Dunfermline Athletic: Jim Jefferies stood down 'to ease pressure'

Neil McCann, John Potter and Jim Jefferies in the Dunfermline dugout
Neil McCann and John Potter have taken charge after Jim Jefferies' resignation

Jim Jefferies says he decided to retire early from the role of Dunfermline Athletic manager to take the pressure off their young squad.

The Pars were knocked out of the Scottish Cup 3-1 by Stranraer.

Fans' criticism heightened when their promotion hopes suffered a blow, losing by the same score to Airdrieonians.

"What was the main reason was that the players wouldn't be able to give of their best playing in that sort of atmosphere," said Jefferies.

The 64-year-old had already planned to hand over to assistant John Potter and coach Neil McCann next summer and, 24 hours after Saturday's League One defeat, Jefferies decided that he would bring that forward.

Former Dunfermline Athletic manager Jim Jefferies
"We turned the corner after a wee sticky spell - three great performances - but then it was the manner in which we lost the last couple of games that made me feel that I couldn't keep going in there hammering them all the time."

"I have had more praise than criticism here and it is not because of criticism because it is water off a duck's back," Jefferies told the Pars' website.

"I decided that, if I passed on the role to John and Neil, it would be a bit more relaxed.

"The players would maybe not have to suffer and hopefully everybody would rally and get behind the team."

Jefferies, who previously managed Berwick Rangers, Falkirk, Hearts, Bradford City and Kilmarnock, took over at East End Park in 2012.

He was unable to prevent the Pars dropping out of the top flight and they suffered a second successive relegation after a points reduction for going into administration.

That came via a defeat by Alloa Athletic and they also lost out in the play-offs last season as they eyed promotion after losing to Cowdenbeath.

Defeat by Airdrieonians means they now lie fourth in League One, having slipped five points adrift of leaders Forfar Athletic, but Jefferies thinks the Pars are still capable of promotion.

"It would be nice to go up as champions," he said. "But, if it has to be play-offs, it would be nice to be third time lucky. It is all about getting up.

"We turned the corner after a wee sticky spell - three great performances - but then it was the manner in which we lost the last couple of games that made me feel that I couldn't keep going in there hammering them all the time."

Dunfermline Athletic manager John Potter
"I am from Dunfermline, I supported them, played here, left then came back and I am just delighted that they have given me the opportunity to take over."

Potter is in his second spell at his hometown club, the 35-year-old former defender having returned to East End Park in 2011 as a player after spells with Clyde and St Mirren.

He explained that Jefferies had thought about retiring last summer but had decided to stay on.

"The plan had been that this would happen at the end of the season," said Potter. "I am just delighted that they have given me the opportunity to take over.

"I am from Dunfermline, I supported them, played here, left then came back.

"A lot of my family and friends are Dunfermline fans and for that I am really proud of the achievement.

"It is a big thing and I have worked hard in the last wee while to try and get here. I think I deserve a shot at it and I am confident."

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