Dunfermline Athletic

Not all sunshine and rainbows

Wednesday, 16th Feb 2022

“It`s more of a learning curve that you`re taking, and it`s a steep one as well. I`ve just got to get on with it but I feel like I`m starting to get used to it,

Lewis McCann knew he had been in a game last Saturday. Describing how Killie “do rough you up” the Pars striker conceded he enjoys the physical side of the game.

“I feel like I`ve sort of showed that in my performances, especially recently, that I`m not scared to get a bit rough and get a bit physical with anyone.
Obviously there`s bits and pieces that I`d like to add to my game, and get a bit more quality here and there, but I definitely came off with a few bruisies and cuts.”

Lewis felt that Dunfermline dominated with their first half performance against Kilmarnock despite going in at half time at 0-0.

“It`s a bit more annoying to lose the game in the second half, especially to go one goal up, to then go and concede two goals. You`ve just got to take it, move on to the next game, and get on with it.”

The two goals that cost Dunfermline the game were scored by Kyle Lafferty - someone that Lewis can look up to with a record of playing 85 matches for Northern Ireland. Lewis has ten caps at under 18 and under 21 for the province and he revealed that he really admired and hoped to follow the 34 year old from Enniskillen into international reckoning:-

“I think he`s a great player. I`ve watched him for a while. He`s technical, he`s big, he`s not scared to get physical and, obviously, we saw he`s got the acrobatic side to things as well. He is just a really good player, and he is someone that I do look up to, and I do hope I can get there one day.”

A belief that Lewis has a future in the game is shown by his manager, John Hughes, who has selected Lewis in every one of his starting elevens and extended his contract at East End Park until the end of season 2023-2024.

The gaffer has also praised his 20 year old striker for leading the line under difficult circumstances, Lewis added:

“At the end of the day, I`m up there by myself and, before the goals, I`ve got to link the play. I`ve got to be physical, I`ve got to make sure the defenders don`t win the ball easily. That`s my first job and then, after that, the gaffer`s said go out, in the final third, just do your thing. Do what you want, express yourself, and hopefully that starts to come out more.

“We’re not in the best position, and it`s like a reality check almost because it`s not all sunshine and rainbows when you make it into the first team. It`s more of a learning curve that you`re taking, and it`s a steep one as well. I`ve just got to get on with it. I feel like I`m starting to get used to it, and long may it continue.

“I don`t think I realised how much pressure you`re under just from the fans` expectations to the gaffer`s expectations, to various coaches` expectations. You`re under a lot of pressure and I don`t think I realised that. Going forward, if I can handle it in this situation, then I could almost handle it in any situation.”

Improvements on the technical side would enhance his game felt Lewis:-

“Just being a bit more confident on the ball, confident in my ability, and being a bit more composed when I go through on goal instead of trying to put my foot through it, and just pass it to a corner here and there.

“I`m doing it every day with the coaches at the training pitch, but it`s just about putting that into a match. Steven Whittaker and Greg Shields are good with it, especially if there`s no goalie. They`ll put a mini goal in the bottom corner of the goal, and none of your goals will count unless it goes into that goal. It`s different drills and various different places; maybe a wee skill and then a shot, or holding someone off, turning and shooting Just trying to get as close to a match day as possible.”

As for his new deal Lewis labelled that a great confidence booster:-

“Knowing that the gaffer is thinking not just for this season, but he`s thinking more for next season and the season after that, that he wants me here.
It`s good to have that feeling and almost have security to the point where I`m not thinking `oh, I`m out of contract this summer, what am I going to do?` It frees up your mind and makes you focus on the actual football side of it.”

There was no lack of focus on Saturday as he was credited with an assist for Steven Lawless’ 59th minute goal at Rugby Park even though he himself termed it an “absolute shank!

“Josh had done all the work for the goal. He`s dispossessed the boy and just put me through. All I`ve got to do is just pass it across for an open goal. It was a good goal all-round to be fair.”

Getting his name on the scoresheet is the desire and Lewis hopes to do that on Friday despite being up against a respected former Pars teammate when Partick Thistle come to Halbeath Road:-

“Right now, obviously we`re not in a great position, but I feel like as a team, definitely we`re playing better football, and I feel like we`re a lot more confident in games than we definitely were before.

“I played a couple of times against Lewis Mayo and he`s a good player. He`s physical, he`s fast and he`s good on the ball. I`m looking forward to the challenge of playing against him. They`ve got a good clean sheet record this year so hopefully we can knock a few past them.

“I feel like it`s a massive game for us to prove to everyone that we are a good team, that we can grind out victories, so hopefully we can get out this position and start climbing the table.”

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