Our Martin McConnell spoke with the boss and scorer George Oakley after Saturday’s game…
Head Coach Brian Rice and goalscorer George Oakley spoke to the press after the 2-2 draw with Ross County….
Do you feel that you should have got more from the match with that second half performance Brian?
“I thought we deserved more from the match full stop. Not just from the second half performance. I thought that we had a really poor start to the match and conceded a goal that we never concede. The way we took the kick off, something that we practice and practice all the time. We did something that we never ever do, is go back to the edge of our own box. So I’m disappointed that we did that. I think from then on in it was total domination until the last five or six minutes when Ross County need to go and chase the game.”
Is Lewis Smith going to continue to grow in stature?
“I think especially second half you know, he gets his goal and it gives him a bit of confidence. But we know that he’s a good talent and we know what he’s got. He’s just a young kid. How many appearances has he got? What, 12, 15 or 16 appearances? So it’s all new to him and it’s a learning curve for him and he’s learning quickly. He’s working hard and a great kid to work with and we all know about his ability but now we have to kick him on little bit.”
Did you feel that you’d done enough to see the game out at that point?
“I don’t think you’ve ever done enough in football, it lasts until the whistle blows. But I think we had enough chances and enough possession and I thought that we were in control of the game without being confident enough to see it through but being in control of the game.”
What about the red card for Scott Martin?
“If the referee says it was a red card then it’s a red card. I don’t talk about referees you know. There’s no point in me talking about the referees as we can’t do anything. If England had made different changes at the rugby, would they have won? Who knows? You can’t do anything about things that have happened. The referee has made his decision and they referee to the best of their ability. They make mistakes sometimes and sometimes they have brilliant games. They’re an easy target. I’ll not talk about referees. It’s a hard, hard job.”
Without criticising can you tell us what it was for though?
“I’ve heard two or three different things. I’m being honest and I haven’t seen it and haven’t seen anything yet. I’ll have a look at it but two or three folk have told me that he deserved to be sent off. Now, if he did he did and if he didn’t then we can have a look at it. The referee has made his decision and I think that he did it pretty quickly, the referee. So something must have happened but I don’t really know if I’m being honest.”
That will probably feel like a defeat I’d imagine?
“Yes, I’m a bit speechless if I’m being honest. Because we did so well in the game. In the first half we had a lot of possession but were unable to make things happen. We came out to the second half and thought they’re there to be beaten. Okay, we let in a silly goal but we knew we’d come out and be straight on it in the second half. That’s what we then did. We got two goals, two good goals and we just needed to see out the game. But one ball kills us and they ended up nicking a draw. They’ll be pleased going away that I’d imagine.”
You must have thought that you’d scored the match winner today?
“Yes, I was 100% certain. We’d been so good defensively this year. We’ve been hard to beat which is the biggest improvement that we’ve made. Okay, yes we’ve come away with a draw but yes it does feel like a defeat. We can’t dwell on it now because in football you can’t dwell on what’s happened. You can only change what’s going to happen. So that’s what we need to do.”
What about the penalty claim? I’m sure you’ll say that you didn’t dive but what was your take on it?
“No, I literally had the ball and falling but still trying to keep my feet. Then I got sandwiched and fell. I even got back up and was pointing back to where I felt it all first happened. Outside the box but the referee thought I’d dived for a penalty, which I hadn’t. I literally couldn’t get my footing.”
When you’re down near the bottom it’s all about fine margins isn’t it? As you say you can’t change it but it’ll still eat away at you over the weekend because it’s two points that have gone missing.
“Yes, you can say that but one thing that we do have here is a fighting spirit. We really do. No matter what anyone says, we do have that fighting spirit. I know that tonight and maybe tomorrow we’ll be thinking that I can’t believe that actually happened. On Monday we’ll be ready to go again and ready for Kilmarnock before the International break.”
In the second half, 2-1 wasn’t a true reflection it could’ve been more than that.
“Yes and I think that will be what we feel is most disappointing. We had a lot of possession and we need to be able to kill off teams when we find ourselves in that position. I don’t know how many set pieces we had, free kicks we had but I think we need to start making them count. I could go on all day but we all know that. Yes, we’re upset coming away with only a point but at least we’re scoring goals now and that’s what we need to keep doing.”
That’s been the biggest problem.
“Yeah, it has been creating chances and then taking them. You know it’s one of them, it’s football. In a couple of games we defended so well. Okay we didn’t get the breaks to come away with good draws but now we just need them to defend well, take our chances and win games. Maybe with that little bit more experience to see out games and take points.”
It’s a hard balancing act as well. If you want to stay tight sometimes you sacrifice a bit up front and vice versa.
“Exactly. That’s football you know. It can be so beautiful at times and then be so cruel at other times. That’s the job we’re in and we can’t dwell on it. We’ve got to stay positive now and get ready for next week.”
Good to get on the score sheet again?
“Yes of course. That’s my first in a few games and I’ve been wanting it badly. Just being able to do my bit for the team and that’s what I want to do. Help the team.”