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    Jim Goodwin on clinching promotion 

    14 May 2018 17:34:07

    Jim Goodwin on clinching promotion

    We had a great chat on Friday night about the number of times we’ve come back from behind to get results. The one that stood out in all our minds, was three or four months ago when we were a goal down to Forfar in the 88th minute, then Kevin Cawley equalised and Kris Renton got the winner in the 93rd minute.

    Nine times in all we have came back from losing positions this season, that’s testament to the players character, or call it resilience, call it never say die  spirit, but they’ve got it and I’m over the moon for them because they never stopped going for it, they never know when they are beat. I won’t lie, there were times when I wondered if the goal would come, and I knew time was running out but they just kept on going, I knew they would never stop, but it did and I also knew when it did and we went into extra-time, then we would go on and win, because fitness wise I doubt if there is a fitter part-time team out there,  I think over the two games who got what we deserved.

    These boys are a credit every single one of them, the ones that started, the ones who came off the bench and the ones who didn’t make this game, we lost a couple of key players in the build up to the game, that itself was a motivation for the other players. They deserve their celebrations I hope they enjoy their night, we will meet again on Tuesday and we’ll look forward now to next season, when the one thing I can promise is that we won’t go up there and grind out nil-nil results, we’ll go and try and play football.

    It was very hard to find space and gaps Dumbarton were very organised they almost play with a back six, so with twenty minutes to go we had to throw caution to the wind and move Andy Graham into the box, if we lost 2-0 or 3-0  at least we had a go and let’s try and win the game.

    The winning goal from Jordan Kirkpatrick, it’s just what he is capable of the loan signings I brought in January have definitely worked and made a positive impact to us but I don’t want to single any one player there were so many good performances.

    I’m over the moon for everybody connected to the club the board right down to the fans we have a lot of volunteers behind the scenes who really do a great job as well and importantly pleased for the players because you don’t get these kind of experiences often and I hope they cherish the moment tonight and enjoy it.

    It’s the best moment of my short managerial career there is no doubt about that, I certainly experienced some good moments as a player but this is different you put an awful lot more into things as a manager, you never stop thinking about the game and I can take a lot of satisfaction but I couldn’t do it without the fantastic staff behind me, help from the board and the chairman it is a real collective effort.

    Now going into the Championship I have a good core of players I want to take with me, I will sit down with them next week and make them offers and hope they will want to come with us, we just want to go and play the exact same way, I believe in the players I believe they are good enough to go and take teams on, pass the ball the way we do, it’s the way we train so we wouldn’t look to play any different. We will try and add more quality to the squad, I have already identified one or two whom I have spoken to, we are now a more attractive proposition now going into the Championship.

    Jim Goodwin

     

    Jim Goodwin after 1st Leg defeat 

    10 May 2018 04:05:08

    Jim Goodwin 1st Leg defeat v. Dumbarton

    Frustrated with the result tonight, would be the best word to sum up my feelings after the match, the boys did everything that we has asked of them, to go and play football, play the ball out from the back, play through the different thirds of the pitch we did all that and in the opening five minutes we were camped in the Dumbarton half and they get a breakaway and their first shot of the game goes in the top corner, so it was hard to take at the time but the reaction of the players was excellent. They kept on doing the right things, they never panicked and were very patient in the build up, we just couldn’t break them down, and that was the most frustrating thing about it.

    Dumbarton are very good at being compact, sitting deep and defending the box well and I thought they done that well, it is difficult we just need to keep going and “Keep Believing” that we can get back in the game, we will go to Dumbarton with the same mindset that we will still try to play football the way we think it should be played and hopefully get a break of the ball in the box because we had some good opportunities tonight - Jordan Kirkpatrick forced their keeper to make a great save in the first half when he tips to ball onto the post and later Callum Smith  had two or three good opportunities, one on one chances where I have to give credit to Craig Barr who slipped back in and got a very good block and then the second one the keeper makes a good save so on another night we would have scored at least one goal but unfortunately tonight we couldn’t quite do that.

    At the goal the TV evidence suggests the ball went out of play but I was right there and it was an obvious decision in my opinion, I’m not one for publically disagreeing with referees but it is difficult when you have the fourth official standing in the same position as me, in fairness to the linesman, I think “Flanny” is in the way of the ball but it was clearly out of play and its one of these ones if you are unsure you go the way of the defender but six or seven seconds after that the ball drops to Stuart Carswell who was an ex teammate of mine, I know I will not hear the end of that one, but I think he has two shots in his whole career and has two goals, so it’s incredible  it was a hell of a strike but that’s how football goes - sometimes you are better being lucky that good.

