Dunfermline Athletic

Greg Shields Post Burntisland

Wednesday, 7th Aug 2019

Reserve Team Coach reveals his thoughts after 5-0 win at Burntisland

Greg Shields was pleased with his reserve side’s victory over Burntisland Shipyard on Tuesday, he told this website:-

“I think overall it went really well. It was a game where we probably had 75% possession which is slightly different from previous games at Kelty and Hill of Beath. The Crossgates game was similar where we still had a really young squad out.

“Some might say that it was an experienced squad, it was not really. The only two players with experience in that squad were Tom Lang and Danny Devine. They had a bit of backing with Cammy Gill there in goal but the rest are very young in their development. Stuart Morrison, Matthew Todd and Paul Allan have been involved in a few first team games but the others were relatively young. So that was pleasing.

”We had the challenge to break them down. We were playing into a wall all the time and had a lot of offsides. It is tough as coach standing watching because you can identify where they are going wrong but it is very hard to get information on until the half time.

”Half time came at a good time for us. We had the majority of the ball but it was really just a game for playing in pockets with wide players tucking in and the full backs getting high. Matty Todd was getting far too high alongside fifteen year old Quinn Coulston. I needed to get hold of them and say ’this is what I want you to do’.

”Half time couldn`t come quick enough because they had a couple of chances just before the end of the first half through our mistakes.

”We went out for the second half and scored two goals within five minutes and Matthew Todd was part of it. We got the information to Matty, he understood it.

”It wasn`t a game for holding the ball up, it was a game for coming off the player and trying to get a half turn to go forward. I thought we had been too direct in trying to get in behind. Certainly in the second half we looked very very dangerous going forward and with the pace that we broke it was excellent.

”The pleasing piece was towards the end of the game when we went down to ten players when the trialist we played came off with a dead leg. We played the last fifteen minutes with a very young team out, stacked with 03 players. I took a lot out of that because it was the first time a lot of them had been out there - Brogan Walls and Miller Fenton.

”We have a first team squad but we are trying to create a structure that has something behind that and something behind that. That is the structure that we are trying to create here, style that we are trying to implement from the Academy, in the reserve team group, into the first team group.

”I think we are getting there, that is the pleasing piece, boys can come on and adapt. They scored two goals which was excellent.”

The Burntisland team contained two former Pars in Jonny Galloway (above centre) and Robbie Crawford (above left) and that was a special factor:-

”I said to Josh (Edwards) you are playing the gaffer’s son, I will let you decide whether you kick him or not! It was a good game for us since it had been two and a half weeks since we last played against Crossgates.”

The lack of a reserve team fixture last week possibly worked against Pars centre back, Danny Devine who is seeking match fitness following surgery. He played 45 minutes against Crossgates and followed that up with an hour against Burntisland.

”He wants to play in as many games as he can before he can push for the first team. It puts him back a little but whether he is ready or whether he is not? He is probably a little one game out from being back in contention. It is credit to him because he has come back really quick and has done well.”

Greg confirmed that there will be one more friendly away to Dundonald Bluebell on Tuesday 13th August (kick off 7.00pm) ahead of the SPFL Reserve League kicking off on the following Monday. That first league match against Queen of the South will be played at Hill of Beath’s home ground with a 2.00pm kick off.

Looking further ahead the home reserve league games are planned for Tuesday afternoons at New Central Park, Kelty. The reserves will be fielded for Fife Cup Final which will be played at East End Park on Tuesday 27th August.

”There is a run of games coming up for them now which is great because there are a lot of fringe players in and out of the first team that need games plus it is great for the younger boys seeing the older ones coming back in, doing so well and playing like they are playing a first team game.

”That is pleasing. I have been involved with a lot of teams before when the older boys come back their heads are not really in it. Now because of the competition for places they want to play. They can see how well the first team are doing and they are desperate to get in there.”

It is hard to keep players happy with game time but Greg views the flip side of that:-

”If they are not happy and they don`t want to play that is difficult. There will become a time like that because it is part and parcel of coaching. That is what we have to do really well and try to manage players properly. I think if you manage them right you will get the respect from them.”

Matthew Todd (above) has been yearning for involvement having been an unused sub in the Betfred Cup matches but was the first substitute committed in Friday night’s Championship match against Dundee. Greg was delighted for the eighteen year old:-

”He was excellent against Crossgates but other players who were out came on later and boys came on before him. Sometimes the game tells you what to do.

”It was like that against Burntisland, a team can have the better of halves. Man City were excellent against Liverpool at the weekend with 65% possession but the game swung in the second half and it was like 72% possession Liverpool. Every team is going to have its little spell in the game and it is important to take your chances in that spell.”



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