Reflecting on SaturdayTuesday, 20th Aug 2019
21/08/19: SC - “We have had a couple of moments when we hit them on the counterattack. It was great that the game plan went the way that we had hoped.
When he looks back on the Pars exit from the Betfred Cup Stevie Crawford he recognises the disappointment but feels it is not to be dwelt upon.
“At the end of the day it is just a game of football but we can take the positives from it. The lift for the boys is to know that they went to Parkhead with a youngish squad and competed.
“They will take heart from that and the experience, the work rate and commitment can now hold us well for the remainder of the season.”
The Dunfermline manager credited his players for their Celtic Park performance. Naturally to get back into the tie through Tom Beadling’s 77th minute equaliser it came at a good time:-
“We could leave the two upfront and have a go, you have earned the right. If they open you up at that point and score the goal, that is totally different from our game plan in the earlier part where we tried to frustrate them and look to hit them on the counterattack.”
The pleasing thing for Stevie was that his game plan worked but he was relieved not to lose an early goal:-
“That is a question that wasn’t asked of us, and I have seen that happen when teams go to Ibrox and Parkhead, there was an element of the ball falling our way on Saturday but we needed that.
“In terms of filling the goal and forcing them down in the wide areas, dealing with crosses we have had a couple of moments when we hit them on the counterattack. It was great that the game plan went the way that we had hoped.
“That brings a bonding between the players and the coaching staff because then they get a belief. It is still credit to the boys who went over that white line to carry that game plan out with their own take on it as well. They very much did that on Saturday.
“As I said after the game in one of the interviews that some of the conversations I had with Greg and Jason were quite heated and I don’t know how they put up with me last week. We are passionate about our job, passionate about the club and at the end of the day when you are the manager you are responsible for the players going on to the park that it doesn’t dent them.
“That wasn’t looking at it in a negative way. We spoke about the problems that would occur if we gave up the ball in the wider areas. If they put the ball in the box, they have the quality with their wide players to pick somebody out with a cross against any opposition.”
Having played Dundee on the Friday night, Stevie watched Celtic against St Johnstone in their first league match of the season. He noted how they were cutting St Johnstone open with Ryan Christie, James Forrest and Mikey Johnston creating the greatest problems. He continued:-
“If we were going to concede on Saturday it would come from crosses or an absolute worldy from about 25 or 30 yards. Ryan Scully has pulled off some quality saves and boys were in for rebounds and filling the goal.”
The Pars coaches returned to watch Celtic’s Champions League match against CFR Cluj and soaked up advice in a conversation with former Dunfermline striker Owen Coyle.
“He said that when you go to Parkhead, if you lose a goal you still have a chance. You stick to your game plan and your beliefs. If it goes to 2-0 you have a decision to make about when to open up and if it goes to 3-0 you are as well packing your bags and just hoping that’s the way it finishes.
“He was true to that because at 1-0 down we still had that opportunity. That’s why we were delighted that with the composure of Andy Ryan to pull it back. Tom Beadling having the energy to get up into the opposition penalty box, even though he had done a lot of work like the rest of the boys. It was very pleasing that they carried it out.”
SC has been aware of people saying that in the team’s second half performances are not always been as good as their first half, he commented:-
“We are trying to look at trends to try and make us better but in the main it has been the opposition changing their game plan or formations and they have come out feeling that they have to up their performance levels because of where we have been at in the first half.
“Saturday’s performance will give our players heart. We have gone out conceding an unfortunate goal that Mikey Johnston didn’t mean. Then we have galvanised the boys together to go on and score a goal at Parkhead against the team that has won umpteen leagues in a row. We will very much take heart out of that.”