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Greg Shields reveals clear-the-air talks following Peter Grant exit as Dunfermline interim boss concedes ‘there have to be changes’

Hopeful: Shields
Hopeful: Shields

Greg Shields encouraged Dunfermline stars to speak their minds during a candid team meeting in the aftermath of Peter Grant’s dismissal.

Shields was named Pars’ co-interim manager alongside Steven Whittaker following Grant’s exit on Sunday afternoon.

The duo inherit the only team in the SPFL yet to register a league win, while they are three points adrift of guaranteed Championship safety.

Consequently, Shields and Whittaker gathered the Dunfermline players together on Monday morning, encouraging them to give an honest assessment of the campaign to date and their collective failings.

Dismissed: Grant

“We had a really good chat — a really in-depth talk,” said Shields. “This is down to everyone and it’s about accountability.

“A bit of autonomy is important. It’s about hearing the players’ voices as well.

“Some people have different views and you have to let them talk; that’s the way they are.

“They’re a group that wants to talk, they’ve got a lot inside them that they want to get out. A lot of them feel like they haven’t performed this season and it’s about being open about it.

“As a player, you know when you are not playing well. So, what’s the reason? Some players need a kick and some need a cuddle.

“Players lose confidence from being at the bottom of the league for a long period so it’s about giving them incentives; some different ideas, maybe a bit more freedom.”

Changes

Shields and Whittaker were both members of Grant’s coaching staff, just as they worked with previous gaffer Stevie Crawford.

And while the notion of wholesale changes in the space of 48 hours is fanciful, Shields believes an alteration in mentality is required — evidenced by a glance at the league table.

“In terms of things we have asked them to do, some are a little different from prior,” continued Shields.

“We need to be different because we haven’t had results. We are bottom of the league. There have to be changes. There has to be a different style.

“When you are bottom of the league, you can’t do the same thing tomorrow as you did yesterday.”

He added: “There’s no more room for ‘we should have done this or we should be beating teams’. We have to prove that we are up for the battle.”

In the running?

Shields’ co-interim manager Whittaker, centre

Shields, who coached at North Carolina FC prior to arriving at Dunfermline in 2019, is currently fifth-favourite to become Grant’s permanent successor with the bookmakers.

And, while he was not keen to look beyond Saturday’s relegation six-pointer with Morton, the former East End Park defender stopped short of ruling himself out the running.

“That is out of my control,” added Shields, when questioned regarding any aspirations to land the top job.

“It’s about getting three points against Morton. This week and the players are the priority — not me, and not Steven.

“We’ll play a big part in preparing them and they have to respond. There has to be a reaction and improvement.”

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