Manager on ThursdayThursday, 16th Nov 2017
16/11/17: "The big pitch should suit us, it is in good condition and it could have been a lot worse draw
Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston is looking forward to Saturday`s William Hill Third Round Scottish Cup tie away to Queens Park on Saturday. He recalls scoring there in a semi final and his last game for Hearts was in the 1996 Scottish Cup Final. Allan told the media that there is always something special about playing in that competition.
"We want to get off to a good start and there are always tricky ties playing against teams from lower divisions. Playing at Hampden is a big incentive. The big pitch should suit us, it is in good condition and it could have been a lot worse draw."
Maintaining that a lot of the pitches in the lower leagues can be levellers, Allan acknowledged that this is the kind of tie that can be a `cup final` for such opponents and so makes the first goal even more important.
For some of the Pars players it will be their first opportunity to play at the National Stadium and they will be looking forward to it.
"It always makes you feel good if you go there and get a win. We have three big games in the space of a week so it would be good to start it with a positive result and really good performance to take us into the Morton game with a lot of confidence."
Every player wants their Scottish Cup career to take them to Hampden but at the end rather than beginning of the tournament. The manager stressed the importance of a good cup run, the focus on the club and financial boost to the club but added:-
"It is important as well that we put in a good performance, get goals and get back to scoring the number of goals that we were scoring at the start of the season."
Standing up against that will be the usually well organised Queens Park team, one that restricted Dunfermline to a 2-1 home win in last season`s Irn Bru Cup. AJ continued:-
"If teams sit in it makes it really difficult, especially in numbers which I am sure that they will because if you look at their recent results they have lost a few goals. I am sure that Gus (MacPherson) will be desperate to tighten it up at the back to try and frustrate for as long as possible."
AJ pointed out that his side has not been creating as many chances lately and that has made it difficult for the strikers. Nicky Clark has suffered just as much as others and after scoring seven goals in his first five matches this season has only scored one in the last nine. His manager said that it is up to everybody to score goals.
"That is what we need, we need people chipping in with goals from all over the pitch - the centre halves from setpieces, wide players, strikers, centre midfield players.
"We cannot rely on just one personal to score you goals. Over the course of a season I would imagine Nicky will score a lot of goals."
With a rearranged Championship match against Morton coming up on Tuesday and suspensions for Declan McManus and Kallum Higginbotham to be served in that, the majority of the small squad can expect to be involved over the next week.
"The sending offs are frustrating especially when we were on top. You do not want to los players through suspension, especially your big players. They will learn from their mistakes, that happens. Higgy has probably been one of our best players again this year. I`m sure that he will kick on and he has that attitude where he wants to prove to everybody how good he is and he is a winner."
Commenting that the SFA hearings are considering the actions of Falkirk players, Kevin O`Hara and Joe McKee, Allan felt was not an excuse for his players behaviour:-
"That does not explain it. You still have to control whatever is happening in a game and you have to be big enough to handle that. It is something that the players will take on board and move on quickly.
"It is all about getting results. We are the points off the top just now and I think if any team can put a run together it could take you clear of the other teams. That is what we have to focus on, we have a massive few months coming up and we want to be up there challenging."
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