Dejected Cooper demands much more from players

PETERHEAD V DUMBARTON'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S STUART SMITH CELEBRATES HIS GOAL WITH GRAEME SHARP.
PETERHEAD V DUMBARTON'(DUNCAN BROWN)''PETERHEAD'S STUART SMITH CELEBRATES HIS GOAL WITH GRAEME SHARP.

A DISHEARTENED Neil Cooper was lost for words after Peterhead slumped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Dumbarton on Saturday, putting the pressure on the Blue Toon boss.

Peterhead are worryingly close to a relegation battle with three away games ahead of them, the next a second bite of the cherry as they go away to Dumbarton tonight (Tuesday).

The outcome of the games will go a long way to deciding if the Blue Toon will be involved in the end of season relegation play-offs.

Cooper, who is usually upbeat in the after-match interview, struggled to find the words to described his disappointment at the outcome of Saturday’s game.

“It was hard for both teams at the end of the day due to the conditions, but our players just didn’t give enough on the day,” he said.

“It’s definitely a worry now. Not enough players played well today. I know the conditions were really bad but we need more. I keep saying this and I know I’m being repetitive week after week but battling qualities are needed.

“The first goal changed it all, it was a gift of a goal, the second one was too easy when they turned Paul Emslie on the edge of the box. They had one or two other chances and we had one or two but on the day it wasn’t to be.

“It’s now a concern as we are down there near the bottom and I said to the lads that every game is now a battle and they need to battle hard if we are to avoid relegation,” he said.

“I feel it personally now, and coming in to see the lads really hurt me, but I have to ask if it hurts them enough?”

Cooper said the last four games had shown some fighting spirit from his side, but Saturday’s performance had been sadly lacking.

“We had one or two lads who played well today but that’s not good enough. We have three hard away games now and tonight will be difficult again for us down at Dumbarton.

“If some of the lads aren’t playing then they can’t complain about that. We need better.”

Cooper said inconsistency had been a major force in his side’s poor showing this season, adding that he needed more from the team.

“Ryan Strachan and David Ross played well on Saturday, but that’s just two players. It’s the same old story, one week the players are doing well the next they’re not. We need battlers,” he said.

Cooper is now calling for a massive effort for the games against Dumbarton and Stenhousemuir at the weekend.

“It’s getting serious now and the lads need to show that they can avoid relegation at all costs,” he added.