    Tonight I just wanted the lads to go out and play the way they had all season, I would like to see the possession stats and shots on goal, I can’t remember Neil Parry having much to do and I think their goalkeeper was the busier of the two keepers, I think we dominated possession of the ball I think in was 70/30 or something, the only thing that was missing was a goal. We will go away analysis the game again but I don’t expect anything different from Dumbarton, they get an early goal, sit in and grind out results, fair play to them they are good at it but I would rather my team go about business in the way we did and try and play football in the correct manner and hopefully we can get a goal on Sunday then Dumbarton will need to come out to try and win the game but at the moment I expect them to have a similar game plan to what they had tonight for the last eighty minutes of the game.

    Jim Goodwin

    Jim Goodwin reaching Play-Off Final 

    06 May 2018 16:57:44

    Jim Goodwin after reaching Play-Off Final

    Delighted with our overall performance in both legs of the Semi-Final Tie, we were the better team over the two legs; I don’t think anybody would disagree with that or the end result. Raith Rovers are a fantastic team and came so close to winning the League title, so we knew we would have to be at our best, but the players stood up to everything, to a man, right from the strikers back to the goalkeeper, they were outstanding, even the substitutes when they came on contributed and made an impact doing what you ask them to do and I thought we managed the games particularly well at times, particularly after conceding an early goal in the second half there was still plenty time on the clock from a Raith Rovers point of view to get another goal, we had to stand up to that and I just thought it was a great performance. We knew Raith Rovers would throw everything at us in the second half, we discussed it at half-time and we would look to pick our right moments to counter attack and get at them and I thought we did that really well. Obviously the last goal killed them off and we could all breathe an awful lot easier after that.

    It was a brilliant free-kick from Jordan Kirkpatrick only a week ago at the other end of the ground when their goalkeeper made a wonderful save but “Kirky” tried his luck again today and I don’t think he could have hit it any sweeter, however the kick-off after it was interesting, but the goal was a great moment in the game. There have been some very good individual performances from the lads but collectively as a unit they have been excellent, to be the only team to have come here all season and get a win it speaks volumes of what we put into it.

    Ross ran himself into the ground and it was fitting he got his reward with the winning goal, he has been outstanding since he came and joined us on loan, he is probably up there with the best strikers in the league there is no doubting about that, personally I believe he can move on to the next level, I think St. Mirren are lucky to have him, there is still a bit of developing to do for the big man but he has so many good attributes, he has been excellent for us as have a number of the other players as well. We have a number of our boys who have been named in the PFA Team of the Year which speaks volumes of what their piers think of them as well.

    Delighted but we now have another difficult game to look forward to next week so it is important we recover properly do the right things and get rid of all the knocks and bumps that we have picked up over the last couple of legs and make sure we are right to go again on Wednesday. I think Steve Aitken is one of the most under rated managers in Scotland, for the job that he has done with Dumbarton, to keep them in that league for the number of years he has is incredible. I think Brechin City showed how difficult it is when you go up to the Championship as a part time club, so I have the greatest respect for Steve Aitken and we know they are a very well organised difficult team to break down, I have watched them a couple of times live towards the end of the season and I have footage of them I have also been watching in preparation of next week, so we have done our homework we know what we have to do but I have said it before and I will say it again “ We don’t fear anybody” and I really didn’t care who we got be it Arbroath, Raith or Dumbarton, I know if our boys reach the level as they are capable of they are capable of beating any of these teams. To do that we have to defend as well as we have done up till now and we have players in the forward areas who can hurt anyone, we are really looking forward to it, we go with no apprehension what so ever and look forward to the game.

    Our support was great today, we are always grateful to our supporters, we are a small club but they can make a big difference and I thought they were excellent today, I would also like to say thank you to the Raith Rovers fans who stuck around after the game as well, I thought that was a nice touch and a class act from them as well, I have never seen that before the players certainly appreciated it but I think that speaks volumes how much they appreciated what we had done against difficult full time opposition not just how we managed to grind out the result but the way we tried to play the game overall over the two legs, let’s just hope we can now go and get the job done next week.

