Dunfermline Athletic

Thomas up for the cup

Friday, 8th Jan 2021

“We’re up for it, and we want to go as far as we can.”

Above: Dom Thomas at East End Park as a Motherwell player

The postponement of Saturday’s Scottish Cup tie at Cappielow means that Dunfermline’s Dom Thomas will have to wait a little longer for a Scottish Cup memory. So short was his first and only appearance in the country’s prime cup contest is that he can no longer remember it.

For a player with 162 senior appearances and almost 8000 minutes on the park surprisingly his Scottish Cup experiences amount to just 19 minutes as a second half substitute for Stephen Pearson when Motherwell were 5-0 up against Cove Rangers. Dom laughed:-

“I don’t even remember that game! I’ve got the chance here to go and play in Scottish Cups, and that’s what you want to do. When you build a cup run, it brings everybody together and just gives you that wee bit aside from the league.

“We’re doing well in the league, we’ve still got a long way to go, but the cup gives you something diffferent to concentrate on. We’re up for it, and we want to go as far as we can.”

Above: Dom Thomas at East End Park as a Queen of the South player

The reason for the 24 year olds absence in Scottish Cup ties might well be a consequence of being out on loan while at both Motherwell and Kilmarnock:-

“If I’ve been on loan, the team that’s loaned you out don’t want you to play. We’ve got boys out on loan and, you never know in football, they might be needed for the semi-final or the final, and it would be a shame if they were cup-tied. So, maybe that’s why I’ve only played that 20 minutes. I must have had a howler, I can’t even remember it!

“Hopefully I’ll remember this one. Cappielow’s a tough place to go to, especially with the conditions. We’ll be prepared and hopefully kick-start another cup run.”

Standing in their way is a Morton team whose home cup and league record against Dunfermline is strongly in their favour. Dom said:-

“It’s typical of the draw, isn’t it. You always end up getting somebody you play three times a year anyway. A home tie is always good in the cup, but we’ll take whatever we get. At the end of the day, if you’re going to go somewhere in the cup you need to beat good teams. We got Morton, it’s one we look forward to and we want to progress in the cup.”

With the Raith Rovers match and now the Morton match postponed for three days Dom feels that it has been a strange week:-

“You set up all week for the game and then it’s called off. The thing is we just want to be playing football and then we’ve got the weekend off because of the conditions. But we were back in training and working hard, and looking forward to the cup game against Morton.”

The postponement looked certain from early in the week but Hogmanay arrived first and so that meant no staying up to see in the new year:-

“We knew the game was slightly in doubt but you can’t do anything until it’s called off, and it was called off in the early morning. I was in my bed for ten o’clock. It’s just part of the job, isn’t it? You have to prepare. There was a slight chance the game could have been on, so I couldn’t enjoy a Hogmanay.”

With no house gathering allowed this year, everybody got a taste of what it is like to be a footballer at Hogmanay. Dom agreed:-

“It’s not as if we could have gone out partying anyway - we’re not allowed out the house! And we can’t go to restaurants. It’s just the way it is just now, and we need to get on with it and hopefully it passes soon.”

Now facing both a cup and league match away at a venue where successes of late have been scarce Dom sees a big week ahead for the club:-

“Every game’s a big one for us now and we’ve got the cup, which is something we want to do well in. We did relatively well in the League Cup, albeit we never got into the semi-final like we wanted. But the Scottish Cup is always special and we’ll look to progress in the cup.

“Then, it’s back to Cappielow. So, the game on cup tie is important to set us up for the next game there. If we go there and do well and get a win then it gives us confidence over them ahead of the league game there.”

The home defeat to Morton is still fresh in the mind and it is one that the Pars wish to atone:-

“It’s one the boys were gutted to lose. We felt we played well and we should have won it. But, at the end of the day, we didn’t. So, we need to go down there and prove a point, that we are the better team. We want to qualify for the next round of the cup and also get the three points on Friday.

“It’s a big game and Morton are a good team. With the change of manager, I think they’ve got better. They’ve won a few games, just with a different system or different players playing. We know it will be a hard challenge but it’s one we’re really up for.”

Dunfermline took confidence from success in the Betfred Cup earlier this season and Dom hopes that the Scottish Cup could give the team some buoyancy as well:-

“In the group stages, we had Kilmarnock. Although they were hampered Covid, we went there and put on a good performance. Against St Johnstone, we took them all the way to penalties and getting beat on penalties is just a toss of the coin, I think.

“So, it gives us confidence. When you get a cup run, it brings the boys together in the changing room, it brings the staff and the fans together. We want to go as far as we can in the competition. That’s the things you want as a player, you want to be playing in big games, going to Hampden, playing in semi-finals and cup finals.

“For us this is the first stage of the journey. We know how close we were [to Hampden]. It was penalties but this gives us a second chance, and it’s one we know we need to take if we want to go on and do things like that.”

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