Dunfermline Athletic

Pars have mettle to galvanise a home win

Friday, 23rd Aug 2019

“I don’t think I’d have made penalties if I’m honest - I was like a tin man!

Dundonian Ryan Dow was just seventeen when he signed a professional contract with Dundee United in July 2007 and he was to be there for nine seasons before moving on to Ross County. Prior to all that he had come through the club’s youth set up so it is no surprise that the league fixtures against United were the first he was looking for when they were released.

“Obviously it was for both Dundee teams but this is one I’m really looking forward to. I started playing at Dundee as a young boy but I moved to United and ended up getting a season ticket at Dundee United. Then when I went full time you just play and don’t really support anyone after that.”

Ryan (no.22 in picture above) enjoyed some really good times while at United coming through from their youths to eventually play for them in two cup finals. Playing in the same team as his current skipper Paul Paton, Ryan made it to the 2014 and 2015 Scottish Cup Finals and lost on penalties to Hibs in the semi final of the 2016 competition. He added:-

“We probably should have won a trophy in those years when we were in cup finals. It never worked out that way. When they come on Saturday it will be with a completely different playing staff and coaching staff, I don’t think there will be that many familiar faces. Hopefully I will not feel too bad if we beat them!”

Since the Betfred Cup game at Celtic Park last weekend, the Pars players have been looking forward to taking that kind of performance into Saturday’s match against the Championship leaders. Ryan continued:-

“It’s another hard game and there’ll be another big crowd. I’m sure they will bring a big crowd down and obviously our fans were unbelievable on Saturday. It will be a good atmosphere to play in.

“I think everyone saw from the noise they made throughout, even when we went a goal down and just how much it helps when you are a goal down at a place like Parkhead when you’ve got them supporting you. It gives you that extra yard when your legs are starting to go.”

The 28 year old midfielder expects to get friendly abuse from the fans of his old club. Maybe no surprise since Ryan played against them twice when he was with Ross County and won both times, 6-2 in the Scottish Cup and 1-0 in the League Cup.

“It is a former club and it was a few years ago now. I will be going out there to win and hopefully score like I did against Dundee as well.

“The pressure is on both Dundee clubs this year, with the players that they have got, the players they have brought in and the budget which I don’t know for sure but I’m sure is a lot more than most clubs in this league. It will be a good gauge.

“I thought we completely dominated Dundee for the first half and the penalty right on half time changed it and gave them a lift. But it shows that if we play our best, we can cause teams like Dundee and United problems.”

Dundee United have been out of the top flight now for three years and Ryan acknowledged that for such a big club that creates its own problems too:-

“When I played for them you get a big away support, a big home support and it brings pressure - brilliant when you are winning but when you are not winning it is not nice. If you are two goals down in front of a big crowd then we need to play that to our advantage and let their big crowd turn on them.

“I think you can see that with any big club at the moment. If things are going well it is brilliant, if it is not going well it can spin into a positive for the opposing team. That is what we will be trying to do, put them under pressure as much as we can.”

The Pars have shown that they can be a threat against teams in the Championship and showed so far this season that the team is an attacking threat and going forward they can score goals.

“We’ve been quite attacking and have been pressing teams, especially against Dundee, where we were right on the front foot, but we couldn’t do that against Celtic. We had a trigger for when we were going to press and it showed a different side. It showed how flexible we can be.”

There were a number of positives to take from the Celtic game. Dunfermline were well organised as a team because they had worked all week on a game plan and it worked. Ryan felt that it was hard to accept defeat after getting so close to taking the cup tie to penalties.

“It was a daunting task to go to Parkhead because in two games they’ve played in the league , they’ve scored 12 goals

“We got the first 45 minutes out of the road, defended well and we had a chance to even go 1-0 up. It gives you a wee lift and obviously the second half plays out with them getting a lucky goal and we got the equaliser.

“When you look back at it, we made a good account of ourselves it is just hard luck that we never got to penalties and then it is a lottery. In extra time I did start thinking where am I going to put this penalty but it was one of those things.

“I don’t think I’d have made penalties if I’m honest - I was like a tin man! I was alright in the ninety minutes and then in the first 15 of extra time but it went kind of quick.

“When we started the second half of extra time, I don’t know if it was the minute or two stopping again, but my legs seized up. I don’t think I was the only one but there was only one sub left and I think every boy was looking over to see who was coming off because a few were struggling. Then a couple of minutes later the goal goes in.

“All the boys had put in such a big effort and you saw that with distances of the ground we’d covered when we came in on Monday.”

Players had covered 10 kilometres and some even 15 kilometres during the game. Saturday certainly demonstrated fitness and that they can do the nitty gritty by sticking together. Ryan just hopes a result can be added to that this Saturday:-

“If we can keep that shape and work rate, I think we will be hard to break down. You are going to have more of the ball against the teams that you are playing against in the league because you are not going to be playing against Celtic every week!”

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