Head Coach Brian Rice and goalscorer Andy Winter spoke to the press and our Martin McConnell following the Scottish Cup win against Edinburgh City….
Was it a good day at the office?
“Well, I think it was a bit of a continuation from the Motherwell performance. Especially the first half when we were on the front foot and pressed the game really well.We scored a couple of good goals and then put the game to bed really in the first half.”
Andy Dales did well on his debut to get the goal didn’t he?
“Yes, you know. I tracked Andy when he was at Dundee and he caught my eye every time I saw him play. He then sort of fell out of it and went back down south to Scunthorpe. I always kept my eye on him and saw him play a couple of times still. You know, he was something that I was looking for. He’s a ball carrier and takes you up the pitch and he’s a typical winner. He’ll have good days, he’ll have frustrating days and he’ll have quiet days but when he’s good he should offer us something. And he’s scored today on his debut and struck the crossbar, so I’m delighted for him.”
Do you think he’ll be a favourite with the fans?
“I hope so. You know you’ll hear me shouting today, ‘get forward, play forward, play forward’. That’s what I want to see. I want them to go try and score goals and create chances. I don’t want to make twenty passes sitting inside our own half and go nowhere. So he’s one like Mickel Miller and young Lewis Smith, that’s three wide players that can get on the ball and take us up the pitch. Andy’s not as fit as he should be because he’s not played a lot of games. But I think we saw in 45 minutes today that he could be a big asset for us.”
You’ve obviously got the young boy Winter as well. You’ve showed your faith and given him the chance.
“Well he’s another young lad that deserves his chance. I keep saying that it doesn’t matter what age. If I think they’re good enough then they’ll play and the lad has been on the bench for the last three or four weeks. I’ve had him training with the first team for the last six weeks. I always find that if you train them with the first team, get them up to speed and battered about the place and learn about the physical side of it. And the kid also scores goals. That’s one thing about him he scores goals at every level he’s played at. It’s not a gamble putting Andy in and it’s not a gamble putting him into a Premiership game either. The kid has the attributes that I’m looking for and most importantly he has the work rate. He’s deserved his chance and scored on his debut, a day that he’ll never forget.”
It looks like a negative having your two full backs coming off with knocks. Will that effect Wednesday?
“I don’t know, we’ll just have to wait and see. We don’t worry. Every club gets injuries and suspensions. Two out and two come in, that’s the way we look at it. We’ll not make a song and dance about things like that.”
In terms of the last two games, you obviously beat Motherwell and scored five goals today. Does that give you confidence going into the second half of the season especially after the break?
“That’s three out of four that we’ve won and beaten Hearts before that and lost to St. Johnstone. That’s when we weren’t winning games. I’ll hit you with stats, three out of four. So it works both ways in my opinion. Any game that you win gives you confidence, any game, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing. But we’ve put that to bed now and need to improve our league position. We know that it’s hard going to Easter Road but we’ve one today and won our last game. We’ll go there with a bit of confidence but we know how difficult it’s going to be.”
You must be quite pleased with the way things panned out eh?
“I had a wee feeling that today was going to be the day that I’d get on. When I got on I just tried to make an impact as much as I could and then literally got my chance and took it. I’m just buzzing.”
You’ve obviously scored lots of goals at youth level. Do you think that you can do the same with the step up even at a young age?
“Yes and I think that you’ve got to have the belief. There’s not too many young strikers right now in Scottish football. You’ve just got to go out there with the same intent that you do in the games played in the youth level. You’ve just got to try and get as many goals as you can. It’s harder obviously playing today against the older, bigger men than I’m usually used to playing against but I got my chance and need to keep trying to create chances.”
Do you see a big difference when playing against the older players?
“Yes, sometimes in reserve games first team players play but it’s very rare. But it’s good today to get the chance to play against bigger players. They may not be as good as a Premiership team but they’re still a decent side. To play against men is certainly different and still need to get used too but I’m looking forward to it.”
What did the manager say to you before you came on today?
“He just said to me to do my thing. The gaffer always believes in me and I thank him for that. He just said ‘Go out there and play with a smile on your face and show what you can do’.”
When you’ve got a manager like ‘Chipper’ and you see the emergence of Jamie and Lewis, does it give you confidence that this is a good club to develop at?
“Yes, there’s always that history of them putting young players into the first team. The gaffer is just trying to continue that process and doing it very well. It’s all down to George Cairns the Youth Director, he pushes us on every single day in training. I’m just thankful that they’ve both put their faith in me.”
If you thought that you might start today, did all the family come out to watch you?
“Yes, my dad was in the stands and so was my mum and sister. That was good, it was good. That’s who I was pointing at when I scored the goal.”
Was your dad on official duty or was he just here to see you play?
“I’m not sure but I did see him up in the Director’s box. He might have been, I’m not sure. He’s still involved with the refereeing so he might have been.”
With your dad being a referee is there tips on how to get away with things and that?
“Not so much but he’s always taken me under his wing. He brought me to games when I was younger. So yes, it’s good that he gave me the opportunity to meet many, many pros as you learn from that as well.”
The first game and first goal. So has this given you the hunger to go and get more game time before the end of the season?
“Yes but I’m not going to get distracted, it’s one game. There’s still four months left of the season so there’s still a lot of work to do and so much for me to improve.”
Have you set yourself targets in terms of the rest of the season? Maybe getting minutes in the first team or things like that?
“I’m just going to keep my head down and let things take care of themselves. I know that if I put in the work it’ll take care of itself.”