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  • Managers Corner

    Peter Grant at Dens Park 

    Monday, March 02, 2020 7:41:03 PM

    Peter Grant at Dens Park

    Neil Parry had some very good saves but I thought we played very well with the ball, if we had taken care we could have created more chances ourselves, but it was probably the biggest decision I have had to make as a manager to leave young Kieran out tonight, because I think he has been outstanding for us, I know he made a mishap on Saturday but it was nothing to do with that, I just felt with the centre backs we have missing at the moment we needed to bring someone with a bit more of a presence at this moment in time with experience to help us out and Neil certainly gives us that, he has been training for the past couple of weeks. It is very difficult when you are part-time how to give these players game time, possibly in the reserves but that is not the quality of football Neil needs or the pressure he would be under, so the only way he could get back to this level was through his training, but delighted to have him back but it was probably the hardest decision I have had to make as a manager since I came in.

    Frustration is probably an understatement, if you are honest yourself and some of the decisions were ridicules , the free kick he gave at the edge of the box probably summed it up, Iain Flannigan was facing his own goal the boy smashes him in the back and he gave a free kick to them, which is near impossible but yet again I have said many a time I think it is ok, I have to watch what I say and shout I agree with that 100% but I think any man walking in the street would do the exact same because that is not the rules, play the rules and we are alright, that’s all I ask for. I think Dundee were complaining about time wasting and not sure what for, maybe Neil Parry with a couple of his kicks that is fine but they should be delighted for the decisions they were getting.

    I think Dundee are a right good side you see the squad of players they have, I had guys coming back after injury, Neil Parry has been out since the start of September, Jon Robertson has been out the last four games and hasn’t trained but because of injury to Blair Malcolm and Robbie Deas being ill, Andy Graham has been out long term we had to shuffle the group roundabout but the one thing I have said many a time about this group of players, they show great desire, Ben Stirling could hardly walk at half-time and I thought we were going to have to make a substitution but he wanted to get through the game and I thought he was outstanding, you get a wee bit frustrated because we played a  lot of good football and if we had taken care in some of the very good areas and people forget we had the very first chance of the game when we should score, Scott Banks did great down the side and rolled the ball back to Kevin O’Hara but he put his shot over the bar and then it would have been a right pressure pot for them but the referee tried to keep them in it with his performance and Neil had to make the saves from a lot of that.

    Peter Grant

    Peter Grant after home defeat to Ayr 

    Friday, February 28, 2020 5:58:03 PM

    Peter Grant after home defeat to Ayr United

    It was a game we made an error, young Kieran Wright knows that, he has held his hand up, that’s probably the youthfulness in him as well, as a young goalkeeper we know you are always going to have mistakes but then he had a World class save at the end, but losing the opening goal put us on the back foot and that is now in both games we have played Ayr we have lost early goals.

    We had a lot of the ball and created chances, missed them, and football is what you do in both boxes and we weren’t clinical enough, in a game maybe Ayr had three shots on goal and they got two goals and the save from Kieran right at the end of the match. Obviously very disappointed with the result but yet again I thought it took us a little bit time in the first half to get going, we adjusted a little bit, created the chances and their keeper had a couple of fantastic saves, but for me they were bad misses, we need to be more ruthless and it proved costly in the end but fair play to Ayr United they kept going and their winning goal to go 2-0 ahead was a strike which was going in the top corner, I don’t think we lose to shots which seem to go in, but in the top corner, but Ayr are capable of that, they have good players they are a good side but it would be remiss of me to say the players did anything wrong today, the disappointment in the dressing room is the fact of the distance they have came, dominating a lot of the play, had more shots on goal, but you have to be more ruthless in front of goal , or you will never win games of football.

    Peter Grant

    Peter Grant after 3-2 win 

    Saturday, January 25, 2020 12:40:46 PM

    Peter Grant after 3-2 victory at Dumfries

    A great victory with the players once again showing fantastic character, we have had some of our players who have not been training for a number of weeks now and some putting themselves out there but still not match fit like Alan Trouten, Robert Thomson hadn’t trained all week, Stevie Hetherington, Jon Robertson and Kevin O’Hara hadn’t trained and then Jamie MacDonald has to go off with an injury after we were two goals up, that was a blow physiologically for the players, it doesn’t matter how good your next goalkeeper is the fact that Jamie had to go off lost us a bit of rhythm, Queen’s got it back to 2-2  and were making it difficult for us and put us under pressure the wind appeared to help them but we got it back again. The pleasing thing for me was how we got back into the game, I thought young Ben Stirling came on and was outstanding, his composure, aggression in the air, all the things we were looking for. It is the first time I have had a full bench all season and that is a big thing to have boys to come on and do a job and that was a strength, we just hope not to get any more injuries, it is unusual in the players who have been out like Andy Graham who hadn’t missed a game in five years.

