Manager on ThursdayThursday, 25th Feb 2021
25/02/21: SC - “We need to continue our home form and take that into away fixtures now.”
Reflecting back on last Saturday’s game against Alloa Athletic Stevie Crawford felt that his post match description of winning ‘ugly’ was possibly a bit harsh on his players:-
“I thought we were very good in the first half, we knocked the ball about well in phases of play and scored a really good goal. We had a couple of opportunities to score a few more but I think the timing of the goal that we lost was a sore one at the time. It maybe had an influence on how we felt the first half had gone.
“I thought we started the second half okay but they managed to press us a little bit higher. We didn’t manage to get ourselves into their half of the pitch as much in the second half but that is all credit to Alloa and the way they got about us.
“The pleasing side when we ended up digging in we won the game in that ugly manner to take an important three points. You don’t always win a game of football getting your foot on the ball and playing nice passes all the time. It was a really pleasing aspect to find that side to us to go and take three points to put us back into second place on the league.”
With Queen of the South defeating Dundee and Raith Rovers losing at Arbroath, results on Saturday clearly went Dunfermline’s way. Stevie was relieved that the opportunity to got back above their Fife rivals was not missed:-
“There are times when you come in (after matches) and you kick yourself when you see how results have gone elsewhere. That was important. In the end Alloa threw two upfront and forced us into putting three at the back. That was the way we saw the game going in the latter stages. I said after the game that I thought it was the right call and you are judged on that.”
Plans were disrupted when full back Aaron Comrie went down injured midway through the first half but the manager was delighted by the way Kyle Macdonald fitted into the role:-
“It is pleasing again that there is flexibility to us that we have that option to Lewis Mayo into centre back alongside Paul Watson and Euan Murray. Kyle Macdonald came in for his debut after 25 minutes and, to play in the manner that he did, was a credit to himself.
“From the minute he has walked in the door he has played and trained to 100%. I always say that if you train properly you give yourself a good chance to perform to a good level. I think everybody can see that he is going to have a bright future at the club.”
Newly arrived striker, Craig Wighton also made an immediate impact scoring a goal in both halves of his Dunfermline debut:-
“It was a great feeling for him to score, it gets that monkey off the back right away. He has settled in really well with the boys in training and what is exciting for us is that he is 23 years of age, he is still young for a striker and he is in that in between stage between Declan (McManus), and Lewis McCann and Kevin O’Hara.
“He is a couple of years older than them and is a different type from those three. It is exciting, I said on the back of Ryan Dow picking up the Achilles injury that it is great that the club has backed us to bring somebody of Craig’s quality in. I’m sure that he will have a good impact for us for the rest of the season.”
Next up is a match in Dumfries against a Queen of the South side that has won six of their last nine matches. Stevie had also noted his opponents recent successes:-
“They are one of the in form teams in the league. They have won three, drawn two of their last six. They have had two good away victories up at Inverness and Dundee, and a few weeks ago we saw their 1-1 draw against Hearts on television. It is such a competitive league, it just shows you what a couple of victories can do.
“The pleasing thing from our victory last week was that it put us back into second place. We find ourselves playing Queens who are sitting in fourth and it is another test for us but a challenge that we are looking forward to.
“We went down there last season and won 3-2 so it would be great to go down there and replicate that. It is going to be a tough tough game, Allan (Johnston) and Sandy (Clark) will have them well organised for what we are going to bring to the table.”
QOS undefeated at home this year but Stevie stressed how much
he and the team are looking forward to the challenge they face at Dumfries:-
“I think our home form has seen us win six, draw one and lose one - but the challenge now is for us to try and win more games away from home. We know that it is going to be a difficult game but one where we are hopeful that we can go down there, and if we apply ourselves properly, we will give ourselves a chance of coming away with three points.”
With eleven matches of the league season remaining, achieving results in the five away games is going to play a big part in any success, Stevie continued:-
“I have said all along that we are moving in the right direction as a football club. We have lost three games over the course of the season which I think shows that we have made massive strides again this year and there is a consistency but you are never happy.
“We are delighted with our home form this season and if we can start getting a few more victories away from home, if your home form stays the same, it gives you a chance of finishing as high as possible in this league. It is not to say that we are getting complacent, it is great that we can build on Saturday’s victory against Alloa because they are a difficult side to play against.
“Reading some reports saying Alloa were dominant, it is interesting that in possession the stats show that we had 54% possession. I know that you do not win games of football on that but when I watched the game back, I thought in the first half we were very dominant in the game. The pleasing thing was that we then showed a different side of us to go and take three points.
“The same things are going to be asked of us at Queens on Saturday when we will have to hang in certain periods of the game because it is going to be tough. They are in a good bit of form but we must stick together collectively.
“There were four boys who did not make the squad last week. Those four are capable of starting games so we are in a strong position at the moment and looking forward to what the challenges are for the rest of the season.”
Kyle Turner was one missing from the squad against Alloa, was it because of loss of form?
“I don’t think that it is a case of a dip in form. When I look at the other three players that we had (left out), midfielders Matty Todd and Paul Allan, and big Vytas, an international centre back. He missed out as well.
“I don’t think it is a case of Kyle just missing out on the squad, we had players on the bench at the weekend that we felt fit to come on and have an influence on the game and try and beat Alloa. That is how competitive this squad has become in a short space of time.
“There are challenges out there, players will not be happy when they are not in the squad, players will not be happy when they are not starting but that is probably why we are up competing at the top end of the Championship.
“I want players that are hungry and players who are wanting to try and get into the starting eleven, I want players who want to get on the bench. We are in a good place but we just have to make sure that we don’t get complacent.
“It is competitive. Ayr United are sitting ten points below us and they are in ninth place. Very quickly you can find yourself looking over your shoulder so we need to continue our home form and take that into away fixtures now.”
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