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    Jim Goodwin after defeating Ayr Utd 2-1 

    Sunday, April 22, 2018 4:06:30 PM

    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 

    Saturday, April 14, 2018 3:01:59 PM

    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 

    Saturday, April 07, 2018 3:52:44 PM

    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 

    Thursday, April 05, 2018 4:01:13 PM

    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 

    Saturday, March 24, 2018 5:45:24 PM

    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

     

    Jim Goodwin after draw at Excelsior Stadium 

    Tuesday, March 20, 2018 7:59:02 PM

    Jim Goodwin after draw at Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie

    Absolutely delighted with the second half performance, I thought the players were outstanding in team spirit and togetherness, I think we were camped in Airdrie’s half for probably about half an hour in the second half. We had lots of opportunities, lots of chances, could have scored more goals again if we had been a little bit more clinical and tidier up around the eighteen yard line. We obviously missed a penalty, I think if the penalty had gone in it would have gone on to be three or four.

    The first half there was nothing in the game apart from a wonder strike from Darryl Duffy and the potential hand ball in the build up to their second goal, but really pleased to come in at 2-1. Delighted with the referee to have the courage to give the first penalty, sometimes you don’t get them particularly away from home. At half-time the message was “We know we can play better” and we did, that was as good a half an hour of football probably we have put together in a long time. There were so many performances individually but collectively as a team we looked great and I can’t remember Airdrie having too many opportunities in the second half without being disrespectful I thought they had looked a threat in the first half, at times it looked like we have an attack, you have an attack and it was like a game of tennis at times but second half we completely dominated, anybody at the game would see we dominated the game and if any team was going to go on and win the game it definitely was us.

    We are disappointed not to take the three points but when you go 2-0 behind, if somebody offers you a point at half-time you would take it, but on the balance of the second half and how we dominated and created chances I think even the most biased Airdrie fan would probably admit we were the better team - but that’s football at the end of the day, it’s another point towards where we want to get to and now look forward to Saturday.

    Jim Goodwin

    Jim Goodwin after home draw 

    Sunday, March 18, 2018 4:55:23 PM

    Jim Goodwin after home draw against Airdrieonians

    Frustrated after taking the lead twice and only taking one point, although the thing is we bounced back from the disappointing result against East Fife on Tuesday evening.

    I thought we started the game ever so well and Jordan Kirkpatrick had a great opportunity in the opening minute of the game which could of put us one up. The first half I was really pleased we had a number of good opportunities and probably could have scored another couple of goals. The message at half-time was just to go out and do more of the same, Airdrie were always dangerous on the break, we spoke about that before the game, they have good players in the attacking areas that can hurt you and they have decent pace in their team. I thought we managed them particularly well in the first half but we never really started the second half, that was the most frustrating thing for me - so intead of going out and doing the same again we do the polar opposite, Stephen Findlay was obviously looking for a reaction from his players and we expected them to come out better than they had in the first half but at the same time I think we need to be better, to sit back and try and defend for ten or eleven minutes it was inevitable that the goal was coming. It was decent goal from Airdrie’s point of view but a poor one from our point of view - Duffy gets the ball far too easy in and around our eighteen yard box a great finish from him but we could do a lot more in the build up to the goal.

    We keep going and had opportunities again, as the game went on I thought we finished the game the stronger, it looked as if anybody was going to win the game it probably was going to be us - Callum Crane hits the crossbar from 40 yards, Ross Stewart had a header from a couple of yards out and there were other bits and pieces but probably overall a draw was the correct result.

    Airdrie are a good team and we will face them again on Tuesday night it will be another difficult game so I will plan for another game similar to today, we are hopeful that Scott Taggart only suffered a knock, he will come in and see the physio either tomorrow or Monday and we will assess his fitness, but he wasn’t in any great pain after the game it was just the initial dunt but we expect “Taggs” to be ok.