    Paddy Connolly had said to me we had been 3-0 up here at Palmerston before and drew 3-3, the boys were conscious of that and what shows greater character is the fact some of the players would have been involved in that game. For the winning goal Ben Stirling put his head down and made a fantastic move up the side of the pitch and delivered a fantastic ball in and Kevin O’Hara was there to do what he has been doing exceptionally well to put the ball in the net.

    Jamie MacDonald felt a wee pop at the top of his hip just kicking the ball, he felt if it was his left foot he could have carried on but because it was his right which he kicks with predominately he had to come off, we are hoping it will not be too long, if he misses next week hopefully he might be fit for following week that’s what we hope but he will go in for a scan at Kilmarnock on Monday.

    Andy Wilson only just returned to the club after a period on loan at Petershill where he had done well, he was fantastic I am delighted for him, young Chris Henry had been on the bench and I am always conscious of young boys not getting games of football so he went to Petershill to get match time, it is important that young players get time on the pitch. Andy pulled off magnificent saves although he will need to work on his kicking obviously, but the saves were match winning saves. The first eleven players look after themselves but your substitutes are so important and that’s why I said I was delighted to have a full bench today letting us adjust at certain times in the game.

    Peter Grant 

    Peter Grant after Cup exit 

    Friday, January 17, 2020 5:10:43 PM

    Peter Grant after Scottish Cup exit

    Obviously disappointed to go out of the cup, we got ourselves back into the game at 2-2 and in general in the game we were always in it, people keep telling me about the saves Jamie MacDonald makes but Mark Ridgers had a couple of wonder saves today. As a result I think it is an unfair result to be honest with you but that is what football is it is never kind to you and we have found it difficult to beat Inverness this season, they are a big side and sometimes when you are six foot plus and they are a big side not just one or two off their players over six foot, it makes it difficult to pick them up all the time but we have to be better on the second ball, we have a habit of watching the ball on the first header and I think that’s what cost us late at the end today.

    Another two great goals by Kevin O’Hara and that’s why we are delighted to keep him, I think that was very important for us, but you have to give credit to Robert Thomson who came on and did well as did young Lee Connelly who came on for his debut. We had guys out there who hadn’t trained for a while giving everything that they have got and sometimes maybe the fatigue causes the concentration levels at times to fall, these guys are working every day of their lives and sometimes fatigue kicks in and I genuinely think that can happen and I think that’s what happened at the set play, if you don’t win the first ball you definitely need to win the second.

    The Scottish Cup is so special everybody loves to be involved in it, it is a great platform for any professional footballer to try and go as far as you can, you always want to put yourself out their when people come to watch Scottish Cup ties that’s what it is all about and that’s why we are disappointed to have went out of the completion.

    The boys will now have to pick themselves up and go again on Tuesday night, every game for us now between now and the end of the season is big but this game is massive there is no way of getting away from that, there is not one bigger than the other and I keep going back and people will laugh, on the last day of last season three teams could have went down and yes we know we will be fighting right till the death. Hopefully we will keep trying to get bodies in to add to the squad but it is very difficult because of the financials, not what we are offering but just to get them here - to pay them, stay in hotels whatever, the part we are part-time. Its different if you are full-time you can bring them in and keep them all week, we have to get them here, take them back down the road and bring them here and it works out too expensive and we cannot pay premier league wages that is just impossible for us but we are trying. I have a great group of boys here but it is just having them all fully fit, we will try to get another one or two in but then we have an opportunity to do ourselves justice.

    Peter Grant

    Peter Grant after draw with Partick 

    Saturday, January 04, 2020 11:52:39 AM

    Peter Grant after draw with Partick Thistle

    Frustration is probably an understatement today, I think some of the decisions, which I said after the first penalty, he is desperate to give another one, I had hardly had said the words out of my mouth and the second penalty kick was given. I just thought how can the ball travel 30 yards by the post and over the bar become a penalty kick? I have watched it back, Joe Cardle has actually fell and young Blair Malcolm puts his hands on his back as Cardle’s fell and he gives a penalty kick which was disgusting to be perfectly honest with you. 

