Saturday, April 22, 2017 5:47:43 PM
Jim Goodwin at Airdrie
Delighted with the victory, it keeps the momentum going, keeps the confidence up and delighted with the overall performance to be honest. It would have been very easy to drop standards and everything else, before we know in our position after securing second place in the league last week, but the boys are great professionals and a great bunch and it still means an awful lot to them to go and win games, they take pride in what they do and they showed that today.
Momentum is the most important thing, we know that finishing second doesn’t guarantee you anything and nobody will remember that next year unless we do actually go up, so I keep reiterating that message time and time again “That we haven’t achieved anything yet” we take pride in finishing runners up to Livingston but at the same time our ambition and aim at the start of the season was promotion, so that is still where we need to be, but the boys were terrific today, the 1-0 today is as pleasing as the 6-1 victory last week, because of the way we defended as a team collectively today, we knew where Airdrie’s dangers would come from and our boys stuck to our game plan and denied them space in behind, defended the box really well and we looked dangerous on the break at times.
Today I had the luxury of being able to tinker with the team and the system and I was able to take three key players out from last week and put three different boys in and the level of performance never dropped and that’s a really good position for to be in.
Saturday, April 08, 2017 6:02:38 PM
Jim Goodwin at Livingston
Great credit has to go to Livingston today, for winning the league, in the first four or five minutes it could have been so different today, we hit the post twice at 0-0 and then Livingston take the lead when Scott Pittman scores a screamer from 35 yards, there is not a lot you can do about that. We started well but after the first ten minutes we didn’t contribute much, I thought Livingston deserved to win the game and congratulations to them.
Prior to today we had went ten games unbeaten, so the boys were on a great run, they are feeling a bit down in the dressing room just now - listening to the music coming along the corridor with the Livingston boys celebrating, but we can use that as a bit of fuel to drive us on and make sure we finish the season off properly and go into the play-offs with a bit of momentum.
We are sitting second in the table, seven points ahead of the team in third position in Airdrieonians, Livingston were always going to be the team to beat in this division, they are a full time team with a much bigger budget than everyone else and they have deserved to win the league, all credit goes to them but my boys have tried to stay with them all the way but unfortunately towards the end we didn’t find enough but fair play to Livingston, they went and got the job done today. We would have liked to have delayed the celebrations if we could, but it wasn’t to be which is great credit to David Hopkin and his backroom staff his players and we wish them well.
Jordan Kirkpatrick went off because he had a wee niggle in his groin, that is a huge concern, because he is a massive player for us, Frank McKeown pulled up in training in midweek with a calf strain and Iain Flannigan turned his back, so we were missing some key players today, I thought the boys who came in did fine. The main thing now for us at this stage is not to risk players that’s why we took “Kirky” off, we want to make sure firstly we clinch our place in the play-offs and then make sure we will have our best players available when we need them. We will look to bounce back next week.
Saturday, April 01, 2017 4:20:20 PM
We could just about write the same stuff as we talked about last week, it sounds like a broken record but we are not killing teams off it is as simple as that. We dominated possession, we had 17 or 18 shots compared to Albion Rovers having 5, but we are just not killing teams off. It was also a really poor goal from our point of view which we lost with the last kick in the first half. We have defended ever so well in recent weeks but unfortunately today we conceded a poor goal.
We need to take our chances in the final third as well and that has been our downfall today, we had a load of chances today and it was the same against Queen’s Park last week, give credit to Albion Rovers they were unbeaten in last 3 games prior to today, that’s 4 now, and have moved away from the relegation dogfight. I don’t think there was any doubt that we were the better team today dominating the ball and putting loads of crosses into the box, my only negative to take from that is that we never got enough bodies in the box, but give great credit to their back line, they defended resolutely. Albion Rovers had very little chances in the game, I don’t think my goalkeeper has had a save to make all afternoon - we were well in control of the game but we needed that second goal.
