Another new arrival at Raith, but door is closed on Watson

New Raith signing Lewis Toshney (right) challenges John Baird while playing for Cowdenbeath against Falkirk last season. Pic: Michael Gillen
New Raith signing Lewis Toshney (right) challenges John Baird while playing for Cowdenbeath against Falkirk last season. Pic: Michael Gillen

The new arrivals continued to land at Stark’s Park yesterday as the club confirmed the signing of former Scotland U21 international defender Lewis Toshney.

The 23-year-old centre-back spent the second half of last season at Cowdenbeath and has Premiership experience from spells with Ross County, Dundee and Kilmarnock.

The arrival of the former Celtic youth appears to signal the end of Paul Watson’s time at Stark’s Park, with Raith manager Ray McKinnon confirming that, after stalling on a new deal, the door is now closed for the out of contract defender.

“We have drawn a line under that,” McKinnon confirmed.

“There was an offer to Paul from the club in place when I spoke to him.

“He said he was going to keep his options open but we can’t wait all year for him so that is why we have brought in Kyle Benedictus and Lewis Toshney.

“Lewis is a big right centre-half and full-back so he will give us cover in that area. He is a young lad, a super player and a great athlete. I am really delighted we have tied him up.”

McKinnon confirmed that he is still on the look out for new signings and is keen to continue his policy of bringing in players in their early 20s.

“We are still looking to bring in a few,” he said. “I am speaking right now to a midfielder who is down in England at the moment.

“Hopefully we can get something tied up next week with him.

“We will be looking at the striker position as well.

“We have good flexibility across the front with Lewis Vaughan, Grant Anderson, Mitch Megginson, Mark Stewart up top and potentially a new signing coming in.

“Everyone we are signing is young and maybe have points to prove. They are fit and hungry.

“I am not ruling out anyone in their late 20s or anything like that but we are trying to build a team that will be here for the next two or three years.”

McKinnon confirmed that he is hopeful of landing highly-rated 17-year-old striker Craig Wighton on loan from Dundee.

“It is not done and dusted but we are interested in him,” he revealed.

“If he is available and we get him, then we will be delighted.

“However, he is not our player and at the end of the day it is nothing to do with me, it is to do with Dundee and Paul (Hartley).

“I had him at Brechin for a month and he was great.

“There is a lot of hype about him and he still needs to do it.

“But we would be delighted if we got a hold of him.”

McKinnon is now able to offer players full-time football after cutting his managerial teeth at part-time Brechin City, but he admitted that he is still facing a challenge to recruit the players he wants.

“Part-time wages are going through the roof right now and people might be married with good jobs,” he said.

“So it can be difficult for guys who are 28 or 29 to go full-time.

“They can stay part-time, have a job and earn a lot more money so that’s probably why we are looking at younger players who are looking to make a career out of football.

“This is obviously somewhere they can do that.

“But it can be difficult to recruit. Everybody is looking for good players but if somebody has more money to offer then it can be tough.

“We are in there fighting and hopefully the club and myself can attract people to Raith. I want people who will enhance the team and be a success.”