Dunfermline Athletic

Route to progress for club and country

Wednesday, 10th Feb 2021

“I look at those players and look at what they’re doing and where they’re heading in their careers.

Rangers Lewis Mayo is enjoying the experience of being out on loan at Dunfermline and he hopes that his season at East End Park can progress both his career at Rangers and at international level with Scotland under 21s.

The centre half who began his loan spell with the Pars in September 2020 has started nine of the club’s fifteen Championship matches this season and come on as a substitute twice but only once has he assumed a centre half role. That opportunity came at Alloa in October when Paul Watson required to come off after just five minutes of the second half.

His early appearances were at right back filling a space in defence created by an injury to Aaron Comrie but after successfully performing in a defensive midfield role in the 1-1 draw at Inverness in the Pars last match of 2020, he has played there ever since.

Another four matches followed in a midfield role where he has looked a natural and made a significant contribution to the team’s performances. This week Lewis discussed his experiences at Dunfermline with the media via a zoom call. He explained:-

“I’ve featured at right-back this season as well, which I found new. Although it’s not my most natural role, I have played in the middle of the park before.

“In the Inverness game, I was playing in front of the back four but in the Hearts game and the Raith Rovers game, playing as a two in midfield and not a three.

“The role involves getting forward the pitch a bit more and looking to support the strikers. That’s certainly new, but it’s something that’s good for me to learn from and I’ve got a lot of people around me, a lot of experience, to help me do that as well.”

One of four loanees at Dunfermline this season, Lewis has played the midfield role well. It gives him plenty of opportunities to display his close control skills, accurate passes and particular strengths, he added:-

“It’s a bit more attacking, you get to express yourself a little bit more and try and be a bit more creative, supporting the attacking players from behind.”

It could be that Rangers might feel disappointed that Lewis is not playing as a centre back but the 20 year old claims that the Dunfermline experience under different coaches will be a great benefit to both player and his club:-

“Of course, that might have been the plan sending me out, but I think for myself and the club both can be pleased with the challenge I’m getting right now and it certainly will help me overall as a footballer. It will help my education; there’s a lot I can take from that. I think both can be happy from that point of view.”

Rangers Billy Kirkwood, Billy McLaren and Craig Mulholland have all been regular attenders to keep a watchful eye over Lewis in matches he he appreciates that interest:-

“The club have been very good that way, in that they’ve had someone there to watch a lot of the games. That is good for us as well, because we’ll get feedback. We’ll get an opinion from them on how they think we’re doing, and obviously I’ll get feedback from the staff at Dunfermline, which is also valuable.”

Lewis is eligible for Scotland under-21s for the next two years and will most likely be the oldest in the squad. Taking on the role of Lewis Ferguson and Allan Campbell as the senior figure in the dressing room is something that excites the Pars no.22:-

“It is a good thing to look forward to and work towards. Being the older, senior one and more experienced, if I look at those players and look at what they’re doing and where they’re heading in their careers. It’s a positive if I can follow a similar route as well.”

If the weather permits Saturday’s home match against Dundee to go ahead, Lewis will come up against Charlie Adam, a player he grew up watching and is now privileged to play against. Lewis has great admiration for the 35 year old who made 86 appearances for Rangers between 2004 and 2009. He continued:-

“Even in the game against Dundee earlier in the season there were a few moments in the game where he produced moments of quality. You can see that even in the highlights from other games, he’s capable of changing a game very quickly with he quality he’s got.

“For me, as a young player at the start of my career, that’s a great challenge, to go and put myself against a player of that pedigree. I remember the Rangers team with him and watching him. If I’m on the pitch playing with these players and against these types of players that can only help me. It’s a challenge that I relish and look forward to.”

Dundee at home is a fixture that everyone’s looking forward to, confessed Lewis:-

“When I look back at the game we played away to Dundee the last time, it was a competitive game. We didn’t impose ourselves on the game enough in the first 70 minutes and we switched off at set-pieces, which cost us.

“Then, at 3-0 down we re-grouped, we had nothing to lose and we went for it. We got ourselves back in, it was a great comeback. In games like that, where you go and pick up a point from what could have been nothing, it could be vital for us. We need to learn from that game to play like we did in the last 20 minutes for the 90 minutes. That’s got to be the aim.”

If Dunfermline could get a win over James McPake’s Dundee, it could open up a seven point gap between the sides albeit Dundee have played two games less:-

“We are aware of all that but the best approach is to take it one game at a time and think that we’re going to go head to head on Saturday and do our best to get three points if we can.

“Looking across the last three games, we’ve only taken three points from a potential nine, which is a bit frustrating. But I think we can take a lot from the Hearts game and we can certainly take a lot from the Raith Rovers game.

“Arbroath was a disappointing one for us all, really. We can’t take much from that but we just need get over that one and move on. Certainly the conditions were extremely challenging, I’ve never played in anything like that at all. It definitely changed the nature of the game.

“Looking at the game, there’s not much to analyse or break down. I don’t think we can take very much from it. We just need to get over that one as quickly as possible and move on.”

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