Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 14th Dec 2017

Happy Birthday to Allan Johnston, no presents please but three points on Saturday will be just perfect.

Speaking exclusively to this website today the 43 year old started of by reflecting on the home defeat to his old club, Queen of the South:

"I never saw five goals coming, especially given the way that we have been defending so it did come as a big shock. We were wide open and a bit naive at times because we try and chase games but we need to make sure that we stay in the game first and foremost.

"Even if we lose an early goal, we have to work our way back into the game. With the players we have got, we will always score goals - in the majority of games this season we have scored goals - so we don`t need to be wide open."

The Pars have only failed to score in five of their 25 matches this season and have achieved eight shut outs, the gaffer feels that there has been plenty evidence to believe that results can improve. He continued:-

"Individually and collectively we have to be a lot better. That was nowhere near good enough and we know that we need to get back on track."

Despite being singled out as the major threat, Stephen Dobbie proved to be Dunfermline`s downfall last Saturday and the manager feels that St Mirren too have one player who stands out as the one who can make a major impact on the outcome of matches:-

"We need to learn the ugly side of the game, we have to defend and it is not all about being on the ball and playing nice passes. You have to be organised defensively and we certainly need to improve on that this weekend because St Mirren have got some really good players none more so than Lewis Morgan.

"I don`t like highlighting individuals but obviously he is a top player. I have been to a couple of the Scotland Under 21 games and he has been by far the best player on the park. I think there will be a long queue for him in January."

The Pars have now gone five matches without a win but last November they went to the Paisley 2021 Stadium on the back of six matches without a win. They won 1-0 and followed that up with a ten match unbeaten run. The manager is looking for a similar turnaround in the team`s fortunes:-

"It is a big game and we have to make sure that we get a reaction. We know ourselves that we let everybody down - ourselves, the fans, everybody connected with the club - so we need to do a lot better. The festive period is always an important part of the season so it would be good to start it with a win."

The gaffer hopes that his players grab the chance to make up for last Saturday and register a win. He is pleased that such a big match against the team sitting second in the Championship has come around so soon:-

"The only positive that we can take out of it is that there is a game coming up so quickly. It is a big game, big atmosphere and we need our big players to step up as well."

Although the Pars won the first meeting with St Mirren by three goals to nil, the Buddies have won four of their last five matches and a win is badly needed to prevent the nine point gap between the sides growing even larger. AJ claimed that they were desperate for a win:-

"We have said for a number of weeks that we need to get back on track. We are looking for a really good performance but we are looking for the points even if we have to grind it out because we need to keep in contact with the top teams."

This week`s training has been disrupted by the extremely cold weather and training has taken the squad to Toryglen in Glasgow and they will be at the Oriam in Edinburgh on Friday:-

"It is wherever we can get, it is difficult at this time of year because the ground is solid. It is a wee bit makeshift but it will be the same everywhere.

"There are a couple of players with a few niggles but we are hoping that the majority will be fine for the weekend. Andy Ryan has started joining in training but he has not done a full session yet. It is good that he is on his way back. Otherwise we are looking pretty strong."

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