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Sport Dunfermline boss Stevie Crawford opens up on Hibs loanee Fraser Murray and impact of Steven Whittaker

11:00  01 december  2020
11:00  01 december  2020 Source:   scotsman.com

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Dunfermline boss Stevie Crawford praises on-loan Hibs midfielder Fraser Murray for his reaction to being dropped at the … Don't miss a move! Sign up for a FREE NewsNow account and get our daily email alert of the top transfer stories.

Dunfermline Athletic head coach Stevie Crawford : "It's a nice feeling to get the win. Mark Ridgers will be disappointed with the goal, but I'll take it. "At times, there wasn't a lot of football getting played, but we stood up to it. "It's a massive lift for everyone at the club. It's a big win because you look at other

Some managers see the job like a game of chess, where the kudos is in buying the best set and then moving the figurines about the board in a test of tactical prowess.

Steven Whittaker playing a game of frisbee on a green field © Former Hibs team-mates Fraser Murray and Steven Whittaker have made a positive impact at Dunfermline...

For others, greater satisfaction is derived from helping carve those figures, before utilising a game-plan that allows them to shine.

Dunfermline boss Stevie Crawford falls into the latter category, through design as much as necessity.

“I love it,” he says of the coaching side of his role. “It is the closest thing to playing.

“It is a challenging part of the job and it does take up a lot of time but the biggest enjoyment I get from my job is making an impact and trying to help people get better. That doesn’t just mean telling them ‘you must do this or you must do that’. I have learned as a player and a coach that when people put you in certain situations as ask certain questions of you, that allows you to develop.

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Dunfermline Athletic have appointed Stevie Crawford as head coach, with former Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara offering "ongoing technical support" in a restructured set- up . Crawford , who was first-team coach, replaces Allan Johnston, who left the Championship club on Wednesday.

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“Here, that comes from the chairman. He wants people to grow, and he understands that you have to make mistakes sometimes to learn in life.”

That desire to build players up, to give them the advice and support they need to develop, is key to his coaching style and one of the reasons some of the biggest Premiership clubs have been willing to lease him their players.

Fraser Murray is one of them. The Hibs midfielder is on a season-long loan at East End Park and Crawford views that as a positive for all three parties.

Benefiting both parties

“I’m not naive. I realise that if things don’t work out for Fraser at Hibs, then we hope we will have made a lasting impression and he would maybe regard Dunfermline as a place he would like to play his football,” says Crawford.

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Stevie Crawford 's team ran riot in the first half, with excellent goals from Ryan Dow, Andy Ryan and Tom Beadling. St Mirren, meanwhile, will have to hope the Fifers slip up in their remaining three fixtures against League Two Albion Rovers and Edinburgh City, and Lowland League East Kilbride.

“But, he has developed in his short spell here and hopefully he keeps that progress going and can go back to Hibs and compete for a place there.

“If things do work out for him at Hibs, he can talk to younger players there and convince them that if the opportunity arises then they should sign for ourselves or join us on loan. So it works all ways.”

Having aided the development of Kevin Nisbet, Hibs’ top scorer this season, there was already proof of Dunfermline’s worth to Crawford’s former employers and he saw enough in Murray to convince him that linking up with the young midfielder could also advance his club’s promotion hopes.

  Dunfermline boss Stevie Crawford opens up on Hibs loanee Fraser Murray and impact of Steven Whittaker © Dunfermline sit top of the Championship under Stevie Crawford.

Talking up the character and humility of the 21-year-old, who accepted he could not be guaranteed game time with the Fife club but chose to back himself and sign up for the season anyway, Crawford has been impressed by the Easter Road youth graduate.

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“Football is a great place when you are in the starting XI and playing every week. It is the demands the game puts on you when you are not managing to get match time, that tests players. There are a lot of people out there who maybe don’t have their best interests at heart and can unsettle them. But Murray’s attitude, he says, has been fantastic

“I also like Fraser’s versatility. I have watched him over the years and Hibs asked him to play different positions, in first team games or reserves. He could play a number of them well and he would get on with it. There wasn’t any petulance on the pitch.

a group of football players on a field © Murray scored for the Pars against Kilmarnock.

“I think he can deal with the ball, he has growth in him and his goals down at Kilmarnock [in the Betfred Cup] showed he can score more goals and we can help him add that. He works hard on the training ground and, physically, he has developed over the years so he obviously applies himself well in the gym.”

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A dying breed

Hailing his lack of ego and describing him as “a good type to have about a team that wants to be competitive and do well”, the same could be said of one of the men who vouched for him, Steven Whittaker.

A summer signing from Hibs, Crawford cannot speak highly enough of the veteran player/coach.

“Sometimes you get talkers and then you get doers and Steven is both. He has been a fantastic signing for ourselves in terms of what he brings to games on the pitch but equally how he behaves off it has been really refreshing.

“I wish there were more Steven Whittakers because it’s a dying breed.”

Calm during a match, his knowledge is equally as valuable off it, says Crawford.

“His insight and knowledge – the discussions we have on the coaching side are fantastic but even as a player, I look back on the GPS results and over pre-season Steven was covering most ground, at 36! That’s not a slight on all the rest of my squad because they were working extremely hard as well but that is what Steven is all about and you can see why he has had such a successful career.”

  Dunfermline boss Stevie Crawford opens up on Hibs loanee Fraser Murray and impact of Steven Whittaker © Whittaker has been in fine form for Dunfermline.

Accumulating that winning blend of influential players and partially-hewn team-mates, Crawford’s side currently top the Championship, justifying his approach and the faith he has been shown. While acutely aware of the game’s capacity to turn on those who take any aspect of it for granted, he has a lot of belief in the squad he has assembled.

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a man wearing a green shirt © Hibs signed Kevin Nisbet from Dunfermline.

“For the first time in my time as manager, I look at my squad and although we are far from the finished article, I do think we have a great blend of experience, who want to help young players develop. We have players who like to take people on, players who will compete and who take pride in not conceding goals, and we have players who are young and talented who we believe have progression in them. With the right people around them, they can hopefully all go on to become even better players.”

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