about playing out from the back.

“Goalkeeper coaches are now encouraged to try and play out in certain styles and in different ways. When we are talking about things not aimed just at goalkeepers, Owain will have an input. A guy of his experience has valuable information to pass on to us.”

Several former Dunfermline players have gone on to take on managerial positions, some very famously and Stevie would not rule out Steven Whittaker becoming another, he added:-

“Steven will know himself what pathway he wants to take but he has shown in discussions over the summer, that he still wants the responsibility of playing football. He still enjoyed that side but he wanted to dip his toe into the coaching side. When I was speaking to him I could tell that he was serious about it.

“Steven has done some of his badges, he has done a management course, he is very level headed and he will work out what is for him - a manager, an assistant or just a coach - but Steven will definitely have a good future in the game. We are benefiting from it at this moment in time but I’m sure that a lot of young players will benefit from listening to Steven in future years.”



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