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    Keep on believing 

    Wednesday, May 09, 2018 11:35:36 AM

    Good evening and welcome along to our final home game of the 2017/18 season. I would like to start by welcoming Stevie Aitken, his team and everyone else connected to Dumbarton who have made the trip to be here tonight.

    I had the opportunity in recent weeks to get along to a couple of Dumbarton games and was able to see first hand what a well organised and hard working team they are. Stevie Aitken has worked miracles in recent years and deserves a lot of credit for being able to maintain Dumbarton’s Championship status for the last five years. Of course from a selfish point of view that is something we want to put an end to, and hopefully by the end of next Sundays game we will be looking to leapfrog Dumbarton into the second tier of Scottish football, with the prospect of challenging  ourselves against some of the bigger full time teams in the country.

    We are coming into tonight’s game high on confidence and feeling really good about ourselves. We have won six of our last eight games and have hit some really good form when it matters most. I thought our two recent performances against Raith were outstanding in every department and were right up there with our best performances of the season. We defended really well as a group and always looked a threat going forward, and adding to that when I had to make changes from the bench those players coming on made a positive impact, which as a manager is all you can ask. The fact that the Raith Rovers fans stayed behind to applaud our players off the pitch on Saturday spoke volumes of how much they appreciated the courage and guts they showed over the two legs.

    I knew at the start of the campaign it would be difficult to compete with both Raith and Ayr in challenging for the title, but I genuinely believed we had a group of players good enough to do so. Unfortunately we didn’t accumulate enough points in the first quarter and were always playing catch up from there on. This week we have an opportunity to do the next best thing, and gain promotion via the Play Offs. We know how difficult that is going to be against very good opposition, who as a team from the league above will be genuine favourites. As a player I always enjoyed being the underdog, and used it as motivation to prove people wrong, I will be asking the players to do the same again this week.

    As a young manager I have been very fortunate to have such a good group of players and staff around me and I would like to thank them all for their commitment and effort over the last 10 months. Every single one of them has been a credit to themselves and have always done what I have asked to the best of their ability, which as a manager is all you can ask for. They like me are hungry for success and are determined to ensure nothing comes in the way of that. The players are willing to go to war with Dumbarton, and they will fight and scrap for every ball knowing that whoever comes out on top will have earned the right to call themselves a Championship team next season. We know we are underdogs in a lot of people’s eyes and that is absolutely fine by us, but we were underdogs against Ayr three weeks ago and won 2-1, we were underdogs in the semi final against Raith and won both games 2-0 and 2-1 and we'll take the underdog tag again this week, knowing that what people think outside these four walls doesn’t really matter. What does matter is the self belief, togetherness and team spirit we as a group of staff and players have shown already and are willing to show again. I believe in the players and know they are more than capable of winning, and I know they will do all they can to prove the doubters wrong once again! I can assure you they will leave nothing in the tank and will crawl off the pitch on Sunday in Dumbarton knowing that they done their very best over the two legs. Fingers crossed that will be enough!

    Finally on behalf of the players and staff I would like to thank you the fans for your continued support throughout the season. Your positivity and encouragement has been a huge help to the team and you have certainly played your part both here at home and on the road. Also thank you to those of you who volunteered during the bad snow to ensure we got the pitch cleared in time for some important fixtures to be played. The club as a whole appreciated your efforts.

    Tonight more than ever make yourselves heard and drive the boys on for one last push!

    Thanks as always and enjoy the game.

    Jim Goodwin

    Managers Corner