ATHLETIC manager Peter Grant is to remain at the club after the board of directors gave him their backing this afternoon.

In the last few minutes, the East End Park outfit have released a statement in which they have said that, whilst they "hurt just as much as everyone else", and that they "fully accept that things must improve, and very quickly", they have urged "everyone with DAFC in their heart" sticks together to "pull us through to better times ahead".

Saturday's loss at Queen of the South saw Dunfermline, rock bottom of the Championship, move on to eight games without a win in the league, with four of them ending in losses.

The full-time whistle on Saturday led to some supporters at Dumfries venting their fury and demanding a change in the dugout, which the statement condemned as "unacceptable".

The club said: "Everyone at our club, whether it is the board, the backroom staff or the players, share the frustration caused by the difficult start to our league campaign.

"Make no mistake, we hurt just as much as everyone else and we fully accept that things must improve, and very quickly. The results on the football pitch also impact on all other areas of the club’s business and on people’s day to day lives.

"However, it is more important than ever, during difficult times that everyone with DAFC in their heart, stick together to pull us through to better times ahead."

Sporting director, Thomas Meggle, is quoted as saying: "At the beginning of the season we saw entertaining and successful football. Unfortunately, we couldn't take the style and results into the Championship.

"I analyse every week with the coaching team how we can improve the team's performance over and over again. In our earlier matches, individual mistakes, losing possession in dangerous spaces and lack of defensive compactness played a big role in why we couldn't win games.

"The coaching team put the focus on the defence in order to reduce the number of goals conceded so that we would have a better opportunity to win games. Relatively quickly, these goals were achieved from a defensive perspective. Our opponents scored only two goals in the last four games.

"With a little bit of luck and a better exploitation of our scoring chances, we could have won one or two games and would then also be in a better position in the table. It is important to keep a sense of perspective at all times. Covid interruptions, bad luck with injuries and issues outwith the manager’s control are not excuses, they are valid reasons.

"Unfortunately, we lost Saturday’s game against Queen of the South when we could easily have won the match if a legitimate goal had not been disallowed. I can understand the frustration of the fans, as I am disappointed with the way the season is going as well.

"However, I see how much the team is already fighting for the club and the team, and Peter and the coaching team are working tirelessly to turn things around. I believe that we can only overcome this situation by all of us sticking together.

"Football-wise, the coaching team will continue to work on the balance between defence and offense in the coming weeks in order to be able to score goals. But the most important thing is to make the players believe in themselves.

"We are convinced that every single player has the individual qualities to help the team. Clearly, when you are not winning games confidence is affected, but positive encouragement rather than criticism is what we need from the stands at this moment as that will help us as a club.

"It is always easy to find someone to blame. In football, it's usually the coach. But after my analysis, I believe we need time for the measures to take effect.

"Peter has proven in the past that he can handle such a difficult situation. Continuity in a football club is an important asset.

"Both myself and the chairman had a long chat with Peter on Sunday, and he continues to be up for the fight and is desperate to succeed but understands results have to change, and quickly."

Addressing the fan reaction at Palmerston, the club added: "Finally, the board would like to state that the behaviour of a handful of supporters at the end of Saturday’s match was completely unacceptable, and as has been highlighted we can accept everyone is frustrated and disappointed, or indeed angered by not winning matches, but there can be no excuse for that type of behaviour.

"In addition, the original members of the DAFC board are made up of supporters themselves who have acted on a voluntary basis for the last eight years, but in recent weeks the level of abuse directed to them has also become totally unacceptable.

"Now is not the time to say any more on that subject, as our energy has to be focussed on winning football matches.

"However, the events of the last few weeks have certainly not made for a positive portrayal of our club to our new investors and potential new sponsors."

Following Stevie Crawford's resignation after last season's Premiership play-off quarter-final defeat to Raith Rovers, Grant, having left Alloa Athletic following their relegation to League One, was appointed as his successor.

Although Dunfermline progressed from their Premier Sports Cup section to the last 16, where they lost 5-0 at Rangers, their league form has been poor.

A 2-2 draw at Morton on the opening day of the season was followed by successive 3-0 home losses to Partick Thistle and Arbroath, and a 3-1 reverse at Ayr United.

Grant, who stated in pre-season that his aim was to challenge for the title, and his players were criticised by some supporters after that match at Somerset Park, after which they drew 0-0 at home to Inverness and Hamilton, and 1-1 at Raith Rovers.

Following Saturday's defeat, which he said was as "poor a game as I've been involved in", Grant stated that he would "100 per cent" not be leaving.

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When asked if he would be given the chance to turn things around, he said: "

When asked if he would be given the opportunity to turn things around, Grant replied: "You're asking the wrong person.

"Put it this way, I can tell you 100 per cent I won't be quitting, because I do my job 100 per cent.

"I know what my job is and I know what's expected in my job, and I'll work 100 per cent every day. It'll not be for me; that'll be someone else's decision.

"If that's as may be, I've had nothing but support here from Thomas (Meggle) and Ross (McArthur) - they've been fantastic support. But I would understand 100 per cent if I'm not the manager. No problem.

"The one thing I can say is I've given everything to try and do it right."