DFP Header

“A great night for the club” – The Manager

March 13, 2019 12:46 am Author: AFC Media Team

Reflecting on the win

“I think in terms of the magnitude of the game, it’s big.

“We were kicking ourselves we missed an opportunity to win the first game at Pittodrie as I thought we had the better chances in the game. I’ve listened to all the experts and read everything over the last two or three days and not one person tipped us.

“I took strength from the fact we’ve won in Glasgow before this season.

“We won at Hampden and Ibrox and our away record has been so strong. It doesn’t matter to me if we are home or away and we’ve obviously found the home form a struggle since the turn of the year, but our away form’s been as good as anybody.

“It was a great night for the club.

“We knew we had a tough job on our hands here.

“It’s a real setback for Rangers, but I’m sure they’ll come back from it. Stevie’s a young manager who will go on and do really well here, but for us it was about trying to take on a good team in a certain way. We don’t have the resources and the millions to spend to throw at the team, but what we do have is bucket loads of character and resilience.

“I thought we defended brilliantly as a team and we counter attacked well.

“It was a great start with McGinn taking advantage of a mistake and it’s a lovely finish from Niall. It gives us something early to hang on to. The pressure builds from Rangers and the crowd try their best to get them into it, but I thought we defended very well.

“At half time I sat them down and said we’d been here before ten days ago when we were 1-0 up and very comfortable so it was important they started the second half right. We didn’t want to play last minute football for 45 minutes and still wanted to counter attack. It was difficult conditions and Rangers were dominating the ball. The players were working hard and the second goal comes from a lovely little interchange between Stevie May and Connor McLennan.

“I’ve had maybe better teams with arguably better players over my time here, but I’ve never had resilience and strength and character that these boys are showing at the minute.

“I think it was an average age of just under 24 on Saturday and it was maybe even younger tonight. It gives me every encouragement and great pleasure to see young players deal with that type of game.”

Significance of the win

“It’s significant only because we’re in a semi-final.

“We want to go and win the tournament that goes without saying so it’s significant because we’ve given ourselves a chance to progress in a tournament that we want to win.

“We’re going to do it the hard way. When the draw was made after the match at Pittodrie it’s Celtic and winning the trophy would seem a million miles away for most people, but we’ve overcome a big hurdle tonight and we’re going to have to overcome another hurdle against a good Celtic team.

“We’re disappointed like last season that we’re missing Shinnie for the semi-final. Last year we were without I think four players through suspension and a couple of injuries and it had an impact on us, but we’ve dealt without big players tonight.

“Greg Stewart’s struggling with a hip injury. Mackay-Steven was out along with Sam Cosgrove and that would probably been my front three tonight. McGinn and McLennan played up and they scored both goals with Stevie May leading the line well. It shows we’ve got a bit of strength there that we can cope. Hopefully when the semi-final comes around we’ve got enough to get into a final.
Impact of young players

“He did well Dean. He’s a mature player for a young boy of 17 years of age, and he’s very mature as a person. I think he’ll have learned a lot from tonight. He’s a technical player who likes to get his foot on the ball, but tonight was more about the other side of the game with defending and being smart. If he’s going to take a booking he took it in the right area of the pitch just before we took him off so all these wee things are just harnessing that experience and making him more battle hardened.

“When you see these young ones and you see them in there with Ethan Ross and Dean – I’ve got shoes older than both of them – and they absolutely deal with the game. Ferguson deals with the game as he does everything and it’s great for me to see.

“I’ve had so many kicks in the stomach with players leaving and in the last two or three years and we’ve lost arguably our best players so it’s difficult to replace. The flip side of that is the encouragement and satisfaction you get from younger players coming through.”

The League

“We need to knuckle down in the league.

“The first objective when we meet with the players in pre-season is to secure European football as quickly as possible. We’ve done that every year since we’ve been in and some years we’ve done it very comfortably, but this year we’ve got our work cut out to go and do that. It’s important we knuckle down, enjoy the night clearly and take the confidence from tonight and be ready for a home game against Livingston on Saturday. It’s important we get all three points in that game.”

The Scottish Cup

“It’s a hard game and won’t be an easy game regardless. It will be tough and we’re just glad to be there. Everybody was expecting an Old Firm semi-final so I’m sorry to disappoint those who tipped that and we’ll look forward to that game.”

“We’ve got closer to Celtic in these big games at Hampden or Celtic Park. We’ve been used to Hampden now and we’ve had a couple of real disappointments at the National Stadium in semi-finals, but we’ve also had as many good performances in semi-finals. The fact that we’re going back there again for the third time this year I do feel my players are used to the surroundings of a semi-final or a final and I think that always helps regardless of your opponent.

“Celtic will be firm favourites when the game comes round, but we’re just glad we’ve got the opportunity to get the club into another final.”

Official Club Sponsor

UAV Technology & Analysis Partner