    I thought it was a proper game with two teams trying to win, Jamie MacDonald had some great saves from distance, which is what we expect from him but their goalkeeper also had to make great saves as well, it was a good Championship game, just disappointed that it will be remembered for the wrong headlines.

    I have been asked did the effort in the first half cross the line when Scott Fox appeared to scoop it back, when Scott saved, it actually hits the net when he saves it but I couldn’t pass judgement on that one. This is where the dialogue with referee’s, or their supervisors who come to the games would help, rather than come back later and agree that was an error or mistake because if these were penalty kicks, God Almighty! There is no point trying to speak to the officials after the game, it’s a waste of time. Managers lose their jobs, players get criticized for missing chances, there could be ten guys watching up stairs but it doesn’t matter because nobody hears want they do. It is unfortunate on the linesman because I was battering his ears and I have sympathy with them, there was an incident in the middle of the pitch just after Kevin Cawley had been smashed for the same thing and that’s the frustration I now do not know what is a free kick or penalty kick. If he is saying it was handball in the box then the ball that drops over the players arm right at the death in this corner, hits him on the back of his arm, the boy doesn’t mean it but it hits his hand, so if the first one was a penalty kick then that also must be a penalty kick and that’s the frustration but I did believe it was a proper game, as I said when Ian McCall went in at Partick Thistle they would be the least of my worries because they would have enough players and quality to be fine.

    Now all of a sudden we have a wee run but we still have players unavailable and I think people forget that, we are doing this with guys who have came in and to a man have been excellent, I have been chuffed with them, last week I said I was proud of them and they keep going again today but there were periods in the game we should see out. If we go 1-0 in front we should stay in front, because we are good enough with the ball to do that but to do that you need a little help at times and I do not think we are getting that.

    Everybody’s talking about Jamie MacDonald and nobody was touching him, it has worked very well for us and Jamie remembering he hadn’t played for over a year, he has said that himself and he is a fantastic professional, our situation is as soon as Neil Parry is fit, Jamie has to go back but Neil is a long way off to being fit, so I am hoping we can keep Jamie but that is not in our hands, medically we can keep him on an emergency loan but we never know what Kilmarnock might want to do with a change of management at the club.

    We have played really well, probably about 3 or 4 times maximum we have not played well, I just think incidents when you are playing against teams with a big support and they are behind that goal and there is half a decision going to go and the crowd make a roar and I played with a team which was similar so I know what it is like there are decisions being made and they are not the correct decisions and that happened today but it has also happened before. It happened at Dunfermline we were winning 1-0 and the ball hit their strikers hand and leads to a goal it is no goal, the ball came off the boy Nisbet, he didn’t try to handle it but it came up hit his arm and he played it to the side and they score and got an equaliser, so that’s where my frustration comes from - I just do not know what a free kick is nowadays and every week you ask the linesman and I feel sorry for them because I am bursting their ears at times but they need to agree with the referee on the pitch, so they can surely see because I am watching it but they don’t ask the referee or come back and that is annoying.

    Thistle finished the game strongly so maybe a draw was a fair result at the end of the day, but the way we drew the game was disappointing.

    Peter Grant

    Peter Grant after victory at East End Park 

    Sunday, December 29, 2019 3:52:11 AM

    Peter Grant after victory at East End Park

    Delighted, I can’t think of a prouder performance as a coach, not just because of the result but considering I was actually picking and organising the team only an hour before the game due to injuries and giving the players the best chance possible to try and see if they were fit and then move the positions around depending who we could put out on the park.

    It is fantastic credit to the boys, some played not fully fit and I think the guts and determination showed won the game. We weren’t brilliant on the ball today but against the ball we were brilliant to a man, but we cannot forget in the first half Jamie MacDonald had a wonderful double save at an important time in the game for us but I think we deserved that due to the work ethic we put in.

    Every manager has a game plan but is about the players carrying it out and I think they deserve great credit for that. People will say to me about the squad being small, the reason it is small and I have said this many times, because there are not many guys who can come into this squad, which might sound crazy when we are bottom of the league, but they would need to come in and improve this group, which will take a special type of character. We had Alan Trouten and Andy Graham coming in today and trying to get themselves fit, we had Kevin O’Hara putting himself fit because they all want to play, Jon Robertson in recent weeks has moved from position to position and Scott Taggart having to cover at centre back today, so you have to give them unbelievable credit for that. Managers all have a plan sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but it is the diligence of the players and their will to put the work in. It is easy when you are at the top of the league, but when you are at the bottom of the league and trying to do as we trying to do and play the way we do and show that type of performance at a very difficult venue I can’t be any prouder.

