Aitken expects better after first home league defeat of season

Dumbarton manager Stevie Aitken admits his team was well beaten by Dunfermline on Saturday and he expects a better showing from his side in the coming weeks. With new recruits likely this week, the Sons re-building job may not be over, despite the 4-0 loss at the weekend being their first in the SPFL Ladbrokes Championship this term at the Your Radio 103FM Stadium.

Speaking after Saturday’s defeat to Dunfermline, the Sons boss said:

We never started the game right and you can’t give a team of Dunfermline’s class and ability two goals of a start, but that is what we did! The first goal was a poor decision by our goalkeeper – he has to come out get it – and the second is from our corner kick: Alistair [Roy – on loan from Hearts] is just a young boy and young boys will always make mistakes but to give the ball away like that cost us a goal and that gave us a mountain to climb.”

The second half was always going to be difficult,” continues the former Stranraer boss. “We gave it plenty effort – we had one off the bar and their keeper made a good save. Going down to 10 men was always going to make it hard and they got their two goals, so, it is a disappointing day; we have been working hard with this new group of players but, it is fair to say, we were well beaten.”

Asked whether he expected more of his players on match day four of the SPFL Ladbrokes Championship, the 40-year-old replied:

Yes, I do. I know them all and they have all came from good teams and had good careers but, ultimately, we can’t give teams two goals of a start and that is what we did today. In this league, you cannot afford to do that. We have learned over the past few years, you get points in this league by doing things right – with the ball and without the ball. Today, we never done that: we had a long afternoon. The players tried in the second half to get back into it, there was no lack of effort, but there was definitely s lack in quality.”

With Transfer Deadline Day looming, the Your Radio 103FM Stadium can expect new arrivals through the doors this midweek.

There will be players in this week – a couple of players will be coming in because I will be looking to change it – I am not willing to accept that, especially as we are struggling a little bit. One will definitely come in – a striker will be in this week – and once the paper work and all of that stuff is tied up, we may look to bring another in. We have known the last two or three weeks we have been lacking a goal threat and it doesn’t happen, then, Danny Handling comes off after 10 or 15 minutes, so your game plan is out of the window straight away.”

Expanding further on Handling’s injury, the Dumbarton boss explained:

He has got a problem with his knee: I don’t know what the situation is right now [Saturday post-match] but we signed him to be in the team and give us that little bit of quality that we had last year with Sam Stanton on loan from Hibs and Lewis Vaughan [on loan from Raith] as well. If he can’t stay fit, he can’t be in the team. He played the last 4 or 5 months with Raith Rovers and was fine; he done the full pre-season with Hibs and came through it fine – he played in all their games as we had him watched. He came to us and got a reaction in his first game away to Kilmarnock with his knee – I feel for the boy as he has come here wanting to play but he will need to get it sorted, as we can’t afford to start a game and have to make a change after 10 or 15 minutes as that hampers your game plan; he will need to go get that looked at and get to the bottom of it.”

The Sons changed formation at the break, with Aitken saying:

We had to try get back in the team – there was lots of effort but a lack of quality. It is difficult to be too critical as 15 new players have come in and we will add to that number next week: they are working extremely hard the two nights we get them. We have seen bits in games that we have liked but we need to be more a threat going forward; we are working towards that and we will get that right, hopefully, over the coming weeks.”

Looking ahead to next weekend’s break from league action as Dumbarton host Connah’s Quay Nomads of Wales in the Irn-Bru Cup, the manager responded:

We will have a look at different shapes and different personnel so I think it [the break from the league] has came at a good time for us and hopefully we can get through that match and it’ll set the boys up for the league but, we have seen it over the last few years, you can go 4, 5, 6 weeks without getting something as the league is so cut-throat. At this level, against full-time, good, teams it is something we will need to iron out. There is many ways to watch teams now with internet access as well as talking to guys like Jon Routledge who used to be here and now plays with TNS, he can fill us in, but, it is about us – if we can stop gifting goals away then we will be a match for anybody.”

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