Ross McArthur has urged Dunfermline supporters not to judge Peter Grant by his recent relegation with Alloa, insisting the experienced coach has the pedigree and ‘aura’ to lead the Pars back to the Premiership.
Grant’s appointment was met with an initially lukewarm reception among many fans online on Friday, largely due to his failure to keep the Wasps in the Championship last month prior to stepping down.
However, Dunfermline chairman McArthur — emphasising that the search for a new boss is ‘not a popularity contest’ — reckons part-time clubs were not on a level playing field in the second tier amid COVID-19 restrictions.
And McArthur is adamant the Pars faithful will get right behind Grant when they return to stadiums next term.
“You can’t judge Peter on Alloa being relegated,” said McArthur. “It was so difficult for part-time teams last year.
“The pandemic restrictions gave managers such little time with their players and I believe Peter and Dick [Campbell] at Arbroath did a remarkable job. For Alloa, with the lowest budget in the division, to be competing at the level they were in those circumstances is like comparing apples with pears.
“When you appoint a manager, it’s not a popularity contest. It’s about picking the person with the right credentials to take the club forward.
“Peter knows he will be judged on results but you also need to judge on things like developing players and how your team plays. We wanted someone to carry on the fine work of Stevie [Crawford] and Allan [Johnston] by making footballers better, while playing in a style that will be appreciated by the fans.”
He added: “I’m not someone who goes on social media or suchlike, but I know that Dunfermline fans always get behind their club — I’ve seen them support it through thick and thin over the years — and they’ll get behind Peter, I’m sure.
“There will be pressure, of course, but Peter has dealt with that throughout his career.”
‘Possession-based, attacking football’
McArthur, who informally spoke to other prospective candidates but did not interview anyone other than Grant, continued: “You speak to Peter about football, and there is an aura about him. There is a charisma. That will rub off on people.
“You don’t play more than 400 times for Celtic and be involved in the management teams he has — winning trophies, getting to cup finals — without some special qualities.
“Peter is not only a very competent and highly-qualified coach, he is a fantastic man-manager, an infectious character and has a passion and enthusiasm which rubs off on people.
“Everybody can see the way he wants to play football: possession-based, attacking football and I believe there are certain clubs — Celtic, Hibs, Dunfermline — there is a history of playing football in that manner. It’s important.
“We spoke passionately about what we want for this club and Peter wanted to come on the journey.”