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Q&A With... Craig McKeown

By Grant Morton
Wed, 5th Mar 2008 11:00pm

Recently installed team captain Craig McKeown took the responsibility of talking to the Official Website's Grant Morton this week, following Saturday's painful defeat. The centre-half gave a full and frank interview...

GM: Can you talk us through what went wrong on Saturday?
CM: It was a massive disappointment. We all let down the fans and we know that sort of performance is not acceptable. We started well, but the goals could've been easily prevented. The only positives are that we still had eleven players on the pitch at the end and that we kept it down to four. We were very, very poor.

Performances haven't been great of late. Why do you think this is?
I don't think you can put a finger on what it is exactly. We're all aware of the situation and we know that the level of performance from some players hasn't been great. But we all need to rally together; players, manager, coaches and the fans and look forward to the game against Livingston on Saturday.

Why do you think that home form has been particularly poor?
I don't think there is any particular reason. I think maybe at home a couple of the players lack confidence, especially as the players do hear what is shouted at them. The younger players have had a lot asked of them this season. But we need to start grinding out results.

Do you think that the poor form can be linked to the new regime and the changes at the club?
I don't think you can say that. Change midway through a season is never a good thing, but it isn't an excuse for poor performance. The level of performance has just not been acceptable. No matter who the manager is, he picks the team but it's up to the 11 players on the park to deliver and we haven't done that.

So how do we get out of the current slump?
We need to stay positive. As I've said, everyone needs to rally together, all people involved with the club. I'm positive that we have the quality to stay up, but we need to start producing the goods now, as it isn't acceptable to play the way we have been.

The new manager has stated that fitness is an issue. Was the team unfit for the first half of the season?
If the manager feels that fitness is unacceptable then so be it. I have to agree with him. I think a lot of it though has been mental fitness. We've been letting teams back into games this season when we should be looking to finish them off.

Could it be said that the increased training schedule may be leaving the players sluggish on match days?
I think that would be an easy excuse. We are meant to be professional athletes so I don't think we can use that as a reason for not performing. I can only speak for myself, but I believe it is up to us to win games and if we were winning then none of these questions would arise, so I would shy away from using that as an excuse.

Relegation is now on the minds of many fans. Is it on the minds of the players?
Obviously it has been well documented but there is no talk of relegation here. We have to stay positive but I can understand why the fans are thinking of it. We need to work hard and make sure that the work rate we give in training starts to appear on the pitch.

How do you think the new players have performed since coming in?
I think it is hard to judge the new players as they have come into a team where no-one is playing at their best. We are delighted to see the new faces as it means we now have a big enough squad to make changes when needed, like in the Morton game. But it isn't just about the new players. Everyone needs to raise their game by 20-30% for the remaining games.

Are you surprised to have been given the captaincy, bearing in mind your move to Dundee?
I'm honoured to be the captain of this club. It isn't just about one player though. We need 11 captains on match days. Dundee hasn't entered my mind yet, as I'm not a Dundee player just now, I am a Clyde player, and I am going to do my utmost to help this club succeed.

The next game against Livingston is massive. How is the preparation going?
Everyone has been working hard. We've had a couple of wee knocks in training but are ready to go and get the right result. Training has been as good as it can be after last week. It is up to us to put last week out of our minds and get a positive vibe and the right spirit in us ahead of Saturday.

Are the next three games (Livingston, Morton, Stirling Albion) must win games?
I would say they are massive, but we have ten games left and they are like ten cup finals. We mustn't get ahead of ourselves. We need to take things one game at a time. At the moment we are 100% focused on Livingston.

How will you look back on your time with Clyde?
I've very good memories here and I haven't got a bad thing to say about the club. If it wasn't for Clyde I would have ended up going back to part-time football somewhere up in Aberdeen so I am very grateful for the opportunity the club gave me. I'll have great memories.

Any messages for the fans?
I would like to say that we know it's a very hard period for them but I ask them to get behind us. Myself and all of the boys are staying focused but we need everyone to stay positive. I, personally, do not want this club to go down. I'm really committed to helping this club to stay up, and will give 100% in achieving it.