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    Jim Goodwin at Ochilview 

    Sunday, November 19, 2017 1:18:57 PM

    Jim Goodwin after cup victory over Stenhousemuir

    We always knew today was going to be a difficult match and that’s exactly how it turned out, we gave Stenhousemuir the respect we felt they deserved, obviously they have been doing very well in their own league you can see they have some very good footballers in their team, but I have to say I was disappointed with the way we started and I thought we just let the first half pass us by, that’s taking nothing away from Stenhousemuir who were the better team in the first half, but I thought in the second half we were the better team, I felt we were the team on the ascendancy although they finished the game strongly, they put bodies up front and created one or two chances. We rode our luck at times today, we definitely did, but it’s a cup tie at the end of the day and all that matters is being in the hat on Monday.

    Great for Craig Malcolm to get his two goals today, that’s four goals in last four games for him, it was always going to be difficult for us to replace Greig Spence at the end of last season, we had identified Craig Malcolm long before the end of last season as he had scored a number of goals for Stranraer. Unfortunately for us he picked up an injury in the Betfred Cup Tie against Ross County in the opening game of this season and it took him a wee while to get over that and then when he did come back in takes weeks to get fit again, these things don’t happen overnight but now you are starting to see the Craig Malcolm which attracted us to bring him to the club. He is in the right place more often than not, I thought his first goal in particular he was really brave to put himself in there and get the touch that he did from a great ball from Stevie Hetherington, and the second goal is a fantastic delivery from Iain Flannigan, it was all about the delivery we had great quality coming into the box and again Craig was in the right place.

    Stenhousemuir will be disappointed, I thought Brown Ferguson’s team were excellent and the game could have went either way, I’m just grateful it went our way.

     

    Jim Goodwin

    Jim Goodwin at Cliftonhill 

    Saturday, November 11, 2017 5:59:11 PM

    Jim Goodwin after victory at Cliftonhill

    We came here with a game plan today, we knew the pitch wouldn’t be conducive to the way we would want to play, I think the pitch is a leveller it doesn’t suit either team and it is very hard to play the type of game we would like on it, I think Albion Rovers themselves found it difficult. However, we played the conditions very well and the clean sheet was massive, we knew we would get opportunities - the first goal was a great goal from our point of view, a great ball in from Andy Graham cut back to “Flanny” and it was a great finish, he made it look a lot easier than it actually was especially how the balls were bobbling on the pitch and get such a good connection as he did.

    Yes, we would have liked the second goal to come a wee bit earlier than it did, but in fairness to Albion Rovers they were the better team in the second half, there was no doubt about that, but at the same time they had a lot of possession but I thought our shape was good, all their possession was in front of us, they never really hurt us in behind and that was part of our game plan we had worked hard on during the week, which the players carried out and deserve great credit for that.

    After the first nine games we hadn’t been good enough and it was a bit of a reality check, we sat down and tried to analysis where we had been going wrong and how we could do better, it was plainly obvious to us - we had to defend better and score more goals, I know it sounds as simple as that and easy, but it is all about the players, it is easy for me to pick formations and tactics and do sessions in training, but it is down to the players to go out on the pitch and for the last four or five weeks the players have been absolutely excellent and I am really pleased they are getting their rewards which they deserve.

    I don’t like pointing out just our goalkeeper and our back four because there is an awful lot more to defending than just that part of the team; the guys in front of them work tirelessly, Kevin Cawley never stops running, PJ is doing a great job for the team and there are players doing jobs which don’t come natural to them. We identified one or two of their players who we knew we had to be aware of and gave jobs to certain individuals in our team and I thought they took on the responsibility and did their jobs brilliantly and they deserve huge credit for that.

    It’s been a great start to the second quarter, four victories and three shut outs but we must keep our feet on the ground, we have done great to get ourselves back into a good position but its only November, I will not get carried away.

