Dunfermline Athletic

Ryan warns of former County colleague

Wednesday, 18th Nov 2020

“Hopefully we get a positive result against Hearts and keep the unbeaten run and momentum going.”

When at Ross County together in season 2016-2017 Ryan Dow’s team mate, Liam Boyce notched 24 goals for the Staggies. Boyce left at the end of that season to join Burton Albion before returning to Scotland at Hearts in January 2020. After scoring on his debut in a 2-1 win over Rangers, the Northern Ireland striker was an instant hit at Tynecastle and this season he has scored three goals in his four matches for the Jambos.

While acknowledging that the capital side have loads of good players and good attacking wingers that are quick, Ryan said that he would pick 29 year old Boyce out as major source of trouble.

“He is an unbelievable player and he was a massive signing when they signed him last year. He probably had loads of options to stay down south but he came to Hearts who are a big club as well. I have played with him, I know his quality and he will be a real threat.

“They have Steven Naismith as well, but because I have played with Liam I know what he is capable of, so we will have to keep him quiet if we want to get a result. He is prolific but his link up play goes unnoticed. He is clever and a really good player.

“We have been getting a lot of plaudits going forward this year but I think that we have been really good defensively as a unit. We will be looking to stay the same on Friday.”

Ryan feels that the Pars can take confidence from the comeback from two goals down in last Saturday’s Betfred Cup match against Clyde. He said:-

“If people are looking in and saw 3-2 they might think that we just snatched it at the end but we could have been three or four up in the first half given the amount of chances that we had.

“We played some decent stuff but ended up 2-0 down at the start of the second half. We couldn’t really believe it but I think it is the way that we are going this year, it just shows the resolve of the team.”

When Kevin O’Hara converted a penalty to make it 2-1 to Clyde on the hour, Ryan felt that another goal could be enough for Dunfermline to top the group without the need of the bonus point.

“To get the third goal and win just shows you the confidence that the boys have. That said I think we deserved it, we didn’t deserve to be 2-0 down anyway.

“Normally if you go 2-0 down in a game you are not really playing well. We had the majority of the ball and we were creating chances, if we kept doing that we were going to score eventually. After Fraser won a penalty they got deeper and deeper.

“Luckily we got the other goal to make it 2-2 and then the last goal. To top the group having won four out of four was good.”

Paul Watson claimed the added time winner but not everyone believed that he got anything on Kyle Turner’s free kick, Ryan avoided giving his opinion:-

“I will let you decide whose goal it was - there is still a bit of debate going on. Straight away he had his hands up but Kyle is saying that it his as well. I am not really caring as long as we win but no one is letting it go, they are both still claiming it.

“It is important to keep the momentum going, we are on a good run at the moment of wins and unbeaten. To keep that going with the win going into Friday is massive.

“It will be a tough game. I have watched Hearts a couple of times when they have been on the TV. When you are playing against a Robbie Neilson team they are always big, physical and they have a lot of good players. They are obviously favourites for the league and tipped to win it by quite a lot of points.

“We have started well, we believe that we have a really good squad and we are playing some good football. We couldn’t be going into the game with any more confidence. It is at home as well and we are looking forward to it.”

Ryan believes that it is Hearts, not Dunfermline, are under all the pressure on Friday night:-

“Hearts will have seen the way that we came back and I am sure that they will have had people watching us over the last couple of weeks. I don’t know if it puts pressure on them, they will have pressure on themselves within the club. They are a massive club and there will always be pressure playing for Hearts.

“They probably have the biggest budgets in the league and that’s why they will be getting the pressure. We know that we are a good side and the expectations are all on them. Because it is a shorter season if you just go game by game, you never know what will happen.”

Some bookies have reduced Dunfermline’s odds for the title so in that contest this match is very important. Ryan dismissed that making any difference:-

“We don’t feel any pressure if bookies are making us second favourites, we will keep going the way that we have been going and winning on Saturday keeps that momentum going. Since the start of the season it is eight games unbeaten and that is going to have people talking. It is good for us because it means that we are doing the right things. It is a good run that we have been on but it does not come any tougher than Friday night.

“If we are realistic about getting promoted we need to get a positive result in these kind of games. Hearts are one of the biggest challenges that we will face this season. It is still quite early doors but we are nearly at the end of November already so if we could win it would be massive.

“I picked out Boyce and Naismith but they probably have a Premier League squad and it is going to be a real test. I think everyone will be looking forward to it.“

The Pars vice captain gave his reaction to be drawn against Arbroath in the second round Betfred Cup draw:-

“There were quite a lot of teams from our league and as the draw went on I had a funny feeling that we were going to get somebody from our own league. We are away from home at a difficult place to go. I’m sure Arbroath would have been looking at it themselves and of the seeded teams they might have been wanting to draw us.

“The three games against them last season were all close games, a draw and a win apiece. Especially at Arbroath you never know what kind of weather you are going to get. You are just hoping for a good day. It will be a tough game but obviously Hearts first and then we can think of that. Hopefully we get a positive result against Hearts and keep the unbeaten run and momentum going.”

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