Friday night football: A Ramsdens repeat, or Rangers revenge?

Ally McCoist and Grant Murray will go head-to-head for the first time since the Ramsdens Cup final at Stark's Park tonight. Pic: Neil Doig
Ally McCoist and Grant Murray will go head-to-head for the first time since the Ramsdens Cup final at Stark's Park tonight. Pic: Neil Doig

Raith Rovers will be out to repeat their Ramsdens Cup heroics against Rangers at Stark’s Park tonight.

The live televised Championship match will be the first meeting of the two clubs since Rovers historic cup final victory at Easter Road last season.

Rangers have recovered from an opening day defeat to Hearts with three wins on the trot, while Raith have also collected nine points out of 12.

Rovers manager Grant Murray insists his team should respect, but not fear their opponents in front of an anticipated crowd of around 7000.

“We should approach the game with confidence but we respect Rangers because they are a massive club, and a very good team,” Murray said.

“They lost their first league game against Hearts but have shown their qualities by bouncing back with convincing wins.

“They have international players in their squad, and they have come up the leagues with a winning mentality.

“They may want a bit of revenge for the Ramsdens Cup, but we just have to concentrate on our own game and make sure we are at our best.

“We need to start the game well, and not allow Rangers to come and dictate the whole game.”

Raith fans will hope their team give a better account of themselves against one of the league’s big three after losing 4-0 at home to Hearts last month.

“We were disappointed after the Hearts game but that’s how difficult it can be when an opposition of that calibre are at their very best,” Murray said.

“We bounced back with a good derby win against Cowdenbeath, now this is a totally different game.

“It’s a Friday night, so it has a different feel about it, and it’s live on the telly, so there will be a lot of attention on it.

“Rangers will bring a massive support so the atmosphere will be there.

“Yes it’s a difficult game, and big test, but if you’re a player you should be looking forward to it.”

Murray does not expect Rangers latest financial meltdown to affect Ally McCoist’s players.

“It will have no impact whatsoever,” he stressed. “It’s certainly not showing in their results so far and I don’t see Friday being any different.”

Tickets for Raith supporters will be on sale from Stark’s Park up until 2.00 p.m today, however Rangers tickets have sold out.

Rovers will be without recent Rangers loan recruit Barrie McKay as the terms of his loan prevent him from playing against his parent club.

“It’s unfortunate that he’s not available because he’s a good addition for us,” Murray said. “He’s a hungry, young player who wants to play.

“I’ve seen him play in the forward area whether it be out wide, through the middle or off the main striker. He’s got that versatility in his game.”

Rovers will also be missing defender Dougie Hill, who had a groin operation last week, and Craig Barr, who may also require surgery to fix a knee injury.

“Dougie’s operation was very positive,” Murray added. “He’s on the mend now and the recovery time can be anything between two and four weeks based on people who have had the same procedure.”

Christian Nade is rated 50-50 for Friday’s match.

Murray meanwhile revealed he is not currently pursuing a replacement for Paul Smith following the assistant manager’s resignation last week.

“There’s a lot of important games coming up that we need to concentrate on,” he said. “We’ve got a backroom staff here that we’re happy with.”