    Jim Goodwin 

    Jim Goodwin after defeating Airdrie 

    Saturday, November 04, 2017 3:13:51 PM

    Jim Goodwin after defeating Airdrieonians

    We are over the moon at the moment with the form that we are in, three straight wins, I thought we played some really good football today and on another day we could have scored another two or three goals, their keeper made a great save from PJ Crossan when his shot looked to be heading for the top corner of the net, if Iain Flannigan had played a better ball across the face of the goal to Kris Renton and we had another great opportunity with the penalty, but overall very pleased from back to front, we looked solid again at the back, we gave them one opportunity in the second half where Neil Parry had to make a crucial save on a one v. one situation, it would have been a heartbreaker if they had equalised because I thought we were well on top throughout the game and delighted to carry on the momentum. Getting back to back clean sheets is so important, because we work hard on them defending in training though the week.

    Consistency is important at any level, to go and be able to put three wins back to back and in the manner we have done beating East Fife here 4-1, then went to Hampden last weekend and scored four goals and kept a clean sheet and then today winning 1-0 against very difficult opposition. Airdrie have always been a hard team to play against anytime I have played against them and since I have been at Alloa they continue to be tight games - they beat us earlier in the season at their place deservedly so but I thought we deserved to win the game today.

    There is no point in changing a winning side, it is always hard to do so, we do have Daryll Meggatt fit on the bench again but Scott Taggart and Andy Graham have been outstanding in the back line together and Jon Robertson has filled in at right back, I have spoke to “Robbo” about the situation, he would rather play in midfield but enjoys playing right back as well. Callum Crane has really come on to his game and again was terrific because the boy Scott Stewart is a very good opponent and I knew he would have to be on our game to watch him today and I thought Callum did a terrific job up against him. I was delighted for Craig Malcolm to score again this week, his goal being the winner, PJ was excellent again, I could go right through the team there wasn’t one below par performance.

    I would like however to give a special mention to Stevie Hetherington, that’s as good a performance from a central midfielder, particularly in the second half he was everywhere, picked up every second ball, not only that but his range of passing when he had possession, I can’t remember him getting beaten or giving the ball away too many times, he stopped Airdrie counter attacking on us, delighted for Stevie and all my players, even Kris Renton ho came on for the last fifteen minutes played a vital part, so delighted with the group of players we have at the club, let’s just carry it on.

    It is important that we don’t get carried away and think too far down the line, just keep doing what we are doing and take each game as they come week by week. Next week at Cliftonhill will be another difficult game, Albion Rovers hammered us here 5 - 2, so we certainly owe them one, so it would be nice to go and reverse the scoreline.

    Jim Goodwin

    Jim Goodwin at Hampden 

    Saturday, October 28, 2017 5:52:36 PM

    Jim Goodwin after victory at Hampden

    Delighted from start to finish the lads were excellent, the manner of the goals as well, there were some really good goals, delighted for PJ, two goals back to back for the wee man, it was also good for Craig Malcolm to score an important goal for himself as well.  It was a really professional performance, we knew we would have the majority of the ball and it was just a matter of how we dealt with that. We were patient in our build up, we spoke about moving the ball a bit quicker at half-time but from start to finish I thought we credited the win.

    People will look at the score line and believe it is one of best performances of the season and it is up there but no game is a walk in the park - Gus always has his teams organised and hard to beat, you don’t just turn up and play that way the players deserve great credit, they trained well during the week, we knew we would have to be at our best to get the result, the first goal is so important and vital regardless of what level you are playing at, we have struggled to get that in recent weeks, so it was really pleasing to get ahead today and build on it, I thought we were very solid at the back in defence, which is pleasing especially gaining a clean sheet.

    I knew Gus would get fired into his boys at half-time and I knew they would give a reaction but I thought we managed that part of the game particularly well and so it through and as soon as we get the second goal you could see it taking the wind out of their sails. The deliveries from Iain Flannigan at set pieces from dead balls, he is on a par with the boys at the top level of the game, it was all about the delivery and quality of the balls into the box, it doesn’t matter how big the lads are going into box, if the quality is not great you will never score, Iain very rarely lets you down - the second delivery especially for Daryll Meggatt’s goal, as a defender it is impossible to defend against such was quality of ball into the box.

