Monday 29th February 2016
DUMBARTON boss Stevie Aitken has urged his players to take the spirit, determination and concentration they showed against Hibernian into Tuesday night’s vital match against Alloa Athletic at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium.
Speaking after Sons’ stunning 3-2 victory against much-fancied Hibs, the manager praised his squad and stressed that the effort they showed in their latest SPFL Ladbrokes Championship match can and must continue over the next two games.
“It’s outstanding to beat Hibs here after the week we’ve had,” he said. “After losing five goals to Dundee away in the Scottish Cup midweek, people were asking questions. But we trust our players.
“We asked them to come in this weekend and give everything they’ve got and they did that. I thought everyone, to a man, was outstanding.
“We had to dig deep in the second half. Hibs threw everything at us. A lot of teams, when they’re 3-0 down, don’t come back. But Alan Stubbs has instilled real belief in his players.
“You might say they deserved something, but overall I’m delighted and it’s a massive three points for us. Now we look to Tuesday and the game here against Alloa.”
Asked about pressure from the next two matches, the gaffer responded. “I only look one game at a time. We’ve done that all season, never looking too far ahead.
We need to maintain our concentration when Alloa come down here. It’s going to be a difficult game, but they all are in this division.
“We’ve been troubled a wee bit with our personnel over the last few weeks, with our strikers particularly. Christian Nade is not 100% and nor is Garry Fleming.
“So against Hibs we had to set up a bit more defensively, with Darren Barr sitting in front of the back four.
“It’s not the way we necessarily want to go, but you have to understand that we’re playing against a top side – one that’s up for promotion and looking at a Cup final. So we had to do that.
“But I thought the spirit was great on Saturday, and I’m delighted for the players.”
Dumbarton remain in eighth place in the Championship after the weekend’s heroics. They are five points clear of Livingston, who they travel to meet this coming Saturday 5th March, following the Tuesday 1st March clash with Alloa.
The men from Clackmannanshire, who lost 3-1 to Livi on Saturday, remain seven points adrift at the bottom of the table and 12 points behind Dumbarton.
The men from the Rock are fighting hard to stay clear both of play-off drop zone place and the automatic relegation spot.
Sons also have a game in hand over their two rivals, but it is points on the board that really count at this stage in the season.