    Jim Goodwin

    Jim Goodwin after 2-0 victory 

    02 May 2018 18:54:12

    Jim Goodwin after 2-0 victory in Play-Off 1st Leg

    From start to finish I thought we were excellent tonight, it was a very professional performance, and we defended really well and looked particularly dangerous going forward. The only thing I could be critical of is one thing, we could have been three or four nil up to be honest with you, I think their keeper has made a couple of good saves in the second half, but if you had offered me 2-0 before the game I would have bitten your hand off.

    It puts us in a great position but I will be saying the exact same thing as every manager does in the Play-Off’s -“ Its Only Half-Time”. A two nil lead is a dodgy lead, at 2-0 ahead we are in a good position, much better than being two down, but I am aware of the fact that if Raith Rovers get an early goal on Saturday “Its game on again”.

    So we know on Saturday we will need to be disciplined, we will set up to be hard to beat obviously, and that’s two clean sheets in back to back games against Raith Rovers which I don’t think many teams have did that against them this season. There were some great individual performances tonight but I don’t want to name names because collectively as a unit we looked solid, so it is fair to say I am really pleased.

    Raith Rovers will be disappointed after the weekend and not having won the league it is difficult to pick yourself up after that disappointment but I just thought at 2-0 the message to the boys on the park was not to just be happy with 2-0, particularly when they went down to ten men I felt they were there to be got at. We did try, we had a couple of half chances, Kevin Cawley hit one and the keeper made a good save, Jon Robertson hit a shot which was deflected and the keeper managed to save it with his leg, Callum Crane broke well into the box but didn’t get his shot away and there were other opportunities we could have put the game to bed but as it stands right now we are in a good position but Raith Rovers are a very good side with dangerous players in their forward areas and we will need to make sure our concentration levels are the same on Saturday as they were tonight.

    Unfortunately Stevie Hetherington looks like he has picked up a medial ligament injury and likely to be out for next six weeks before he is back jogging, really disappointed for Stevie, he has been our “Player of the Year this Season” and consistency wise he has been excellent, so he is a big loss to us there is no doubt of that but at the same time Jon Robertson comes in and slots in brilliantly, that is the luxury I have as manager we have put a great squad together and at times like this when you lose players like Stevie Hetherington and PJ Crossan, we still have players who can come in and fill the gaps and we don’t look any lesser a team, so I am privileged to be in that position.

    Jim Goodwin

    Jim Goodwin at Starks Park 

    28 April 2018 17:57:45

    Jim Goodwin at Starks Park

    The game plan before the game from our own point of view today was to be hard to beat, to not put too much energy into the game, we sat off the game rather than play our normal game of going pressing teams high up the pitch with Wednesday in mind, at the same time the message to the boys was “Look if Raith are good enough to break us down and get the goal that they need to go and win the game, then fair play to them”

    However I think we have put in two very professional performances in the last couple of games and I don’t think anyone could question my players or the club for lying down to anyone, I could easily have played a load of kids and let them fight it out, but we tried to be fair we are a professional team and club, from these two games who ever goes on to win the league will have earned the right to win it and that was evident today, the boys put their bodies on the line, it would have been very easy for them to down tools and not go into tackles but that was certainly not the case they are a very proud bunch of lads and I was delighted with their overall performance, I know Raith Rovers will be disappointed but we go again on Wednesday.

    After the game I said to the lads this is a great example of what might come in a couple of weeks, there are three good teams in the Play-Off’s against us - Raith Rovers, Arbroath and Dumbarton and there will come a period in every game against that quality of opposition they will have a spell in the game and at that stage you need to regroup, backs to the wall and see it through be resilient and I think the players did that today, it is great for me to see the togetherness and team spirit in the team, Wednesday night will be completely different we will play more on the front foot on Wednesday and we will go and try and win the game but today I’m just really proud of the players, I asked them to go and do a job and they have done it.

    Delighted with a clean sheet, Neil Parry made a couple of great saves at crucial stages in the game but at the same time I thought we were dangerous on the break. In the first half Jordan Kirkpatrick had a great effort their keeper made a great save tipping it onto the post and later just before half-time Jordan had a free-kick which the keeper touched onto the post and Kris Renton’s header was cleared off the line - we could easily have taken the three points but at the end of the day we are delighted with the performance, the result wasn’t the biggest factor and congratulations to Ayr United in becoming league champions.

