'There is massive cause for optimism' - East Fife boss Greig McDonald hails team despite play-off exit
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The Methil Men lost out on aggregate over two legs, with a 1-1 draw on the night in Hamilton edging the Bully Wee through to the final against Annan Athletic after they won 1-0 in Fife on Tuesday night.
Greig McDonald’s side got off the perfect start, with Scott Shepherd firing home after ten minutes, and they dominated proceedings at New Douglas Park. However, Shepherd was sent off for a second bookable offence with seven minutes to go, forcing the Fifers down to ten men.
And in extra-time, Clyde’s Martin Rennie struck home in the box to snatch a draw for Jim Duffy’s outfit – keeping their hopes of staying in the third tier alive for now.
East Fife boss McDonald said post-match to EFTV: “I thought the boys gave everything, as they have done all season long, and I am absolutely devastated for them when you think of how hard they have worked all season long to get to this point.
"They really rose to the occasion too and ever so well on the night. There were no nerves unlike the game on Tuesday night and we really did play well.
“If we kept eleven men on the park then I am pretty confident that we would have gone on to win the match. In that first half we had so many chances and it should have been more than 1-0 to us. The guys that came on put in a shift too but we lost out to a scrappy goal that you couldn’t do much about.
“I don’t remember Flem (Allan Fleming) having much to do at all – but I knew Jim Duffy would change something and they did go more direct, but we adjusted to it well and we really did dominate the game.
“The first booking for Scott Shepherd wasn’t a booking, and the fourth official said that too, and the second one was just two guys going to try and win the ball. The game was spoiled by that moment. We still went for it with ten (men) and if we had a kitchen sink we would have thrown that at them too.
“On another night we could have this game by three or four goals. There is, however, massive cause for optimism. The age of the squad is so young but they have really turned into a strong unit and I have enjoyed working with the group.”