    Jim Goodwin  

     

    Jim Goodwin after home defeat 

    Tuesday, March 13, 2018 8:57:50 PM

    Jim Goodwin after home defeat from East Fife

    Very disappointed, I didn’t think there was a great deal in the game, I didn’t think either team did a great deal to win the game, the goals were poor from our point of view, we should have dealt with the first goal better at the near post area from the corner, the second goal, albeit a fantastic finish from Chris Duggan but really poor defensively from our point of view, how he got past three of our defenders is beyond me. It is what it is, we threw everything at them in the last fifteen minutes but unfortunately we didn’t quite get the break in the box.

    I’m not one for slagging off officials, I spoke to the referee afterwards and my opinion was “That it was a very soft red card”. I fully expected a yellow, I thought Garry Fleming was a wee bit frustrated, the ball was in the middle of the pitch, it was a trip, not a malicious tackle, he didn’t even catch the guy, I would understand if he had caught him high up the leg or something, that would warrant a red card, but it definitely wasn’t a red card, so hopefully we have good footage of that and we might be able to appeal?

    We now have big games coming up with a double header against Airdrie on Saturday and then again on Tuesday  and we certainly would not want to lose him albeit we have guys in the squad who could come in, there is not an issue there but at the same time I don’t want to lose a player if it is not justified.

    We will go again on Saturday, there is no issue with team spirit, I think tonight was a game which probably deserved to end in a draw, it was a great finish for the winning goal but I don’t think there was a great deal between the teams. We are quite fortunate with the cushion we have between ourselves and teams around us, East Fife are six points behind having played one game more, Stranraer are seven points behind having also played one game more, Airdrie aren’t out of it either. We feel tonight we have allowed East Fife back in the race for a Play-Off spot and I have just reminded the players of last season when Brechin City came with a last minute run and you know where it led to, they were nowhere near 4th place. So I don’t want our lads sitting in a comfort zone thinking that we are good for a Play-Off place, but there is still a lot of football still to be played, there are 8 games left and we have to play every one of them now like a Cup Final if we are to clinch a Play-Off position at the end of this season.

    Jim Goodwin

     

    Jim Goodwin at Hampden Park 

    Saturday, March 10, 2018 4:36:23 PM

    Jim Goodwin after victory at Hampden Park

    Obviously delighted to win the game, especially after the good performance against Arbroath in midweek it was important that we followed that up, the three points is the most important thing, in the first half I didn’t think there was a great deal in the game I always knew there was more to come from us, unfortunately it took going behind before we got going again. Once again great character from the lads having gone the goal down and then getting that reaction, there were three fantastic goals in the game - the goal that the boy Keena scores for Queen’s Park was an absolute worldly and you could try it another nine or ten times and he wouldn’t be able to do what you had done, so fair play to him.

    The most pleasing thing for me was our reaction to going behind, and Callum Crane soon got us right back in the game with a terrific shot into the bottom right hand corner of their net, and then Jordan Kirkpatrick with a wee bit of brilliance in the middle of the park to get away from two or three Queen’s Park defenders and my view was right behind it as soon as it left his foot I knew it was going in, I was delighted for him as well as I know he has been a little frustrated with not being able to get back on the score sheet since he returned to the club but he has played a big part up till now since he came back in January but I know he wants more goals which hopefully that will be the start of that.

    I made the four changes in the side from midweek because I am in a position that I have a good squad and we have seven games in March so I am trying to manage the squad as best as I can, Stevie Hetherington didn’t train on Thursday after the midweek game he had a niggle with his calf and toe, so I didn’t want to risk him, but really tried to freshen things up and I think when I have the type of squad at my disposal it would be silly not to do that. I don’t think the changes effected the overall performance, I am confident the changes I make will be like for like but when we went back to our normal 4-3-2-1 in the second half  the boys looked a lot more comfortable.

    With nine games left we must concentrate on our own job and try not to worry about Stranraer, Airdrie or East Fife or any other team around us, but just concentrate fully on what we can control which started today against Queen’s Park and in midweek against East Fife a team we always have a difficult tussle they always give us a tough game and they have beaten us twice already this season, so we will look to continue our winning run but we have a lot of huge games coming up, after the East Fife midweek game we have a double header against Airdrieonians on Saturday and then again on the Tuesday but we want to focus fully on East Fife game this Tuesday just now, the boys will recover well Sunday, Monday and then hopefully we will have a fully fit squad to go again on Tuesday and I will make changes again, I have spoke about this to the players already to be fair to them as well but I will freshen things up again on Tuesday night.