    I do not like picking out individuals because all fourteen of the players used today played their part, I even had to list myself today, squad we are not as healthy as I would like and again we had to play some guys out of position but the adapt because that’s what good players do.

    At this stage in the season the table doesn’t bother me, we have set ourselves targets, we know where we need to be points wise and come January if we are to be serious about competing at the top of the table which is where this group of players what to be, we concentrate on our own job but I am delighted with our start to the second quarter - two wins out of two but we will have another difficult game next Saturday against Airdrie.

    Jim Goodwin

     

    Jim Goodwin after 4-1 victory 

    Monday, October 23, 2017 4:52:26 PM

    Jim Goodwin after victory over East Fife

    Over the moon I thought it was a terrific performance, to go a goal down again was disappointing but great character, I know that is one thing which has never been questioned, I know we haven’t picked up the results that has been required in the first quarter but commitment and effort was not things which I could question the lads. I see the work they put in on a Tuesday and Thursday night at training and I was just delighted we were able to go and show our home fans in particular because they have obviously not been happy, I believe, so delighted they could go and put on a good performance and I think that was the most pleasing thing. We spoke about it during the week - about not being anxious and not been tense and uptight, I think we set up a very attacking formation to go and play the way we think the game should be played. It would be very easy to go defensive and play 4 - 5 - 1 today but we didn’t we went and took the game to East Fife and I thought we got our just rewards.

    We had to make changes due to injuries, Jon Robertson had to drop back to right back, Scott Taggart had to go in at left centre half and I thought he had “A Cigar out all day” , they are just good players and you can ask them to play anywhere and they will do a job for you, but I thought they were exceptional, if a couple of my centre halves decide to drag themselves of the treatment table this week they will probably struggle to get back to be honest with you, why would change that?

    That was exactly what we had been asking for weeks, we looked solid, I felt in weeks gone by we looked vulnerable  when we were attacking in particular when we were very open, but we spoke about that and worked hard during the week, it is the most comfortable I have felt for a number of weeks, even going a goal down I didn’t feel like we wouldn’t get our way back into the game. The first goal in particular for me to get us back level, if you watched the build up to the goal a lot of people just remember the finish but if you look at where the goal starts from, it started from Neil Parry who rolled it to the centre half and there were 8 or 9 passes before the goal was scored , try and find me a better goal than that this weekend!

    PJ Crossan was rewarded with his first goal for the club, the wee mans did great he has worked hard he has worked his socks off he has given us a different dimension to the team he gives us that bit of pace in behind he is a terrific young talent with great potential, Celtic were kind enough to loan him to us, I have a good relationship with some of the guys there Chris McCart, Tommy McIntyre and they understand the type of football we try and play, they understand the demands I put on the boys at training during the week and they knew by allowing him to come here we wouldn’t allow his standards to drop he is a terrific kid and gives you his all just really pleased that he been on the winning side this week because we have struggled in weeks gone by.

    We have had our bad spell and that’s it done now, I said to the lads during the week at the end of every quarter and I’m sure I’m not the only manager who does it, we sit down and analyze the first quarter and we looked at the goals for and goals against and our points return wasn’t good enough, just delighted we were able to get 3 points towards our second quarter target and if we play like that more often we will be absolutely fine, I’m certainly not looking over my shoulder, we are a very positive group and we believe there is still more to come and we have our eyes set for competing at the top end of the table there is a lot of football to be played between now and the end of the season so people shouldn’t get to carried away.

