James McPake has hailed the board’s backing and the influence of skipper Kyle Benedictus as Dunfermline seek a collective reaction to their Morton hammering.
The Pars were abject in their woeful 5-0 thrashing from the Greenock side last Saturday and have held discussions this week to ensure there is a response.
McPake has been thankful for the support of chairman and CEO David Cook, sporting director Thomas Muggle and the club’s board in a difficult week for all concerned at East End Park.
And, after confessing to concerns over the weekend, he has been thrilled with the way his squad has reacted to the bitterly disappointing loss and the loud boos that greeted the full-time whistle.
Claiming they have been ‘bubbly’ in preparations for Saturday’s visit of Queen’s Park, he said: “The good thing about football, after such a bad afternoon, is that you have a game the following week where you can go and put it right. That’s what we need to do.
“It is really important not to overreact and say because we lost those goals everything is terrible.
“Now, we all felt terrible for a few days until we got back on the grass. But you see the players getting lively again and the noise comes back.
“It is a young group and you worry about how they cope with it, and they have come in, they have had their say.
“It is not just the players, it was a collective bad day – the coaching staff as much as the players.
“Myself and Dave [Mackay, assistant] take probably more responsibility for that than the players.
“We are the ones who set the team up, we are the ones who decide which formation we play, what players play, where they play and how we set up for set plays. We have had a good look at ourselves as well.
“I’m sure we will see a reaction on Saturday.”
He added: “Never mind the fans who turned up or every Dunfermline fan, we owe Dunfermline Athletic Football Club a performance.
“But that’s not us, it’s not acceptable, and it’s us who can put it right. And that’s what we’re planning to do.
“The conversations have been good all week, in terms of what we can do, from David [Cook], Thomas [Meggle], the board. How can we help?
“And it’s been a case of, ‘let’s get back to work, let’s fix this collectively’. That’s Thomas, David, the board, players, the coaching staff, everybody together.
“And if we go out and start the game properly then the fans get right behind us as well.”
McPake has revealed there was an instant response to the dreadful 90 minutes after the full-time whistle from captain Benedicuts, who is currently out with a thigh injury,
It was the kind of guidance he wanted from an experienced and respected player after the team slipped to eighth in the Championship table.
He said: “You can’t paper over it. We’re all disappointed but the one thing I will say is the leadership shown since the game has been good.
“I can’t lie, because over the weekend, and on Saturday night in particular, I was pretty worried about that.
“They are a young group. The worry was, how are they going to respond to such a heavy defeat and such a poor performance?
“I’m not going to say I’m surprised with their reaction, because I know the characters in there. But I was apprehensive about coming in and seeing them getting going.”
He continued: “Bene [Benedictus] has been excellent, different class. He was actually pretty vocal after the game, which I don’t mind.
“I’ve been a captain and an injured captain as well. It’s not easy, because you’re up there and watching it and he’s hurting. He was very good after the game.
“Then you have the conversations with the senior ones and say, ‘this is where we need you to show your leadership’.
“And then me and Dave have honest conversations with each other and say, ‘we need to show our leadership here as well’.
“Then the place gets better. I’m not coming in here and putting a front on, it’s been bubbly.
“Maybe that’s not what people want to hear. They maybe want to hear we get the whips out and batter them and run them.
“No, you just get back to work and take your time to get over it. But you know you need to move on quickly. You can’t let it linger.”