    Jim Goodwin

    Jim Goodwin after defeating Ayr Utd 2-1 

    22 April 2018 16:06:30

    Jim Goodwin after victory over Ayr United

    It certainly was a game of two halves I suppose as people would say, I thought we were excellent in the first half for the majority of the time, dominated possession and scored two very good goals especially the first one. The build up for the first goal starts over at Jon Robertson on his side of the pitch at right back and we work it down the other side, a great pass from Stevie Hetherington and fantastic run from Kevin and then “Flanny” put the quality finish to it to open the scoring. The second goal I’m sure Ayr United will be disappointed, Andy Greggan nine times out of ten heads it away but I have to give great credit to Callum Crane for being there, high up the pitch and being as positive as he was and it was a great finish.

    At half-time we spoke about what Ian McCall would be saying in his dressing room and the kind of reaction that he would be looking from his players and we told the boys what to expect, we knew they would come flying at us in the second half because at the end of the day they are trying to win the league. I thought we caused a lot of the pressure on ourselves at the start of the second half, it is the only negative I can take out of the afternoon, the opening five minutes of the second period. We spoke about not giving them a sniff and not playing silly balls into the middle of the pitch and we did that and that’s where their goal came from, but once we had weathered that storm in the opening ten minutes of the second half I thought we found our way back into the game and managed to create some chances of our own.

    Ayr United are a very good side, we knew they would have chances, we know the quality that they possess in the forward areas, I thought for the majority of game we defended well and managed some of their bigger players as well as we could do. I was really disappointed with the penalty to be honest and I’m not one for publicly slagging off referees, I know they can make mistakes, but that was a mistake, I do not know if it was one of those ones where Ayr United have a league to try and win and he doesn’t want to make a colossal decision which costs them the league, so maybe the easier option was to give it because we are not playing for much at the moment but at the same time we want to win the game, it was soft that’s all I can say I have watched it back and if you are going to give penalties for that you will be getting half a dozen a game, I suppose justice was done in the end when Craig Moore missed the penalty and we managed to hold on for a 2-1 win. Ayr United will be bitterly disappointed, that it is now out of their hands, but we will go to Kirkcaldy to face Raith Rovers and I can assure Ian McCall and his team that we will be as professional next Saturday as we were today - we won’t be handing anybody anything, we will give a good account of ourselves next week.

    Jim Goodwin

    Jim Goodwin at Station Park 

    14 April 2018 15:01:59

    Jim Goodwin at Station Park

    The Play Off spot is now virtually sealed, there would need to be an eighteen goal swing in the goal difference and the only way that is going to happen is if I play myself in the next couple of weeks in place of Jamie McCart who will now be suspended - but no we will need to be professional and try and win the next two games but they are very difficult games obviously with Ayr United next Sunday and Raith Rovers the following Saturday, but as far as I’m concerned its job done to be realistic.

    The boys were great today I was really pleased, I said before the game I would take a scrappy 1-0 victory, and I think that is what we got, it just shows you the importance of the performance and result with Stranraer going to Somerset Park against Ayr United and winning.

    Delighted with the players overall, I thought we competed really well, we were aggressive when we needed to be and in the end of the day it was a very professional performance, we managed the game really well. The winning goal was a good goal by the way, it was a really decent build up to it and Callum Crane struck it really well. Other than that I don’t think either team had too many clear cut opportunities, to be honest I don’t think either keeper was worked much, we had  to work hard in the final five minutes when Forfar threw everything at us but overall really pleased.

    Jim Goodwin

    Still need one point 

    07 April 2018 15:52:44

    We are disappointed not to have clinched our place in the Play-Off’s, obviously before the game we knew we needed another point and we impressed the importance of a clean sheet today but unfortunately we weren’t able to that and get us over the line.

    It was a disappointing goal to concede. We are usually very good at set pieces but unfortunately Morgyn Neill gets the better of Andy, and to be fair it’s a decent header.

    I just felt in the first half we were quite flat, we had to lift the tempo and we spoke about this at half-time, but nine minutes into the second half we concede a goal, after we conceded the goal we threw everything at them but unfortunately we couldn’t unlock their defence.

    They’ve done great against us in our four games and they’ve turned into a bit of a nemesis for us, we knew it was going to be a difficult game. However it’s in our own hands we are still in a good position we have three games left, we will just have to go to Forfar next Saturday and try to get the job done there.