    Jim Goodwin    

    Jim Goodwin at Stair Park 

    Sunday, October 15, 2017 8:00:43 AM

    Jim Goodwin at Stair Park, Stranraer

    Obviously disappointed, I didn’t think there was much in the game up until the first goal, we said at half time the first goal was going to be huge and more often than not in our league that tends to be the case. Really disappointed with the defending, I thought we could have done a whole lot better, we seemed to be all over the place and one ball over the top is what killed us, but a great finish from Ryan Wallace but it was avoidable from our point of view. I don’t mind teams scoring goals where they carve you open, good quality goals but I don’t think that was a good quality goal from our point of view. He might have been half a yard offside but I think it was the fact we were disjointed at the back in the back four, three of the boys were up and one was too deep. We spoke before the game about not giving them the space to run into because we knew what they would want to do, we know how they play, looking for balls in behind because they have boys who are quick, as a back four we needed to deny them that space and we didn’t do it, but a great finish from the lad.

    At 1-0 with fifteen minutes to go I made some changes to try and get us just back in the game, we went 3-4-3 but then again Jamie Hamill had too much space to run into, it’s a learning curve for wee Adam because he has to do his defensive responsibilities as well - for whatever reason we just don’t seem to be getting any breaks just now. We need to create our own luck, we need to keep going, it’s a funny league it’s the kind of league if you can put two or three wins back to back all of a sudden you will be climbing up the table again but our current form hasn’t been good enough and that’s absolutely clear and I take full responsibility for that.

    You can’t feel sorry for yourselves, we are disappointed, I believe in the group of players we have, we have players now coming back after injury and once we get everybody up to speed I’m sure our luck will turn, I look at other teams squads and we are right up there on paper but it doesn’t work like that, at the moment we need to do more collectively, myself included we are all in this together and the only way we will turn the corner is by working hard during the week and not feeling sorry for ourselves because we will have another tough game coming up next weekend so we need to dust ourselves down and go again on Tuesday and hopefully our luck will change.

    This form that we are in at the moment cannot continue, that is the first quarter out of the way and we are sitting on nine points from nine games , I’m not stupid, we sit and analysis’ things including myself and my decisions, tactics and training, I do that more than anybody and I am my own worst critic and I know our return of points in the first quarter is not nearly good enough and we are going to half to double that next quarter if we are to have any aspirations of getting into the play-offs.

    We appear to be lacking a bit of confidence at the moment due to some bad form but I believe we are one result from turning the corner, it’s as simple as that.

    Jim Goodwin

    Jim Goodwin at Gayfield 

    Sunday, October 01, 2017 12:43:05 PM

    Jim Goodwin at Gayfield

    At the end of the day a draw was probably a fair result, their keeper has made a couple of great saves, we seem to be hitting keepers with form at the moment, the Albion Rovers boy last week made three or four great saves and today again the Arbroath keeper has made a couple of great saves - a good save from the penalty and the one late in the second half when he made a great double save from Jon Robertson’s shot and PJ Crossan effort blocked, but Arbroath had their chances as well and Neilly had to make a good save so from a neutral point of view it was certainly end to end football. It was a good reaction from my point of view after conceding five goals last week, I thought we looked more defensively solid today I thought we defended the box relatively well.

    I was pleased with PJ Crossan making such an impact for a young guy, he was making his first start for us and he can be pleased. I think their keeper makes a good save from Scott Taggart’s penalty, he took it well and had plenty of pace on the ball but I think the boy read it and made a great save with a strong arm and then blocked Kris effort with the rebound. You then think it’s not our day and then we got a good bit of luck with the own goal, but if the penalty had went in it could have been a different game.

    At the Arbroath penalty, I thought it was a penalty at the time, sometimes you get them sometimes you don’t, I think Jon got caught on the wrong side of their player, I don’t think he deliberately pulled him down but the guy runs across you and inevitably feet tangle and the referee got that one right.

    Arbroath are a good team on a very good run they beat Stranraer 6-2 last week away from home, they are a very good side with good options to come off the bench, our bench was struggling with Craig Malcolm nursing a sore ankle, Garry Fleming did his hamstring in the warm up, still missing Andy Graham, I don’t want to make excuses but we are looking forward to the International break and give us a chance to recharge the batteries and rehabilitation and looking to have a more fit squad for our trip to Stranraer.

