DUNFERMLINE manager Allan Johnston has revealed his players have been practising penalties ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Morton – and has backed them to overcome their hat-trick of misery if they win another spot-kick at Cappielow.
Dundee United keeper Cammy Bell created history by saving all three of the penalties the Pars were awarded in the space of just 23 first-half minutes in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to the Tannadice side.
It was a remarkable display of goalkeeping as Gavin Reilly, Nicky Clark and Paul McMullan all had efforts repelled.
Johnston insists he is happy to give the responsibility in future to whoever is confident and fully believes he will never be involved in such an extraordinary situation ever again.
“We’ve practised penalties,” he said with a rueful smile. “But in training they all score penalties, it’s difficult to replicate the pressure and everything else.
“At the end of the day, it’s about whoever’s confident. The last thing you want to do is say ‘you’re taking the penalties’ and they don’t want to take them.
“It has to be one of the boys that’s confident to take it and who’s going to be happy to step up there and get the goal.
“They will do that, because we’ve got good players and it’s just one of those things.
“We’ve got a poor record on penalties – somebody told me we’ve missed the last six, which is incredible – but that will change.
“It’s easy enough after the event to say we should have done this or that, but we had the three boys who were more than capable of stepping up and hitting penalties, and have scored penalties in their career.
“It’s a situation I doubt I’ll ever come across again.”
Dunfermline have struggled to pick up points since winning League One last season, with their opening-day win over Dumbarton being followed by defeats to Hibs, Raith Rovers, Queen of the South and Dundee United.
But Johnston believes the Fifers are not a million miles from turning around their fortunes.
He added: “We’ve just got to stay positive and cut out the mistakes and keep playing the way we’ve been playing, because the results will definitely come.
“Some teams are struggling to create chances and their confidence is down, but if you went to the game at the weekend you wouldn’t say the confidence was down.
“Every player wanted the ball, the work-rate was incredible. You couldn’t really ask for much more – other than score three penalties!”