Dunfermline Athletic

Manager On Thursday

Thursday, 6th Dec 2018

06/12/18: AJ - “They have Premier League players but we have to make sure that we do our job at the weekend and get the three points that we are looking for.”

Manager Allan Johnston feels that there are plenty of winnable games ahead of his team this month and a great opportunity to try and put a run of results together. First up is a visit to Glasgow to face Partick Thistle, a side struggling to get to terms with life in the Championship after their relegation at the end of last season. In his Thursday media briefing he claimed that Dunfermline cannot afford to drop their standards and need to make sure that the performance is up to the level that inflicted the 3-0 defeat over Morton last Saturday.

“Partick Thistle have good players, they are going to have the ball sometimes, they are a good passing team but we have to make sure that we cause them problems, make sure we make them defend.

“It was pleasing to win last Saturday but scoring goals as well - that has probably been our Achilles heel all season. Hopefully that is us back to scoring goals again. We have been creating chances but it is great to see us being a bit more clinical.

“As I said after the game I thought that first half we played really, really well. Second half became a bit scrappy at times but we restricted them to very opportunities and deserved to win the game.

“It makes a difference when you take your chances. That has been the story all season that we need to improve on that. We were a constant threat up front, we had good energy, good legs and caused them all sorts of problems.”

One of the standouts with the good legs and good energy was midfielder Joe Thomson. The manager praised the closed season signing from Celtic:-

“He was come into the team in recent weeks. He has good energy, he gets about the pitch and is a goal threat as well. I am delighted for him, he is still a young lad and still learning but you can see that he is improving. It is up to him now to keep on churning out performances like that week in week out to make sure that he stays in the team.”

Another important factor from the win over Morton was Faissal El Bakhtaoui getting back on the scoresheet. The manager felt that was just reward for the hard work that the on loan Dundee player had been putting in.

“He has worked incredibly hard, even in training. You can see that he has been improving and getting closer and closer so we are delighted that he has started scoring goals. It was the same in the Ross County game, that maybe doesn’t count as his goal but it was his shot.

“The pleasing thing is that he is getting into position to get shots away. He is a goal threat and it is good to see him get back to the level that he was at before.”

The manager acknowledged that results were not easy to come by in the Championship. Dunfermline would have liked to have had picked up more points but then the teams are all very similar in this league. A win over Thistle would be a good step forward in trying to climb the table.

“We have made it difficult for ourselves with the start we have had to the season. We are not in the position that we wanted to be in, so now we need to start putting a run together and start challenging at the top.”

Evidence of how tight the Championship is that the Pars are only four points off Inverness Caley Thistle in fourth place.

“We have still to hit top form but the pleasing thing is in the games recently we have been creating chances. We have been defending well and we just have to make sure that continues. If we keep playing like that then we are going to score goals - it is only a matter of time.

“Once you start scoring goals that bit of confidence starts to come back and hopefully we can build on the performance at the weekend.”

The gaffer feels that opponents PartickThistle are suffering from the expectations heaped upon clubs that drop down from the Premiership.

“When you still have a lot of those Premier League players you are expected just to walk away with the league. The past has shown that as well, teams that have come into this division find it a difficult division, totally different from surviving in the Premier League to winning the league. It is a totally different mindset.”

AJ admitted that he did not expect Partick Thistle to be in their current position come the end of the season:-

“They have Premier League players but we have to make sure that we do our job at the weekend and get the three points that we are looking for.”

On the injury front things are looking a little brighter. Tom Beadling played the large majority of the reserve game on Tuesday against Hearts and Mark Durnan played the first half of that match. Sean Murdoch has has an operation and has now started his rehab. Louis Longridge, Andy Ryan and Auden Connolly are still out.

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