    Kevin O’Hara has been sensational for me although I’ve had to play him in different positions but I have always said I want to play him as a striker because having watched him as a young boy and he was moved from left to right and I understand why people put him out wide because of his pace but credit to him he worked his socks off, considering he only trained on Thursday for twenty minutes, delighted with him and that’s seven goals already this season, but to man I was delighted with all my players today and I am really proud of them.

    Peter Grant


    Peter Grant after home defeat to Morton 

    Saturday, December 21, 2019 1:37:12 PM

    Peter Grant after home defeat to Morton

    We lost the game in a ten minute spell, we knew that Morton would put us under pressure from crosses and second balls but the way we lost the first goal, we defended it then tried to play out of defence and got caught which was silly, the ball came back in and you can see the wonder strike and sometimes a strike like that can give yourself a lift. We then don’t pick up and it’s the one thing Morton will always do is ask questions at the back, we knew Morton would put crosses into our box and that is the time our concentration levels needed to be at our best and we got caught out again in that ten minute period which cost us the game.

    A lot of people were telling me the goal we had chalked off for offside looked like in was on side but Morton manager David Hopkin could also say his side should have had a penalty it is unfair the game is so quick now and I understand that, I have battered referee’s left right and centre so I think this time I have to be fair I have not seen the incidents back their penalty claim or our goal. We all know goals change games and I am not sure Nicky Cadden will score a better goal, it was a wonderful strike but that’s when you have to show your metal and concentrate during that period and we didn’t do that well and that’s what cost us the second goal.

    I think we get into great positions especially in the first half but the final ball was not good enough, Morton defended well so you need to give them credit, we got into good areas but when we had the opportunity to have a strike we took an extra touch and that’s why I go down to one touch training because I think, why take an extra touch because you will not get that opportunity, even at the highest level you get minimal time and at our level as well it is very difficult because you are playing against decent players. We have to have the belief to strike the ball early, it can deflect off somebody but get a shot away. We can speak about Jermaine Defoe and he is the best to work with because it is touch and bang and he showed that last night against Hibernian, and we need to get into that habit and there were opportunities we could have done that and that changes the game completely because in between both boxes we are playing a lot of good stuff but what wins you games and trophies and keeps you in leagues is what you do in your own box and in the opposition box and unfortunately we have not been clinical enough or defended well enough in our own box. It is frustrating; yes we had our two main strikers out today and guys on the bench just to make up numbers so it is difficult when we don’t have a lot to change it and that is something I have learned, so we will have to look at it not just changing the personnel, then you have to change everything, especially today and I don’t mean to be disrespectful the players on the bench were not the type of players to change the way and get us goals and that is something we need to look at.

    Peter Grant



    Peter Grant at Somerset Park 

    Friday, December 13, 2019 6:23:06 PM

    Peter Grant at Somerset Park, Ayr

    The two goals we lost today were very poor goals to lose and I know people can blame the conditions which were very difficult in the first half, but the way we play we try to keep the ball on the deck, but defending set plays in these conditions is more difficult. For the first goal we were slow getting out pressing the ball and at the second goal it was a mishit shot and the boy breaks in and gets a goal, we knew we would have to dig in and the conditions affected the first half,  I thought Ayr United deserved to be in front, because of the pressure they put us under but in the second half if we had scored with the chance right at the end, I think it would have been only fair had we scored, but that’s football when you are down and miss that chance and if there is anybody I wanted it to fall to it was Liam Buchanan or Alan Trouten, it was a great save, not a bad miss.

    I do not look at Partick Thistle, even when they were at the bottom of the table, I said I thought they would be fine, they have the players and a full squad, they have two squads of players so I don’t see them having a problem, they are just needing a run of football and a bit of belief, for the rest of us we have guys going out on the pitch at times, who are unfit, that is one of the problems we have at this moment and having to play youngsters. Young Cammy O’Donnell came in from the start today and did very well, it was just a tactical switch at half-time, Adam Brown coming on after a period out through injury and because he has a wonderful strike on him, we also had a couple of suspensions but the one thing about my squad is they all want to play. Robbie Deas is on loan from Celtic and part of the deal is he had to play for them in midweek and he has a bit of a tight hamstring, so it is not easy, but the great credit I have to give to the players, is it is easy to throw the towel in when you are bottom of the league or say you are not fit but all these boys are desperate to play, so for that reason I was really disappointed to lose the game I thought we at least merited a point.