Our problem this season has been the amount of games we have drawn, we have drawn 11 games this season in the league out of 31 games - our problem has been not finishing teams off, there are still lots of positives to take from the game, I thought there were good individual performances and collectively I thought the boys did well, I’m just frustrating at drawing our last 2 games at home when we should have picked up 6 points not 2, we are unbeaten in our last ten games, only having lost one game since Christmas Eve so there are lots of positives but it’s another draw and that’s the bit that frustrates me. I am disappointed for the group of players because I know how hard they work during the week, Tuesday & Thursday in training - they deserve to be winning more games.
We now go to Livingston next week, knowing that they will be looking to win the title on the day, Livingston have been excellent and deserve all the credit, they have been the best team in the league, they tend to go and just get the job done, they are a very good team - but we have to try and stop them winning the title next week and that will be my team talk, it will be the motivation for the boys, we certainly don’t want to hand Livingston the title they will have to win it, but we will go and do our best as we always do and try and make sure they don’t win it against us.
Sunday, March 26, 2017 5:53:24 PM
Jim Goodwin after losing last minute equaliser
Extremely disappointed to lose such a late goal it seems like a defeat, whenever you concede an equaliser to a last minute goal it does feel like a defeat, I thought the boys were excellent in the second half, I thought we controlled the game for long spells but give credit to Queen’s Park for keeping going, they played right till the end in fairness to them, it was a great ball in, we should have stopped the cross and it was a good header from three or four yards out.
I’m disappointed because of the chances we had, we never killed the game off, it was the same up at Brechin on Tuesday night, we were 1-0 up and had opportunities to go two or three up, you don’t take them and teams will always get a chance and Queen’s Park got their chance today but we should have been three or four one up.
With Livingston winning again today the gap is now eleven points with six games to go, we are realistic we know how though a task it is, we won’t stop going, we won’t throw in the towel but in fairness to Livingston they don’t look like they are going to throw it away, whenever they have had a bad result they always follow it up with a good one. Today they beat a good Airdrie team 4-2 at home, they are relentless at the moment so we can only hope that they implode I suppose and that we win every game. We are now unbeaten in nine and we want to continue that momentum into the end of the season and if that is going to be in the play-off’s so be it but we want to go into these games on the back of some good results, so we will keep going right till the end, we will not give up and hand the title to Livingston. We play Livingston in a few weeks time and we would want to be going into that game with something to play for still.
There were shouts for a penalty, I thought it was handball but it was a difficult one for the referee, but I did think his arms were away from his body and we are told if the hands are in an unnatural position then it is a penalty, it certainly stopped the shot from Jordan Kirkpatrick going goal bound - Sometimes they get given sometimes they don’t, they are big calls, but I thought the referee had an OK game today to be honest with you, I thought the officials managed the game well - I’m just disappointed we were not more clinical in front of goal.
I didn’t think we played well in the first half but in the second half we certainly got to grips with Queen’s Park shape, we changed our shape a little bit, we went a bit more direct, I felt in the first half we were passing the ball for the sake of passing not really going anywhere. Second half we were a bit more direct with runners going beyond and we got a lot of joy, especially with Kevin Cawley getting in behind, the boys were great I will never question their effort but that last minute goal was a killer.
Saturday, March 18, 2017 5:35:06 PM
Jim Goodwin after 0-0 draw at Methil
I thought today we just lacked that wee bit of a cutting edge in the final third, but again I could never question my player’s commitment or attitude, defensively I thought we were excellent, really pleased with a clean sheet but I am well aware we need to win our games between now and the end of the season to close the gap, so we are disappointed not to get the win but East Fife have only lost one game in the league in their last 13 games, against ourselves at the Indodrill Stadium at the end of February, Barry Smith has them well organised, they have loads of energy, they are a good team, there have been many a team who have come here and struggled. I thought we dominated the second half but never really created any great opportunities.
