Dunfermline Athletic

Kyle stresses no easy games in League One

Friday, 5th Aug 2022

KMcD:- “I have played most of my football in League One, I feel like I know the league quite well but I don’t think people realise how difficult it is.

More than half of Kyle Macdonald’s 79 senior appearances have been in Scottish League One, and as such he gave an assessment of the competition. In January this year the Pars full back returned on loan to Airdrieonians, the club he left just over a year before to sign for Stevie Crawford at Dunfermline. His loan until the end of the 2021-22 season, served as a reminder and an update of the standard of football in League One and he predicted:-

“This will be the most competitive League One in all the time that I have played in League One. I have played most of my football in League One, I feel like I know the league quite well but I don’t think people realise how difficult it is.

“The games, like last week, will all be about getting a goal ahead and then you will need to try and see the game out from there. I think it will be tough and I don’t think you will see many teams winning by three or four goals. With Falkirk coming down, they were expected to go right back up but they have struggled in the last two or three seasons.”

For Dunfermline it was important to get off to a winning start against Alloa Athletic in the opening league game and Kyle added:-

“It’s good to get the three points on the board especially after the start we had last season. To get our first win is really important and hopefully we can just kick on from there. Obviously we struggled with getting wins last year so if we can start with a bit of momentum we can hopefully build on that.

“We need to replicate our game on Saturday week upon week and see where it takes us. It was a good performance on Saturday and we were happy to get the win. If we can do that again this week it will be good.”

Kyle hopes that his experience back at Airdrie will make him a better player this season. He explained however how his appearances totalled just six:-

“I started back at Airdrie really well but unfortunately I got injured and that cut into my loan, I was out for three months. I only got back for the second last league game of the season. I played and I scored against Clyde but I hurt my ankle again and it was one of those seasons I just want to put behind me and move on.”

Airdrieonians made the Championship Play Off Final only to lose to Queen’s Park to a penalty in extra time. Kyle feels that if they are anything like the team that they were last year they will be a tough side to play when Dunfermline come up against them at the end of this month. He continued:-

“Airdrie had a really good team last year, they have managed to keep some of the players. I don’t know what they will be like this season but when I went there I was very impressed with some of the boys that they had brought in and the way they were playing.”

Everyone expects every opponent this season to be looking to take league points off Dunfermline and Kyle observed that it was the same for Falkirk when he was at Airdrie and Falkirk dropped into League One.

“Every time we played Falkirk we wanted to beat them and Airdrie’s record against Falkirk was really good while I was there. FC Edinburgh will be the exact same. They have come up from League Two and new to this league as well so it will be good to see how we cope with how they play. There will be no easy games in League One.”

Several eyebrows were raised when FC Edinburgh recorded a good 2-0 win last Saturday over Kelty Hearts, a side they finished 29 points behind last season. Kyle pointed out:-

“They would have played each other last season in League Two. People were maybe expecting Kelty to win that game but you never know, it is a new season and you can never rely on last season’s form. Every team will have new players, some teams will have new managers and teams will be different. It will be interesting to see where everyone is after the first round of fixtures. You will get a better idea of how things are going to shape up after every team has played each other once.

“For us now everything is new but we will just take it one game at a time and look to Saturday to try and do what we did the previous Saturday, pick up three points.”

FC Edinburgh have returned to Meadowbank Stadium but Kyle admitted that he didn’t really know what to expect at the new ground:-

“I have seen a couple of videos of their pitch when they played Arbroath. It will be a lot different from East End Park and that’s what you find in League One. There will be grounds like ours but then you get places like FC Edinburgh, Montrose and Peterhead which are not big grounds.

“I am used to playing at places like that, I don’t know if other boys will be. It is just another game and you cannot have any excuses when you go into games like that. We will focus on the game, we will get a look at the pitch before the game but we won’t be using that as any sort of factor.”

Kyle’s start against Alloa was just his second start in four appearances under James McPake as manager. He has been played in a position higher up the park where he played several times last season:-

“I played there last year when I was here and when John Hughes came in. When Steven Whittaker and Greg Shields were in charge for a couple of games, I played higher up. It is a position I have played before and listen, he can put me in goals if he wants I want to play every game. Obviously I do have preferred positions but if I’m playing every week, which I want to be doing especially in League One, I will be happy and I’m sure the manager will be happy if we are winning every week like we hope to do.”

James McPake’s emphasis on fitness has not worried Kyle in the slightest, since he enjoys keeping himself as fit as he can. He explained if he has not started games how he can often be the last person off the park at the end of matches:-

“If I have not played you will see me out on the pitch after games it is really out of the frustration of not playing. My girlfriend would probably tell you that I cannot go home on a Saturday night if I have not done something. If I have not played she will not want to talk to me or want to see me because I am not that fun to be around if I have not played, not done well or not won. I need to use up energy when I have not played, so Heather was happy that I played last weekend and hopes that continues.”

Kyle has also been called to account by his brother in Australia. Every week he receives phone calls and messages asking when he is going to score. The 22 year old Par netted at Firhill in the first Premier Sports cup match away to Partick last season but to date that is his only Dunfermline goal. Kyle shares his brother’s frustration especially given the number of chances created in recent matches:-

“He is dying for me to get a goal. I’m the same, I’m dying to score. I was getting told last week that I need to work on my shooting. If you are scoring goals and making assists it gets you noticed. You can be playing well but if people just look at your stats and note the number of goals scored, even if I’m playing rubbish if you are scoring goals you attract attention.

“It is definitely something that if I’m playing in this position, that I definitely want to add to my game. Even if I was playing further back there is no better feeling in football than when you are scoring a goal and your team winning. Hopefully I will stick away my next chance.”

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