    We stay positive in our approach but we realise you have a problem when you are not winning games of football, that’s the job we are paid to do - coaches, managers, players together, but I would also have liked to have come here and played rubbish and won, but that was not the case and I have a great belief in these guys, I know the way we can play and I know we will create chances and get opportunities but there is a long way to go in this season. I keep saying even in the last day of the season last year there were three different teams who could have went down on the day and that’s where we need to take it, but I would be more worried if we didn’t have the quality of player and hopefully we can bring in some guys to help over the Christmas period in the transfer window.

    We need to start winning games but we also need to start taking the chances when they fall to us and can’t keep conceding the goals we have, simple goals which leave us chasing the games.

    Peter Grant


    Peter Grant at Tannadice 

    Sunday, December 08, 2019 6:28:37 PM

    Peter Grant at Tannadice

    In the first half we had to dig in when you come to places like Tannadice and that was the same when I came as a player, it’s always a place where there is a fast start that’s the way Dundee United play and we gave too many set plays away, throw ins, corners and we were under the cosh a bit. Jamie MacDonald did exceptionally well from long distance shots and we blocked efforts but that is part of the job, but to lose the goal as we did just on half-time, I was really disappointed to say the least because we were in possession of the ball and we should have held it and start again, but we tried to go forward and gave away possession which is lack of experience and a bad time to lose a goal going in at half-time.

    In the second half I thought we played a lot of good stuff, when you look at it the players Dundee United have and everything else which is different between the two clubs, if you had been up here watching the game for the first time and you hear Dundee United fans whistling for the full time whistle, I think that tells you enough of how we finished the game. However losing the second goal as we did, a ball up the inside of our full back shouldn’t happen, but how can Scott Taggart be five yards in front and then Louis Appere be five yards in front of him - there is only one way as he pulled him back. I don’t like complaining about things like that after you have lost a game of football. We are not Dundee United, we are not one of the big clubs but we look for the same consistency of decisions. I feel for the referees because of all the new decisions but when they start to cost you and they have this season.

    Dundee United supporters were desperate for the final whistle and near the end Robbie Thomson should have a strike, we created the chance and he knows that but the players take great credit for the way we tried to play here and in the two games we have played Dundee United I think we have been more than a match for them, but they can ask questions in a different way because of the players they have but I give nothing but credit to these boys but the bottom line is we have to learn how to win that’s the bottom line in football.

    Peter Grant  


    Peter Grant after home defeat to ICT 

    Saturday, November 30, 2019 2:19:18 PM

    Peter Grant after home defeat to Inverness CT

    I thought the team were outstanding, but goals change games everybody knows that and the timing of the goals weren’t ideal but I can’t give nothing but praise to the players, we created chances, maybe not enough, we got in right good positions, probably the final shot or pass wasn’t good enough and consistent enough, but effort and commitment people always talk about and I thought the way we played was outstanding, but at important times in the game we missed good opportunities and that final pass.

    A couple of decisions including the first goal, I heard Jamie shouting but Scott had decided to head it which lead to an own goal, and losing the second goal just on the stroke of half-time was crucial which gave us a mountain to climb in the second half.

    Then we lost a player, to be fair I would like to see it again, I usually got a bonus for a tackle like that but now it is an ordering off! It would be unfair to criticise the referee without seeing it again. I thought in the first half we should have had a penalty kick when at 0-0 for a tackle on Alan Trouten which beggars belief, considering the free kicks the referee then gave later for wee shoves, so it must have been a stone waller if that was the case. If we had managed to go 1-0 up, against our style of play, it would have been very difficult for the opposition but they got the lift at the right time but I can’t heap nothing but praise on my players.  

    It is again nice to hear opposition managers praise our players and the fact that many of them could make it as full time players, I have no doubt in these players talents but the bottom line is we are second bottom of the league, although our performances might not deserve that position, we have maybe had 3 below standard performances this season but for me the players give everything and we are playing the hardest way to play at the moment because of our position in a very difficult league, we might have to be more ruthless in both boxes, with a desire not to concede and the desire to get in the box and finish which is most important, what you do outside these boxes is nice, good to watch, great movement but the bottom line is we need to win games of football and find a way to win. I know I have the players who can win games, I know the way we play will win us games but we have to stop losing silly goals. If we had got the penalty kick I believe it would have been a completely different game.

    Peter Grant

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