Dunfermline Athletic

Pars paraskevidekatriaphobia

Sunday, 15th Aug 2021

Dan Pybus:- “It was a good experience but I will remember it for the wrong reasons.

After a 5-0 defeat at Ibrox on Friday evening it would be understandable if the Pars admitted to paraskevidekatriaphobia and to save you pasting that into your favourite search engine, it is the word for those who fear Friday the thirteenth. Maybe it’s just as well there is only one Friday the thirteenth in 2021.

The last Friday 13th fixture for the Pars was a pre season friendly played at Mierlo in Holland in July 2001. Twenty years ago the date proved to be loaded with just as little luck as Jimmy Calderwood’s side went down 4-0 to Romanian champions, Steaua Bucharest.

His start against Rangers was just midfielder Dan Pybus’ second for Dunfermline and it was his first time playing at Ibrox Stadium. He admitted:-

“It was a good experience but I will remember it for the wrong reasons. Before the game we knew that it was going to be hard, we needed to react from last weekend and to be honest we probably got off to the worst possible start - conceding in two minutes. It is not the best time to concede in any game, especially there. Then the heads went down, the second went in and then third went in and it was just not good enough from everyone.”

From the very start Rangers were fired up and launched an all out assault on their visitors’ defence. Losing a goal so early in the game, Dan felt was just “shooting yourself in the foot”. Dunfermline have made 39 trips to Ibrox since their last win there in April 1972, proof if it was ever required that there is a long record of it being an uphill task when going to play Rangers away. More like Parsibroxphobia perhaps but on this occasion Dan felt that the team just didn’t do itself justice:-

“The scoreline reflected that at half time never mind at full time. The first 45 was not good enough from the team’s point of view. For the fans who had travelled not good enough for them or for the club. Second 45 was a bit different, we defended a bit better but still didn’t look after the ball anywhere near good enough. You just get punished.”

No surprise then that Dan confirmed manager Peter Grant was very unhappy at the interval:-

“I’m sure everyone watching the game who was a Dunfermline fan wouldn’t have been happy, which was understandable. We changed formation, went with a back four and personally I think that we were a bit more solid although still not good enough. It was a lot better than the first half but I don’t think that we could have got any worse.

“Obviously it is great playing there, everyone knew that it was going to be hard but we still expect as a team, as a club, as individuals to put on a better performance than we did.

“It is great to play there against the champions but you don’t want to be going there and getting beat 5-0. It is embarrassing, it is not good enough so it is disappointing. You could say it is good experience but it is not a good experience because you have just been thumped 5-0.”

Dunfermline are unlikely to be playing against international players of the calibre of those at Rangers but as Dan and his teammates turn their focus on the next match away to Raith Rovers on Friday night he continued:-

“We have to dust ourselves down because next Friday is massive. I know that it is only the third league game of the season but it is a derby. It is away and it is a chance for us to get going and kick start the season.

“We owe the fans one now after the first three games of the season and at the same time, we go out tonight and now we can really focus on the league. Hopefully that kick starts this Friday and we can start putting wins together soon.”

In five matches against Raith last season Dunfermline won one, drew two and lost two. The 23 year old Geordie understands how important the derby is for the fans and the boost it can give the community:-

“Everyone wants to win a derby and that can kick start the mood in the whole town never mind the football club if you go and win the derby. As a team I think it is for us just performing well, getting the three points and kick starting the season.”

Apart from his 90 minutes against St Mirren and Rangers in the Premier Sports Cup Dan Pybus’ other five Dunfermline appearances total just 103 minutes on the five occasions that he has come off the bench. Nevertheless he felt that playing the full match at Ibrox proved that he was up to match fitness:-

“I don’t think you will get a tougher ninety minutes than that! I was happy to get through the ninety fine and I’m sure a lot of other boys were. To be honest with you I was going to say physically not as hard as what we would be used to in our league but everyone knows that our league is frantic. It is a hundred miles an hour and we want to play with the intensity where we are in people’s faces from the word go.

“It is a good fitness for everyone but off the ball we were nowhere near good enough and on the ball nowhere near good enough.”

Trying not to dwell on the hurt felt on Friday, Dan agreed that there was much to learn from it:-

“If you look at the team, it is probably a young team on paper and you learn that you cannot afford to lose a goal at Ibrox in the first two minutes. Then we were 3-0 down by twenty minutes and that all stems from the first two minutes.

“You have got to stay tight for the first ten to twenty minutes, weather the storm and then it settles down a bit. It is a learning curve definitely but then maybe last week was a learning curve, maybe Morton was a learning curve but it’s not good enough. We need to stop learning and start performing and that needs to happen this Friday.”

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