Keith Long: "We respect the competition but I'm not going to lose too much sleep about going out of it"

Mon, Sep 09 2019

Bohemians boss Keith Long Credit: Steve Alfred (ETPhotos)

Ian Templeman reports from Penny Cars Stadium 

Bohemians manager Keith Long gave a lengthy post match briefing to assembled reporters after the game at Airdrie in the Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Cup.

Reflecting first off all on the game, the Bohs boss said that overall, he felt Airdrie deserved their win; "We went in at half time deservedly level, it was a good time to score, right on half time.

"To be fair to Airdrie they commit a lot of bodies forward, and there was a lot of long throws to deal with, set plays to deal with and I thought we defended them reasonably well in the first half, and broke quite well, causing them problems.

"Even though there were quite a number of our boys that haven't played in recent weeks, and it was important for them to get minutes into their legs today, we felt that if we passed the ball crisply, moved it quicker and be a bit more patient at times in possession, we could create chances and open them up a little bit.

"But we didn't do that quite enough in the second half. The game in the second half was very open, with both teams playing on the counter attack. 

"We got back into the game having conceded a bad second goal, we started to pass the ball and that resulted in a good equaliser.  Then Airdrie get a third goal through bad defending.  It's disappointing because normally we are a bit tighter than that.

"We did make changes but that's not an excuse , we are better than what we have shown today.

"But it was a good game today. We have come out on the wrong side of the result, definitely we can defend better, and we can be a bit more patient in terms of possession in the second half to try and open up Airdrie a bit more.   

"Good luck to Airdrie, they probably deserved to win overall, with the type of defending we showed in the second half".

The Bohs boss was then asked for his views on the competition itself, and how he felt about having to compete in it, and he insisted that while it does clash with other priorities he believes there are positives to take from being involved; "It's a cross-border competition and that could be the way that football is going", he said.  

"I think you might see more cross-border competitions in the years to come from UEFA, that seems to be my sense of things. So maybe this is a pilot for other competitions that may come along in future.

"We have a bottle neck in fixtures in the league, and this game clashed with a quarter final in our national cup.  For this game we missed two players that were with the Under 21s and obviously didn't travel today, along with other members of our squad.

"It's just a pity in terms of organising and planning, the people that are doing that don't recognise that.  Airdrie had a free weekend this weekend to concentrate on the cup and it doesn't interfere with their league campaign, but it does with us because our scheduling is so condensed.

"I think, without being disrespectful, it's probably better that we are out from our perspective. We have got six games left in our domestic league, four at home and two away and a quarter final in the cup and that has to be our priority.

"We want to get into Europe, it's been a long time since we have been there and that is what we are trying to do. But I am for the competition, I think it's good for our players to experience different opposition.  We have enjoyed the competition, the hospitality here has been first class, and the hospitality last year in Peterhead was first class.

"It's a great stadium here, we don't play in stadiums like this as we don't have the infrastructure that some of the Scottish teams and obviously English teams have. So it is good from our perspective to play against different opposition. It testsus differently.

"Airdrie play a 3-5-2 and not many teams in the Irish Premier Division play 3-5-2, so tactically it's different and you are coming up against different players that are unknown to us to a certain extent.

"We respect the competition, and we have enjoyed our time in it albeit it's all too brief, but I'm not going to lose too much sleep about going out of it.  We have other priorities that we have to concentrate on and that has to be our focus."