Web reporter Martin McConnell caught up with Manager Martin Canning, keeper Gary Woods and midfielder Darian MacKinnon after Sunday’s match –
What did you make of today’s game?
“It was always going to be a difficult start coming away to Aberdeen, who were the second-best team last year and will probably be up there again this year. I thought it was going to be a difficult start, but I was proud of the players. I thought our work rate was excellent and I thought we were in the game, the whole way through the game. Even with ten men I thought that we probably improved and kept the ball better as well, I thought we were good.
“I always get the same, the honesty, the work rate, the effort, everything I would want from a group of players. Again, it was always going to be a game for us were we didn’t get a lot of chances. The ones we got, I think Boyd’s one in the first half, potentially he should have scored. It was in front of goal and was a great ball in from Greg, who I thought was outstanding today. Greg had a great effort himself right on half time, it was a great save from Lewis and he has tipped it over the bar.
“In the second half, one comes across the goal that I havent seen back yet, but it somehow ends up in Lewis’s arms, the boys say that it might have hit McLean’s arm. But for me, coming up here was a difficult start, I thought we gave everything we could and we obviously got hampered with a man going off. From there I thought our heads didn’t go down and we continued to work hard. If we can continue to work as hard as that and put in those kind of performances, we’ll do fine.”
What was your view of Xavier Tomas’ red card?
“I didn’t see it well enough, I actually turned around just as he did it. I think it was a short back pass was it? I think it was the way that he has pulled him as he’s gone past him, and if that is the case then it is a second yellow card and it is a red card. But I will say that the referee was very inconsistent today. I thought it was one of those games where he booked Ioannis for persistent fouling for two or three fouls. Shinnie must have had maybe five or six fouls and if that isn’t persistent, then I don’t know what is.
“I just feel that it was maybe inconsistent, I thought a lot went against us but that’s the way it is when a smaller club comes up to a bigger place. I thought the crowd maybe put a bit of pressure on him as well. But that’s not to take away from the fact that we’ve lost the game. Obviously we’re disappointed that we’ve lost the game and started the season with a loss, but we always knew that coming up here was always going to be a difficult task.”
The referee maybe viewed it differently, do you think he should have given Shinnie an earlier booking?
“I don’t know if that is the case but whatever it was, it shouldn’t have been. If you’re going to book one of our players for persistent fouling, and somebody else is persistently fouling more than him, then I don’t know how they can’t get booked for it. I don’t want to see players get sent off, that’s not my intention, I don’t want to see Graeme Shinnie get sent off for persistent fouling or anything like it. But, if you’re going to book one of my players for it, and then I’ve got to take him off in case he gets sent off and make a change, then you’ve got to do it both ways.”
Are you going to speak to Xavier, that was two bookings inside nine minutes?
“He is an experienced guy, I’ll get a wee chat with him. Obviously for him as well, he would have been up for today being his debut for the club in terms of league debut. It’s not gone the way he would have wanted it to go, but I’ll speak to him, he is a professional and been in the game long enough now. I’m pretty sure that he has had some bad games and not done so well in spells before, and I’ll get a wee chat with him and hopefully pick him back up again. I still think for us he can be a good signing.”
Do you think that you can take confidence into Wednesday night’s game against Aberdeen?
“We definitely can, there will be teams that come up here and perform worse than us. I think for me that I’m pleased with like I say, the work rate and the effort, the boys gave us everything that they could. If we’d got a goal to get back in the game, we were running in the game right until the 90th minute and they then score on the breakaway. We were pushing to try and get back in and left two up top. We decided that when we got the man sent off, that we could easily have dropped somebody back in and left one up and defended for the rest of the game. But we tried to stay in it and have a go and stay positive. We got a bit unfortunate a couple of times, we got into half decent areas and maybe didn’t pick the right pass. But I can take a lot from it, I can take a lot of positives from the game and hopefully go and get a result Wednesday.”
What have you learned from today to take in to the next one?
“Like what you say, we knew going into the game that Aberdeen were going to be a good side. They’ve obviously lost two key players from last season but they’ve replaced them well with Mackay-Steven, Christie and Stewart. But I thought that in spells today we did well. At times, we weren’t brave enough on the ball to go and play and just gave it back to them. But you know that we’re confident going in to Wednesday, coming back to our place that we’ll be able to get something.”
It was a quite physical game today.
“Yes, there were a few tackles going in. Which ultimately gets one of our men sent off further down the line, which puts us onto the back foot. I think we probably played our best football when we were down to ten men when Massimo came on.
Were you guys too physical do you think?
“I don’t know, can you be too physical? It’s a man’s game out there and a battle, we gave our all today and we were on the losing side unfortunately.
Do you think your reputation goes before you? Obviously, you have to scrap and battle for points at the bottom end.
“Yes, well sometimes yes. A couple of them maybe dubious and you know and maybe not fouls and whatever, but they didn’t seem to get many booked themselves and there was some persistent fouling going on. But it was part of the game and referees have a hard job and we gave him the opportunity to book our players.”
The crowd were certainly howling for a twenty-minute period for every foul, do you think that played a part in it?
“You wouldn’t want to think so. You know that referees go to all the big stadiums and you’d like to think that they wouldn’t be turned by the crowd. It obviously helps the home team when they’re up and winning stuff, but that’s part and parcel of the game when you’re playing away from home.”
You’d rather have the reputation as hard cases than soft touches, wouldn’t you?
“Yes, I think so. Like you say, a few of the boys put their foot in today and paid the price for it and we had a man sent off. It’s obviously not went well for us today in that department and it is what it is.”
It’s likely to be a very different atmosphere through the week, isn’t it?
“Yes definitely, they get a lot more people through the gates. We beat them twice at home last year, so we’re confident going in to that game that we will be able to get something.”
What is it that you have over them down there as you’ve made it tough for them?
“I’m not sure.“I don’t know if they don’t like the surface, it could be a number of factors but we’ve got quite good form against them and we’ll be looking to take that into Wednesday.”
Do you think your pitch puts doubts into heads of players?
“Well I hope so, then we can start turning more sides over there. I don’t know, but obviously it’s not ideal to be playing on astro turf. Some people disagree with it, we’ve got it and have done for many years now and will just have to get on with it.”
What were your thoughts on the way the game went today?
“I thought we were excellent today. We could have passed the ball a wee bit better at times but I thought when we did, we were good going forward. We definitely need to tighten up at set pieces because it was a stupid goal to lose.
Was it an overly physical game?
“No, I don’t, but I think the referee made it look like that. It felt like he was blowing his whistle every five seconds it felt like. I said to that to him after the game, ‘you need to stop blowing your whistle, because when we get touched you’re not blowing, and when we go near them it’s a free kick!’”
Did you feel that the crowd getting on his back helped?
“Well, for them yes. Because even for the sending off, the big man’s made two fouls and I’m covering round the back anyway. So, I don’t know why two fouls, especially when Graeme Shinnie was getting let off with foul after foul.”
Did you manage to get a good look at the sending off?
“I did, there was nothing in it. It was a foul, I’ll give them that but it wasn’t a yellow card. I’m coming in behind him so I don’t understand why he has booked him.”
How did you feel you faired after the sending and Massimo Donati came on?
“It was a bit of a mixture, they sat back because they’re happy with what they’ve got. But there’s no doubt, when Massimo plays, he is a total football player. He doesn’t want to go long, he wants to play and he does make a difference for us when games go like that and we need to put our foot on the ball.”
Wednesday night, a different game?
“Yes, I want to turn them over. Today has frustrated me and hopefully we’ll get them down to our place and give them a better game.”