Dunfermline Athletic increased their lead at the top of League 1 with a 1-0 win over rivals Falkirk on their own patch.
Craig Wighton scored the only goal of the game on the hour mark in a match of few chances.
Falkirk manager John McGlynn said afterwards that Dunfermline “came for one point” and left with three but that doesn’t tell the full story.
James McPake’s plan was unexpected. He decided to do want many have done to his side this season – frustrate the opposition.
Change in shape
Dunfermline switched to a back four for this one and pretty much played five across the middle without the ball.
When the sides met at East End Park, Falkirk flew out the traps and got much joy down the sides – forcing the Pars into a half-time switch.
On Saturday, Dunfermline’s flat back four meant the full-backs were less likely to get forward as they do as wingbacks.
This meant less space behind them – and with the added insurance of Kyle Macdonald and Chris Mochrie ahead of them.
McPake’s plan was to sit in and see what Falkirk have got, knowing his team has the quality to create when they do have the ball.
Wighton also said post-match it was something the players had worked on in the week leading up to the game.
Falkirk had no answers. They had 59% possession and mustered one shot on target – from distance – to Dunfermline’s four.
Craig McGuffie’s shot on target:
Asked afterwards if the plan was to let Falkirk have the ball at the start of the game, McPake replied: “Yeah – the full game.
“I don’t think it was so much a counter-attacking game.
“We had a game plan to show them where we were strong in the pitch – which is the middle of the pitch.
“They’ve got great rotations and when you watch them they can cause you problems – the first 45 minutes at East End Park and John McGlynn’s Raith Rovers sides used to do the same.”
McPake said the Pars identified set-pieces as a potential match-winner and executed perfectly one practised on the training ground.
“I’d love to take credit for the set-play but that was Dave [Mackay] and the rest of the coaching staff because of [Falkirk’s] zonal approach.
🎥 Watch the only goal of the game as #DAFC defeated Falkirk 1-0 yesterday.
Full Highlights Later! 🏁 pic.twitter.com/aOtNbtoZ1C
— Dunfermline Athletic (@officialdafc) November 6, 2022
“We thought it was something we could exploit round the back area with being good.
“It worked, it was perfect.”
The Dunfermline manager joked that he’d be blaming his players if it hadn’t worked.
He then rightly gave them the praise they deserve for the victory.
Listen to McPake’s answer in full:
“I can say whatever I want, go and do whatever you want,” added McPake. “If they don’t carry it out, it’s pointless.
“So the players deserve absolutely all the credit for that.”