    Stranraer sat with their two banks of four, they were very well organized and we just didn’t move the ball quick enough but I can’t be over critical of the lads, we have just came through a seven game spell in March when we scored 18 goals which is a fantastic return from the lads, we have been looking dangerous in recent weeks but unfortunately today it wasn’t quite there.

    We are not panicking by any stretch but at the same time we are taking nothing for granted, we watched Brechin City do it last year, Stranraer are on a very good run of form just now so it is up to ourselves and Arbroath to get the job done and hopefully sooner rather than later.

    We need a point it is as simple as that, we go into every game trying to win and that was no different today - but we didn’t work their goalkeeper enough and we weren’t as good as we normally are, unfortunately it was just one of these afternoon’s. I didn’t feel there was a great deal between the teams, possession wise probably even and I can’t remember either keeper having much to do, it was just that one instance from a corner we switched off, I know they hit the crossbar with a great shot from Kyle Turner and the Stranraer goalkeeper made a good save from Ross Stewart’s header late on from a corner as well when he managed to get a good hand on it.

    We have managed to pick up 21 points from losing positions this season and it took us to go behind again today before we managed to get the intensity levels up to where they need to be.

    Jim Goodwin

     

    Great comeback secures victory 

    05 April 2018 16:01:13

    Jim Goodwin after 3-2 victory comeback

    A great comeback again great character from the lads, the first goal you can accept that as a manager, the players did everything we asked them to do from the set play - Andy Graham was tight with his marker and he managed to nick one round the side, I think it was going wide and Callum Crane kinda swung a leg at it and its ends in the back of the net, you can’t really do a great deal about that as a team, but the second goal was really disappointing defensively from our point of view, it was a poor clearance and then it was just one long ball hooked in behind and Ryan Wallace had acres of space to run into, a great first touch mind you and a great finish but that’s not the kind of goal we concede, so that was disappointing.

    Our first goal came at a good time and to get the second just before half-time we were delighted. Its testament to the players and the character that they have shown to get back to 2-2.  I said at half-time  if we do not concede again we will win this game because I felt we would get another opportunity and although the winning goal had a touch of fortune about it, Jordan’s shot taking a nick of a defender before looping over the goalkeeper’s head but I felt we created enough throughout the game that we should have went on to win the game anyway.

    I think the result was fair, Arbroath are a good team, well organised they play percentage football a lot of the time, you know what you get from them, we knew we would need to roll our sleeves up and get stuck in, but I felt we just edged it today really pleased for the players to be two nil down and win 3 - 2 its testament to their character and team spirit.

    In the final ten minutes I thought their forwards did well and Leighton McIntosh caused us problems, he was unfortunate in the last game getting hooked at half-time having conceded a penalty so he had a point to prove today and he did well. We certainly had to regroup and we knew they would have a spell because they are a decent team but it’s about standing up to that and seeing it out and I think we did that really well and ran the clock down.

    We want to finish as high up the table as we can and cement our position in the Play-Offs as soon as possible, it is not done yet, third place is up for grabs and I don’t think there is any shame finishing third behind two big full time teams.

    Jim Goodwin

    Jim Goodwin at Cliftonhill Stadium 

    24 March 2018 17:45:24

    Jim Goodwin at Cliftonhill Stadium

    I thought today was a very professional performance on a difficult pitch, in the first half I thought we were the better team, at half-time we spoke to the boys and told them to expect a reaction from the Albion Rovers players and I thought they definitely gave that performance in the second half with us penned back for long spells albeit Neil Parry didn’t have too much to do, everything was in front of the back four, but at the same time I would have liked us to be in a bit more control of the play. We said they would have a spell in the game and we felt they did and I think it went on a little bit longer than we would have liked, especially when it went back to 2-1. The goal was disappointing the player came in on his left foot and somebody should have been putting in a tackle.

    Then the boys needed to show great character again and had a couple of chances to score more goals, if you had offered me a 3-1 victory before the start of the game, I would have bitten the hand off you to be honest. The other results kind of went our way but I know it’s an old cliché but we don’t really bother about anybody else, knowing we have a good enough squad with players we have, who can go and beat any team in the league. We go into every game believing we can win it and we expect to win it and I am delighted with another three points.

    A double from Stevie Hetherington, the first one scored with his weaker right foot, the second direct from a corner, we had spoken about set plays before the game, we wanted to try and get things right in on top of them, obviously the wind helps as well but it was a fantastic corner from Stevie, delighted for him he has had a great season, he has been very consistent and long may that continue.

    Jim Goodwin

     

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