    Jim Goodwin

    Manager after home defeat 

    Saturday, September 23, 2017 6:39:22 PM

    Jim Goodwin after home defeat to Albion Rovers

    It is a very difficult result to take, but if you defend they we defended you are going to get punished it is as simple as that. I think Albion Rovers have had six shots on target and managed to score five goal, I think we had fifteen shots and only managed to score with two. Their goalkeeper was excellent but I am making no excuses because our defending was appalling, so therefore we must take it on the chin.

    I think we created opportunities, Kevin Cawley had a great header in the first half and their keeper made a wonder save, then we got it back to 3-2 we looked as if we were going to get ourselves right back in the game and maybe get something from it but their fourth goal was a killer and the fifth one comes from us really chasing the game, we were going a bit gun ho, I take full responsibility for the result, it is unacceptable at home to concede five goals or indeed in any game it is not acceptable but particularly here at home I’m really disappointed, it might sound stupid but I thought we played ok going forward and we did create a number of opportunities but fair play to Albion Rovers they took their chances when they became available .

    It’s our first defeat at home after two wins and a draw, I don’t mind losing games but it’s the manner in how you can lose them - If you lose 1-0 or 2-1 you can put your hands up but to concede five is going to take a bit getting over. We and will sit down tomorrow and watch the game back, see where we can make improvements, because we do need to improve things defensively there is no doubt about that, we have conceded far too many goals already up to now, we do look like we can score, that’s what we said at half-time at 2-0 if we get the next goal it gives us a great chance but to concede the third goal as we did was incredible. We need to pick ourselves up there is no point feeling sorry for ourselves - you can see how the league is, it is such a strange league that - Stranraer win 4-0 last week and then lose 6-2 at home this week, every team in the league is capable of beating each other, Raith Rovers and Ayr United are certainly looking strong at the moment and it looks like the rest will be scrapping it out for the Play-Off’s.

    I’m the manager, I pick the team, I pick the formation, I have brought the players to the club so it’s my responsibility and I’ll do everything I can to turn things around and get us back on track next week, we have another big game coming up next week against Arbroath at Gayfield and we will go again.

    Jim Goodwin

    Jim Goodwin after draw at Ayr 

    Saturday, September 16, 2017 5:44:39 PM

    Jim Goodwin after draw at Ayr

    I’ll be dreading tomorrow after that, I felt great for an hour then I started to feel I was running up hill, it’s a long while since I played 90 minutes, I didn’t really envisage playing much this season but I registered myself as a player, but recently we have been looking like the walking wounded with a number of injuries to key players, we have players with viruses as well and we were short of numbers, we were even two players light on the bench today, so that’s why I had to go out and play, needs must, I enjoyed the game but we are obviously disappointed to lose a goal in the last minute but I have to say it was a great game of football, from a neutral point of view it must have been very good to watch, very exciting, end to end, both teams having a go.

    I just thought when we got to 3-2 and it being so late in the game, we were controlling the game at that time and I thought we would see the game out but to get hit with that sucker punch right at the end was a bit of a killer.

    The first fifteen minutes we weren’t in the game, we struggled with their shape, I felt myself and Frank were too deep and the gap between us and the midfield was too big but once we got to grips after the first 15 minutes I thought we were the better team in the first half certainly in the last 30 minutes of the first half, in the second half there wasn’t much in it but when you get yourself to 3-2 and there is only a couple of minutes left we would have liked to see it out.

    We haven’t defended poorly today yet we have conceded three goals, but if you score three goals it should be enough to win any game and that’s the disappointing thing from our point of view. There is not one player out there I could say had a below par performance, I thought they were all at it and for 90 minutes that is probably the best we have played consistently, every player was excellent and we just have to carry that to next week.

