Bumper crowd for match of the day at Stark’s

Christian Nade barges between two Alloa players. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Christian Nade barges between two Alloa players. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

Raith Rovers are expecting a bumper crowd for this Saturday’s top of the table clash with Hearts at Stark’s Park.

Over 5000 tickets have been sold for the Championship’s match of the day as both clubs put their 100 per cent record on the line.

Raith can approach the game with confidence after opening their league campaign with victories over Dumbarton and Alloa.

But they face a difficult task against a Hearts side that has started with impressive wins over their expected title rivals Rangers and Hibs.

Raith boss Grant Murray hopes his players can rise to occasion.

“It’s a massive test for us,” he said. “Hearts have had two fantastic wins and they’ll come to our place full of confidence.

“We’re happy with our back-to-back league wins, and that gives us a wee bit of confidence, but we don’t underestimate how hard it’s going to be.

“We played Hearts in the League Cup last year and although we gave a good account of ourselves we still lost the tie.

“It will be a great atmosphere and the players will enjoy it, but we need to be at our very best to taking anything from the game.”

Hearts will be without suspended key first team pair Osman Sow and Jamie Walker but Murray insists that will not benefit his side.

“With a team like Hearts we’re expecting two very good players to come in and take their place,” he said.

“Hearts have added some experienced players over the summer, and they have good young players who picked up a lot of valuable experience playing top flight football last season.

“It’s of no advantage to us whatsoever that they are missing two players.”

Saturday will provide an early test of Raith’s top four credentials although Murray is viewing it as just another league game.

“It’s not about us trying to send a message on Saturday - all we’re doing is concentrating on it as one game of football,” he said.

“It’s great to have two victories from two games but it’s early days and we know how difficult this league is.

“Everyone is capable of beating each other on their day, and having Rangers, Hearts and Hibs involved just makes it even harder and more competitive.”

Saturday’s match is all-ticket with the away end, which also now includes a section of the redeveloped railway stand, closing in on a sell-out.

Home end tickets only will be available on match day up until one hour before kick-off from the Supporters Club shop outside the South Stand.

Eric Drysdale, Raith chief executive, explained: “This is an all ticket match and there will be no cash at the turnstiles.

“Supporters are urged to buy tickets before Saturday from either the Stark’s Park office between 9.00 a.m and 4.00 p.m or from ACA Sports on Kirkcaldy High Street.

“If supporters are simply unable to buy tickets during these times then they will be available up until 2.00 p.m on match day from the club shop.

The club also confirmed that tickets for the forthcoming home match against Rangers on Friday, September 12 will go on sale next week.

The game was moved to the Friday in order to accomodate a live broadcast by BT Sports.

A BBC Breakfast film crew will be visiting Stark’s Park this Saturday, following Raith director Val McDermid as part of a documentary on the famous crime novelist.

Rovers will follow Saturday’s match with a League Cup tie away to last season’s Championship title winners Dundee on Tuesday (7.45 p.m).

The game will see a quick return to Dens Park for Raith signings Ryan Conroy and Christian Nade, who were both released by the Dark Blues in the summer.

“It’s fate that these things always seem to happen in cup draws,” Murray said.

“They will be professional and go there focused on trying to do well for Raith Rovers.

“It’s another big game for us and one we want to make a good account of ourselves in.”