Our media interviewer Martin McConnell was with Brian Rice and scorer Mickel Miller at Rugby Park after the game…
You couldn’t have gotten off to a better start.
“Well, the first forty five minutes. Forty four minutes I think was a great performance. Come down here and 2-0 up. Looking okay then the game changed.”
I know you don’t like talking about referees but it looked hard.
“Did it? You write the stories not me. I’m not talking about referees. You know that. The referee makes a decision and you get on with the game. That’s all I’ll say. You know, I’ve told my players not to get involved with referees on the pitch or get involved. So I can’t tell them not to get involved then I get myself involved. No. Listen, it may have been harsh I don’t know but the referee had made the decision and we just abide with the rules and get on with the game.”
He did seem to consult with fourth official on it Brian. He did seem to take a good bit of advice.
“Are you talking about the sending off or the whole game?”
The sending off.
“Okay, aye. I agree with you. He did consult with the fourth official. They’ve come to a decision and we needed to abide it and that’s what we did.”
At the end up are you happy with a point? Given the circumstance.
“After forty four minutes I would have said no. After forty eight minutes I would have said yes. So I think you’ve got to compliment the lads for the fight and spirit which I keep talking about. They gave me everything. I want to see it for forty four minutes. It was a controlled away performance after coming down here which has always been a tough place to come. Last season we were beaten 5-0 here. That’s us been down here twice this year and got beaten in extra time and drawn today. Once again it’s a learning curve for some of the kids out there on that pitch. I’m delighted with what they gave me and I couldn’t have asked for more in terms of commitment. They were throwing themselves in front of things and let’s say the first 44 minutes was just what we wanted.”
Two cracking goals.
“Yes, they were two very good goals. Mickel has that in his locker and he should do it a lot more. Great finishing and Steve Davies is the best finisher at the club. So it doesn’t surprise me when Steve’s goes in. I’m a wee bit surprised with Mickel’s as I’ve not really seen that from him. Mickel Miller has had a hard time of it with injuries. He’s fought back and is now training every day and I think today was the hardest that I’ve ever seen him work. He knows that he’s got to put a shift in to be in the team. With no disrespect to my players but we’ve not got the best players in the league so we need to compensate in other ways. We try and do that by playing as a team and playing as a unit. I keep saying to them that we win together and lose together. I never blame anyone for anything. If anyone gets the blame then I get the blame. I’ll take the blame because I pick the team and I pick the tactics and I make the substitutions. But I couldn’t have asked for anything more from my boys today once we were down to ten men.”
What a time it was to lose that goal just before half-time. Do you think that if you’d gone in at 2-0 it would have been three points?
“I think that if we’d scored another one then it would’ve been 3-0 and we’d have been three points in. It’s all ifs buts and maybe. Tell me a good time to lose a goal? I keep hearing people say that ‘it’s a bad time to lose a goal’ but I’ve never known a good time to lose a goal. I know the question that you’re asking and it’s a completely different team talk as people say. The opposition are 2-0 down and all of a sudden the fans get a lift and the players get a lift. But I’ve just said to my lads in there, ‘we’ve been in this situation more than anyone in the league now playing with ten men’. We know what to do when we’re down to ten men and I think that you saw that today. That’s twice we’ve been down to ten men against Kilmarnock and twice they’ve failed to beat us.”
What did Owain say about that goal? Did he just take his eye off it?
“Owain’s made a mistake and held his hands up. He held his hands up at half time and held his hands up at full time. He’s a goalkeeper and makes mistakes. Outfield players, it’s the same old script but it happens. When goalkeepers make the mistakes it can be catastrophic. It was a really, really poor goal to lose but he’s held his hands up and that’s it.”
The manager was just saying that he wasn’t aware you had that in you’re locker.
“I’m still a bit shocked myself but I’ve been working hard on the training field and it seems to be showing on the pitch now. It’s all good.”
It’s been a frustrating season for you.
“Yes, definitely. I’ve had some injuries and things going on but it’s now nice to have a good run and the goals are coming. It’s disappointing that we couldn’t take the three points but we did get a point and we’ll take that.”
What sort of injury problems have you had?
“I just had a little ankle injury at the start of the season and then obviously last season I dislocated my shoulder which was hard. So just all this stuff that was mentally annoying to me. I’ve never had stuff going on like that before so it was a hurdle that I had to get over and just looking forward now.”
Was it a real big frustration for you?
“Oh yes, 100%. Especially when we won at Aberdeen and things like that.”
When you went two goals up you must have been thinking that this is three points in the bag.
“I think we we’re all shocked when we went down to ten men and still stuck in at but they then got another. Maybe last season we would have done exactly the same but then have thrown it away. It just shows how far we’ve come by still managing to stay in the game.”
When they got the equaliser at the start of the second half you must have feared the worst.
“100 %. I think it wasn’t only me that was thinking ‘Oh here we go again, same old thing’ but we did stick in there and well done to the boys.”
Do you think that the red card was warranted?
“I didn’t really see it to be fair as I was up the front of the pitch.”
What does it take to turn those draws into wins? Do you have to be a bit more clinical up front?
“I think it’s just minor mistakes that we need to cut out really. When we all sit down to watch it back it’s always silly stuff. As long as we can cut that out we can definitely get results.”
I suppose it’s one win in twelve and you’re still not in the bottom two.
“Yes, sort of but we’re still all close together. It’s definitely important to start picking up some points now.”
Big Steve scored a cracker. It looks like he’s in great form but of course he’s got to go after the sending off.
“Yes, a bit of frustration for him but I think he’s got to take one for the team.”
The manager said that Owain came in at half-time and full-time and held his hands up for the first goal. Do you guys accept that and think that’s the type of character that he is?
“Well yes. We can’t really point fingers at anyone. We’ve just got to get on with it.”