    Jim Goodwin

    Jim Goodwin after victory over Arbroath 

    Wednesday, March 07, 2018 3:45:50 PM

    Jim Goodwin after victory over Arbroath

    I couldn’t have been any happier at half-time to be honest with you and I think if we had came in, without being disrespectful to Arbroath, if we had came in seven nil up at half-time there couldn’t have been too many arguments, Scott Taggart has one cleared off the line and there were another couple of chances as well. I was over the moon at how we started the game, we spoke about that before the game, and how we have been slow from the first minute, but today I felt we were on the front foot from the beginning of the game and being 3-0 up after fifteen minutes, the quality of the goals as well as the football was really pleasing on the eye.

    The second half we didn’t play to that standard again, it’s the old cliché of goals changing games, we were 4-1 comfortable in the lead before we lost a goal when the ball went through big Neil Parry’s legs, these things happen, Big Neil, in my opinion is the best goalkeeper in the league, we are very lucky to have him but unfortunately that goal goes in and it causes a little bit of tension if you like around the place and we just kind of lost our way for ten minutes after that but again we played ourselves back into the game, I felt we did that and had another couple of great chances, their goalkeeper David Hutton made a couple of fantastic saves firstly from Jordan Kirkpatrick which he tipped over the bar and the header from Ross Stewart which he saved with his feet - we could have scored more goals, I made that challenge to the boys prior to the game, defensively we have been outstanding this season, we have the second best defensive record in the league but we have been falling short in front of goal and I felt with the quality of players we have and have brought to the club in January as well we should be putting teams to the sword more than what we have been and I think against a team as well organised as Arbroath and are doing as well, for us to go and score five goals against them is absolutely fantastic. I’m delighted for the boys up front but we could have been a bit better in the second half, I thought we could have managed the game better but if you had offered me five goals and three points before the game I would have bitten the hand of you.

    Delighted for Ross to get his first ever hat-trick he is a fantastic talent, a player I have a lot of time for, he is a great boy as well with a good attitude loves the game and it wasn’t that long ago he was playing junior football he got his opportunity with Albion Rovers where he caught the eye, it has been well documented that I tried to get him but as soon as a full-time club came in for him you expect the boy to take that opportunity. I still think there is more to come from him, he leads the line well but he is not just a target man, he is very mobile for a big boy he has great feet and he has an eye for goal, long may that continue we have a busy period coming up now so it is a great time for us to start scoring goals like that.

    Garry Fleming scored his first goal for the club with a brilliant penalty, he struck it really well, really pleased for “Gazz” he has been very consistent for us over the last couple of months but I am delighted for the whole team I don’t like singling out players - Ross Stewart will get all the plaudits in the press and deservedly so but Callum Crane, Jamie McCart were fantastic, I thought Iain Flannigan made a difference when he came on as well, everybody contributed and we will take a lot of confidence from the game and have another great game on Saturday to look forward to against Queen’s Park, everybody loves going to Hampden Park so the boys will look forward to that one and I will have a problem picking a team now!

    Special night for Kevin Cawley making his 250th first team appearance, Kevin is a great professional, I was very fortunate when I took over the job with the kind of characters in the dressing room - likes of Kevin Cawley, Iain Flannigan, even Graeme Holmes who has now left, these were boys at this club prior to me coming, Kevin had left previously but it shows how we try to do things at this club that we were able to encourage him back and for Kevin to do 250 games with any club these days is a great achievement and listen he has got another 100 in the bag if he wants because he is like the “energizer bunny” he just never stops running and he doesn’t look like he is ever going to get old he is like “Peter Pan” so we are delighted to have him and I know other managers, which I won’t name who would love to have him as well, we are very lucky to have him and we could all do with more “Kevin Cawleys”. 

    Jim Goodwin

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