Dunfermline Athletic

Murray’s match point - man up on the pitch

Monday, 13th Jan 2020

“We need to find a formula that is going to win us games and need to do that quickly.”

Everyone was delighted to see Euan Murray start on Saturday against Morton. It was his first start since incurring a serious spinal injury at Palmerston Park in the final minutes of the second Championship match of the season.

Pitched into the side in a midfield role everything was all going ever so well for 25 year old signed from Raith Rovers in the summer when he opened the scoring midway through the first half. Unfortunately goals either side of half time handed the initiative to Morton and the Pars lost another before Kevin Nisbet hit a special from a free kick but too late to alter the result.

Euan spoke frankly about his disappointment with the result only tempered by the satisfaction of being back on the pitch.

“For me it has been a long road to come back. We started the game really well but ultimately my goal doesn’t mean anything and I would swap it for three points.

“The game plan was working. We went a goal up and for whatever reason we just seemed to get a bit rattled. They probably went a bit more direct and came out and pressed us a bit more. That is something as a footballer you need to live with and need to deal with it especially at a big club like this.

“After we scored there was a period where the game started to get a bit erratic. The ball was going out for throw ins but there is no point in making excuses about anything. We lost bad goals and if you lose bad goals at this level you are not going to pick up points.

“When they scored the first goal we seemed to go into our shell a wee bit. It is just frustrating and the way the game went in the second half we didn’t really come out in the second half at all. That is down to the players and it is something that we have to put right.”

The game plan placed Euan into a midfield role. It is a role that he has played at his previous clubs and so he felt comfortable starting there:-

“It was obviously going to be an ask after five months out to come in. I have not played there for a couple of years but I felt I did alright. Especially in the first half I was getting on the ball and getting up.

“If you look at the conditions they probably suited being a bit more physical but I would back myself to be decent on the ball. Certainly when I am at my sharpest I would back myself to get up and down.

“I have played all over the place and keep myself as fit as possible. I feel powerful enough and with my goal I have managed to get in there at the right time after making a decent run to stick it away.

“We have a number of good players and it is good that there is competition. Me coming back in will maybe shake a few people up as well. It is healthy like that but we need to find a formula that is going to win us games and need to do that quickly.”

Euan speculated when asked if there was a confidence problem in the squad:-

“It could be. We have a young squad, a squad that has been put together after massive changes over the summer. You cannot have that as an excuse for losing football games.

“It needs to mean more, not that it doesn’t mean everything to everyone but you can’t have low confidence or going into our shells if we lose a goal. Every one of us needs to man up on the pitch. It is nothing to do with coaching staff, you cannot go under if you lose a couple of goals.

“Teams will look at us now and think that’s the way we are. We are the only people who can correct that. It is something that we are going to have to do to take us out of this rut.

“The way this league is, if we can put a couple of decent results together you can be back up there in contention for play offs. For us now there is no point in even thinking about that, it is just about the next, stopping this rut and getting back to playing the way we should be.

“The boys will probably feel that we are repeating ourselves by saying that but it is not good enough and we know that. We need to look at ourselves rather than anything else. It is down to the players, we are prepared in the best way possible every week.

“It is a good group and everyone wants to do well. There is not one person in that dressing room who doesn’t want the best for this football club. It is a massive club and it hurts me. I have come here to try and be successful but I feel for the fans going away after watching a decent first half only to go under in the second half.

“We just need everyone to stick together at the club because it is a young squad that we have got. That is not an excuse, there will be periods where it is up and down but me and the other experienced ones in there must fight for each other.

“A few weeks ago we were winning three in a week, we were unbeaten at home so it can change very very quickly. For us it is about how quickly we can flip that and get back to winning ways.”

In his comeback game Euan felt great in terms of fitness and lasted well until he made way for Kyle Turner eighteen minutes from the end:-

“I probably tired the last five minutes on the park. I took a slack touch at one because I was probably leggy at that point.

“To come back in midfield I really enjoyed it. I have not played there for a few years but that competitiveness where you are involved all the time, having to make tackles and passes all the time. Getting a goal and competing the way you do is something that I enjoyed.

“Whether it is something that we will do going forward I don’t know but it is just great to be back out there. It is great to be back out there playing, it is that competitiveness I miss and what I thrive on.

“I was a long long time out and not being involved. As much as it hurts and the result is disappointing, from a personal point of view I am just delighted to be out there.”

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