Dunfermline Press

Boss hails Pars fans: ‘They make it a really good atmosphere’



James McPake has praised the “magnificen­t” backing from the stands for his team and hailed the “really good atmosphere for the players” at KDM Group East End Park.

This weekend, the Pars host the first Championsh­ip Fife derby of the season against Raith Rovers, which is expected to attract a large gate for the third league fixture of the campaign.

Following last season’s League One title triumph, which saw Athletic return to the second tier at the first time of asking, more than 3,000 supporters have snapped up season tickets, with the North West Stand proving especially popular.

A near- 5,000 crowd saw McPake’s men defeat Airdrieoni­ans at home in their league opener, and almost 1,000 fans followed them to Tannadice, where only a 96th minute equaliser prevented them taking all three points from pre- season title favourites, Dundee United.

“It’s magnificen­t,” McPake told Press Sport of the number of season tickets bought by Pars supporters.

“The fans have been great since the day we came in. I know this can be a cliche, about just how important they are to us, but they’re with us at home, and they travel with us everywhere, in big numbers when they can.

“At home, they make it a really good atmosphere for the players. I think a lot of that credit as well goes down to the players, because the supporters can relate to this Dunfermlin­e team, just with how hard they work, and that they leave nothing on the pitch.

“Results might not always go our way, but they can see that this Dunfermlin­e team just works as hard as they can for the football club and, when you do that, supporters will get behind you.

“Yeah, they’ll voice their annoyance when you’re not winning, or when things aren’t going right. They’ve got a right to do that but, on the whole, I think they notice the work that the players put in, and the effort they put in.

“If we continue to do that, the supporters will continue to back us.”

From the first day he took the manager’s job last summer, McPake’s one guarantee was that his Dunfermlin­e side would give their all on the pitch, and he believes that the players have fully embraced that demand.

“I think the players now know as well that to play for Dunfermlin­e Athletic, then you need to go on that pitch and just work as hard as you can, and they have consistent­ly done that,” he continued.

“The players have been great at that, but they know that that’s the minimum requiremen­t. They also know it’s the one thing we can guarantee, and they can guarantee as well.

“You can’t guarantee you’ll go out and you’ll have a good game, but you can always work as hard as you can and give everything to help your team- mate, and help the football club on the pitch, whether that’s a Saturday, a Tuesday, whatever day it is.

“They go out and leave nothing on the pitch. It’s the one guarantee, the one demand, that we’ve got from the group, and the players know that.

It’s not something we need to remind them of, although it is something we are really big on, the work ethic.

“When supporters see that, that’s the one thing that can supporters can relate to, and that’s probably the thing they want to see the most, other than obviously the team winning, which sends them home happy.

“If they see the team giving everything for the football club, then they can certainly relate to that, because that’s what the fans do when they’re travelling all over the place with us, when they’re spending their money, and when they’re coming to games on a Saturday.

“They’re doing it all for the football club, so the minimum we can do is repay them by giving everything we’ve got on a Saturday.”

Captain Kyle Benedictus also noted the importance that a packed and vibrant East End can make to the players, adding: “It’s very important. I’ve been on record saying quite a lot how important it is to have your fans behind you as much as you can.

“The more the fans that turn out, it can only do us good. They were great all last year, and I think there was a bond between the fans, the club, the players, the staff. I think everybody together last year worked together, and it worked out well.

“We’ll need to continue that but, obviously, it’s up to us as players on the pitch. We need to make sure those fans turn out and give them something to shout about.”

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