We are still in a great position; we had won four on the bounce before today, unfortunately we weren’t able to get the win today, the lads have been terrific, absolutely fantastic and I keep saying week after week we will never stop going right till the end of the season. Until it is impossible for us to win the League we will never stop going right till the end, we will do all we can to continue to put pressure on Livingston, fair play to them today grinding out a result against difficult opposition against Stranraer at Stair Park. However there are still eight games to go and anything can happen and we have still to go to Livingston and we still believe we can win it.
We now move on to another difficult game on Tuesday night against Brechin City, they have picked up a bit of good form in recent weeks and they have been excellent. It is always a difficult venue, I don’t think the pitch is in any great shape, so hopefully we don’t get too much rain and the game goes ahead - we expect another tough game up there, we managed to grind out a win up there the last time and hopefully we can do the same on Tuesday night.
Sunday, March 12, 2017 3:32:02 AM
Jim Goodwin after victory over Stenhousemuir
Huge win, but we were not at our best, that’s four wins in a row now, the boys have been in great form, really pleased to get the job done, we made hard work of it as the second half wore on but delighted to get the three points, with Livingston losing the gap is now back to seven points. Livingston have set the standard and they have been the team to catch but we have always said in recent weeks we will never throw in the towel and we will keep going right till the end as you say the gap is now back to seven with nine games to play and we still need to play Livingston themselves, we just need to focus and concentrate on our own job and make sure we are picking up points, at 1-1 with fifteen minutes to go we made a change and went all out attack and thankfully it paid off.
I’m very lucky to have the squad of players I have and have good options, Steven Hetherington and Jon Robertson were out today due to suspension, but even then my bench looks pretty strong so to take two big members of the squad out of it completely and still have these attacking options is great. Jamie Longworth has did brilliant coming off the bench and I know he has been frustrated by lack of match time but when he has come on he has always made an impact and has scored some important goals and Stef McCluskey also came on to freshen it up, it was nothing to do with Iain Flannigan or Kevin Cawley performances all I did was to try and freshen things up.
Big Dylan Mackin has been fantastic since he came in he is still only a young boy, a bit raw, he is an old fashioned number nine and that is what we have been lacking since the start of the season, he competes well, he is a nightmare for centre half’s, he holds the ball up well, links the game up well and did fantastic for the opening goal when other people might have lashed at it with their right foot he had the composure to “Cruyff” him turning the ball back onto his left and scored a great goal and then he did well for the penalty as well. Overall the team performance was great but overall we spoke amount just how important the win was regardless of wanting to go out and play great football because we have these types of players but when needs must we need to roll our sleeves up and I thought we did that very well.
For the penalty the centre half clearly kicked my striker and you could hear the sound of the boots being kicked so I thought the referee got it right, I thought Dylan was very honest early on about five minutes before that when he gets kicked again in the box and he tried to stay on his feet when possibly other people might have went down so I did think it was a penalty. I know Stenhousemuir will be disappointed not to have taken something from the game, I thought their performance was very good you can see they are a team fighting for their lives at the bottom of the league and they deserve huge credit for their performance today and made the game as competitive as it was.
Wednesday, March 01, 2017 1:45:00 PM
Jim Goodwin after Alloa ended East Fife’s 10 game unbeaten run in league
Really pleased obviously, I’m delighted to get three wins in a row, it’s been a long time since we had done that, we have to go back to the start of the season. You can see the boys are playing with a lot of confidence, I thought there were some fantastic passages of play, we weathered the storm early doors, I thought East Fife started the better team in the first ten minutes, but after that little spell they had, I thought we dominated the game for long periods. Delighted with the three goals, the quality of all three goals was excellent - the build up to the first one, the second one when Jordan and Dylan have a little one two in the middle of the park, Kevin makes a great forward run and strike and the third one, I was delighted for Jamie because he has been a bit frustrated by the lack of game time but he comes on for the last half an hour and makes an impact and that’s what we want from the substitutes and that’s what we want from the squad. I’m a very lucky manager to have the strength in depth I have and to be able to call on guys like that to come on and make the kind of impact that he did.
