Concerned John Hughes warns Dunfermline livelihoods are at stake as he slams unacceptable performance

Dunfermline Athletic manager John Hughes has told his under-performing players that livelihoods are at stake after the Pars finished ninth in the cinch Championship, ensuring their participation in the relegation play-offs.

Dunfermline manager John Hughes.
Dunfermline manager John Hughes.

Despite taking an early lead via Josh Edwards, Dunfermline ended up losing 2-1 to already demoted Queen of he South and while a victory would not have spared them the play-offs due to Ayr United’s 3-1 win over Partick Thistle, they go into their semi-final clash with Queen’s Park on a downer with the jeers of their own fans ringing in their ears.

Dunfermline have been poor all season and while Hughes has been able to lift the club off the foot of the table after taking over from Peter Grant, the spectre of the drop still looms large.

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"I'm bitterly disappointed,” said Hughes. “For what was at stake, for us to go and score goals, you never know what is going to happen somewhere else, off the start that we got ... we created enough chances to score goals, so that's there, but it was the second half that really disappointed me. I don't what happened – if they had a whisper or something – but we were flat, we were taking too long on the ball, too many touches. We did not play with high energy. That alone is not acceptable. It's probably been the story of the season.

"How do you pick them up? I'd like to think that I've got players in there who can pick themselves up, grab their team-mate by the scruff of the neck and say, 'listen, livelihoods are at stake here'. We cannot feel sorry for ourselves, it's about standing up and being counted. We're hoping we can do that, but it won't be easy. It is what it is. If we play like we can play for 90 minutes, we'll be okay. I'm hoping that the players are of the same mindset.

"It's not been the first time, the second-half performance. It's been my biggest frustration, consistency. And it's no game-by-game, it's 45 minutes here and there. We've had them all watched, we know what we are up against. We have to handle that pressure. We have to have that swagger to bring it on."