    We had a lot of changes in the summer and we lost a lot of key players, I have brought in 7 or 8 boys who have been fantastic but people need to realise it takes a lot of time for lads to get to know each other, particularly for part time teams who only see each other on a Tuesday and Thursday night, so it takes a wee bit of time for the players to gel and get the know each other and how they like to play, we have also been unlucky with injuries to key players and struggled to field the same starting eleven since the first day of the season, that is  difficult because you are constantly chopping and changing which doesn’t help boys get use to playing beside each other, these aren’t excuses and other teams will have the same situations with injuries and niggles, that is the reason we have squads and we have to utilise that but I’m delighted with our performance today but disappointed only not to have collected all three points but there are plenty of positives to take from today’s game.

    Jim Goodwin

    Jim Goodwin after late victory 

    Sunday, September 10, 2017 9:59:49 AM

    Jim Goodwin after late victory over Forfar Athletic

    We didn’t play well at all today, there is no getting away from that, the real pleasing aspect of the game for me is the character of the players. We go a goal behind and things weren’t going our way - but they still managed to grind a result out. They kept going right till the death which was pleasing, obviously the substitutes made a difference making a great impact when they came on and we have a really good young prospect here in Adam Martin who has week after we week now made an impact when coming off the bench, he is desperate for a starting position and I am trying to be safe with the boy and not put too much on his shoulders all at once but I think after that performance again today I am struggling not to start him. Delighted for him and that is one huge positive we can take from the game today and we should really talk that one up because he is a young player who has come through our Academy who has got great ability and talent and one we are very excited about.

    Big Kris Renton works tirelessly up front and he gives centre halves a real nightmare, he is a hard player to play against, he is definitely a handful there is no doubt about that. I’m sure he would have liked to get a goal sooner there is no doubt about that, that’s him off the mark now and hopefully that gives him the confidence he needs to kick on, to keep going and getting the winner in the 94th minute was fantastic.

    That is now seven points from nine at home in the league games, we what to make this place as difficult as possible for teams visiting here, the fans play their part in that, I know they were frustrated for long spells today, as were we, but I take full responsibility, it is me their frustrations should be aimed at because at the end of the day I pick the tactics the formation and the players. I probably hold my hands up in regards to our formation today, I wanted to go with the same team and the same formation as last week because I thought we did very well against very good Dundee United side. I didn’t feel I needed to change because I thought if we could replicate that performance then we would be fine, but we didn’t and that falls on me that’s my responsibility but gladly with half an hour to go we made the right changes and the right formation changes which helped us to go on and win the game.

    Hopefully that will have been my first run out from January and hopefully my last, its sods law we go a goal behind and I make the two changes to try and bring on more offensive players and then big Andy Graham does his shoulder, he got a bad one last week and in fairness to the big guy he is that type of boy he wanted to play it, he is a big player for us but it just didn’t work out for him today, if he goes off the park in a normal stage of a game then in my mind I’m thinking moving Stevie Hetherington to left back and Daryll Meggatt into centre half and the back four are fine, but sods law I had already taken Stevie off the park and five minutes later the big man goes down rolling about like a big Jessie.

    I felt we lacked an urgency, we spoke about it at half-time, especially in the first half, I felt the game was really flat from both teams , neither team played really well and don’t think it was a terrific spectacle to watch. We do try and play football and I think we have the players to play that way but in the last fifteen minutes today it was just about getting bodies up front and getting people in the box, it causes problems for defences but it is not the way I want us to try and play for 90 minutes, but when you are chasing the game late on then needs must. We are a better team than what we have shown, I believe there is an awful lot more to come still, we haven’t really got going yet, however we have managed 2 wins and a draw at home so for a team that really not got going yet we are not in too bad a place - we know we can improve and we will, we will work hard on the training field.

    Andy’s injury is his ligaments in his shoulder it is not dislocated or something which would keep him out for 6-8 weeks, we will nurse him this week and let him sit out training, give him a good five days of doing nothing but we certainly cannot take a gamble next week, if he is not right we need to make that decision prior to the game, next week’s game is massive.

    Jim Goodwin

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