John Hughes has urged his Dunfermline players to focus on ‘the process’ despite their precarious Championship position.
The Pars sit second-bottom of the table with 11 games left to play, three points adrift of the guaranteed safety of eighth spot.
Nevertheless, Hughes has been heartened by elements of Dunfermline’s showings in recent weeks — they are sixth in the form table over the last six games — and his told his charges to accentuate the positives rather than obsess over the standings.
“You concentrate on the process and your next opponents — Partick on Friday night,” said Hughes. “We know where we are [in the table], and we have put ourselves there. We only have ourselves to blame.
“But we still have a great chance of getting ourselves out of it and the only way that we will do that is by winning football matches.
“Everyone is capable of beating each other in this league, we just need to look after ourselves.
“There is no point in worrying about what other teams are doing. Let’s look after ourselves, in the knowledge that what we do for 90 minutes can be good enough; trust each other and implement the plan.”
A familiar failing
Last weekend’s 2-1 defeat against Kilmarnock was a particular hammer-blow, given the Fifers claimed the lead on the hour-mark, largely performed well and also missed a penalty.
However, Hughes was left to lament the failure to piece together a full 90-minute performance.
It’s a familiar failing, he concedes.
“What the boys are giving me is not in question — some of the football we’re playing is very good,” continued Hughes. “I wish we could keep that going for 90 minutes, kill teams off and manage [games] a bit better.
✈ What a way to make a come-back!
— SPFL (@spfl) February 14, 2022
“When we score a goal and feel we’re in a good place, we have to manage things a lot better.
“It’s easy saying it, but doing it is another thing.
“And on Friday, we will be playing against a good team in Partick Thistle who will want want to come here and pick up the points.”
Dunfermline have already crossed swords with Thistle four times this season and, despite claiming a 4-2 victory in the Premiers Sports Cup in July, they have gone on to lose twice and draw once against the promotion hopefuls.
And they will face the Jags without key full-back Aaron Comrie, sent-off at Rugby Park last week.
The club also loaned out Kieran Macdonald to Airdrie during the transfer window.
“There is no point in moaning about it,” added Hughes. “Somebody else will have to come in and, hopefully, earn man of the match!
“We have one or two waiting on that opportunity so, no matter who it is, they will get that chance.
“We can play a different shape and have one or two who can play in there, so we are well covered.”