I hate singling out players but I thought my two centre backs were outstanding again , along with Calum Waters & Scott Taggart, the boys in the attacking areas get a lot of credit and it will be their pictures which always are seen in the papers, but the job that the boys at the back do is absolutely immense, they are extremely brave they defend their box well, they are so desperate to keep a clean sheet they are even putting their bodies on the line at 3-0, when other teams might switch off, our keeper makes a fantastic save with three minutes to go and he is another player who deserves special mention because he couldn’t get into the team for love or money because Neil Parry was in such good form, Neil gets injured and I’m in the fortune position that I can call on my second choice keeper who would probably be a number one at any other club.
We are in a great position just now I don’t want to get to carried away, we need to try and keep our feet on the ground, we haven’t achieved anything yet but it is great to be able to apply pressure on Livingston, the kind of pressure I spoke about at the beginning of the week and it takes us into Saturday’s game with a lot confidence.
Craig McDowall has went into the team and been fantastic that’s a couple of clean sheets he has had as well, that’s the fortunate position I am in and it certainly gives us something to think about, he’s in just now and he will keep the jersey and will play again on Saturday.
Every game is just as important as the last and we try not to get too carried away and try and take each game as it comes. Let’s get the tactics right for Saturday, the pitch is not ideal I think by all accounts it is pretty boggy so that is something we will need to take into consideration, it won’t allow us to play the kind of football we enjoy, we will adapt and Brechin City will be another very tough opponent, they have had a great result tonight defeating Queen’s Park 3-1, so we are well aware of how difficult that task will be as well, but we are looking forward to it the boys are confident and in a great frame of mind prior to the game.
Sunday, February 26, 2017 2:39:45 PM
Jim Goodwin after victory over Airdrieonians
It was a great performance, we started the game really well and went two goals up and it could have been three or four having had a couple of one on one’s but we then dropped of the game a little bit and found ourselves getting a little too deep and Airdrie came back into the game in the first half but overall very pleased that we were able to follow up the good performance and result last week at Hampden Park against Queen’s Park, it was another huge three points and a good victory against a good Airdrie side.
We spoke about our starts to games a few weeks ago, when we were gifting teams one goal of a start and now we have managed to turn that corner, defensively we have been fantastic in the last four or five weeks with big Andy Graham & Frank McKeown immense but getting the first goal in the game was huge it’s really important and gives the lads a lot of confidence. Big Andy Graham was on a hat-trick, we were talking about it on the bench, if we got a penalty would he take it? The big man was outstanding it would have been very easy at his first goal just to lash at it but he was very calm and composed and he just lifted it over the keeper into the net from a couple of yards out, we had been working hard on corners at training, the quality of the deliveries we get from Calum Waters and Jordan Kirkpatrick on that particular occasion a great ball, a fantastic run and great header, these are the things we work hard on and can control, I thought the boys were excellent and their management of the game towards the end in the last ten/fifteen minutes when they saw the game out, killed it which was brilliant.
Airdrie are a very good team and a full time team, they clearly work hard during the week on counter attacking teams and they were very brave, Mark Wilson deserves a lot of credit because he sets his team up as an attacking side. We spoke about it before the game and during the week, when we are attacking that is when we will be at our most vulnerable defensively and I think you saw that today, they allowed our front four to stay up the park and when we lose possession in their final third then they break on you at pace they have good players in Adam Brown, Iain Russell and Andy Ryan - they have good energy and pace. They were always going to have a spell in the game and at that moment we just had to regroup and get the two full backs in nice and narrow, midfielders drop off the game and just see it out and we did that.
At half-time with our noses in front we made a tactical change and I was really pleased with Stevie Hetherington when he went on, Greig Spence was obviously disappointed but he realised why we made the decision and I think it was justified with the three points. I explained to Greig when we were going up the tunnel at half-time, we couldn’t continue in the second half the way we ended the first half it was as simple as that, we were getting over run in the middle of the park and they were causing us problems in the wider areas, so I went with five across the middle of the park to stop their full backs getting forward, they never got as much joy as they did at the end of the first half and Greig took it in the professional manner I expected him to be, he was disappointed he didn’t get another goal, he had a couple of opportunities but he will be back in on Tuesday.
Sunday, February 19, 2017 3:23:26 PM
Jim Goodwin after victory at Hampden Park
A great start and finish to the game, I am over the moon with the result, it probably wasn’t our best performance of the season, but the boys were terrific, we dug in at times. I thought we did better in the second half than we did in the first half and I’m really pleased with the clean sheet as well. We defended admirably throughout, Frank & Andy were outstanding, they defended everything that came into the box and nullified Queen’s Park if you like.
Great for Greig Spence to score the 8,000th SPFL goal, he is so clever around the box, Queen’s will be disappointed in the manner of the goal they conceded but Greig is always anticipating that type of chance, he is always one step ahead and I thought he took it well, sometimes in that type of situation you have too much time to think about it, but Greig showed real quality and that’s what he does, score goals and he has been terrific all season.
Jordan’s goal, late in the second half wasn’t a bad goal either! Indeed it is the type of goal he scores regularly in training and we are encouraging all the time to take that type of shoot on because we know he has that quality, I say that to all the front boys, I encourage them to go and be brave, it doesn’t matter if sometimes they go over the bar or goes wide but from time to time you get a little bit of magic like Jordan produced, I was right behind it and had a great view as soon as it left his boot I knew it was net bound, he is a top player.
The title is now Livingston’s to lose, it is fair to say, but you have to give credit to Livingston they have been fantastic and the most consistent team in the league up till now and rightly sit at the top of the table but we will never give up. We will keep going right till the end and try and put as much pressure on them as we can and hopefully close that gap.
We have a massive week coming up we have Airdrie & East Fife both at home Saturday, Tuesday then up to Glebe Park to face Brechin City the following Saturday. Two massive home games coming up, so we will look to carry on the momentum from today and look to be sitting in two weeks time in a really good position and hopefully Livingston might drop some points over this period. We had talked about how drawing matches had been killing us, when you look at the table we had drawn 6 of our last 12 matches, if we had turned a couple of these results into wins then it would look a lot better. We have goals in our team and always score but it is important to gain more clean sheets.
Sunday, February 05, 2017 5:03:52 PM
Jim Goodwin after draw with Livingston
We wanted to win the game and I thought in the first half we played well, Livingston score a decent goal, disappointed we didn’t stop the cross but it was a great header from the boy Mullen, can’t take anything away from that, but we just didn’t start in the second half and that was the disappointing thing, it was the same last week at Coatbridge and the week before against Peterhead - so that is something we need to address and get it sorted and we will talk about that during the week. However again, we showed fantastic character, the lads never give in, I don’t know how many times I have said that this season, they never throw the towel in and they keep going right to the last minute and I thought we were worthy of our goal near the end. We put a number of attacking players on the pitch, we gambled a little bit if you like and even when we had got the score back to 2-2 we were determined to go and get the winner, even then we had to be thankful for Calum Waters getting back and clearing a shot of the line and stop Livingston stealing it at the end.
Overall I was relatively pleased, I was delighted with the big man up front, Dylan Mackin, I thought he did great against two really aggressive centre half’s for a young twenty year old I thought he led the line really well, particularly in the first half when he deserved his goal, overall I thought he was excellent. In the first half the quality of balls to him was better which gave him more to time to hold and link the play but I don’t think we got to grips in the second half. We got a lot of joy in the wide areas in the first half with Calum Waters getting wide and forward. But credit to Livingston they work very hard, they are a very fit bunch and they don’t give you a lot of time on the ball - our boys matched them and went toe to toe with them and I don’t think there was a great deal between the teams, I’m really proud of the lads and their effort and we will be ready to go again.