Friendlies will get us ready for action

Grant Murray oversees Raith Rovers' pre-season training. Pic: Steven Brown
Grant Murray oversees Raith Rovers' pre-season training. Pic: Steven Brown
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Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray hopes to use the forthcoming friendlies to get his squad ready for the start of the new season.

Rovers kick-started a run of four pre-season fixtures in 10 days with a 2-2 draw against Edinburgh City at Meadowbank Stadium last night (Wednesday).

The next three friendlies are all at Stark’s Park with St Johnstone first up on Saturday, followed by York City on Tuesday, and Inverness Caledonian Thistle next Saturday.

With the first competitive match - a trip to East End Park in the Challenge Cup - only a fortnight away, Murray wants his players to develop the competitive edge they will need for the big derby.

“Friendlies are a big part of preparation for any team - they give you valuable match practice,” Murray told the Press. “You can look at them as a fitness exercise, but we also want to get into the mentality of winning games.

“Results are not the most important thing in these games, but in any game of football you want to score goals and keep clean sheets. We want the players to get into good habits.”

One of the most crucial objectives from the bounce games, Murray stressed, will be knitting six new signings into the side.

“They’ve all fitted well into the training regime, now they need to fit into the team,” he said.

“They all have good experience at a good level, and it’s important that they come in and gel right from the start, which I’m sure they will.”

Rovers will face a stern test on Saturday against Scottish Cup winners St Johnstone, who will be playing their final warm-up match ahead of a European tie in Switzerland next Thursday.

Rovers will face more of an unknown quantity in English League Two side York City on Tuesday (7.45 p.m.)

The Minstermen are managed by Nigel Worthington and only missed out on promotion to League One via the play-offs.

Murray also confirmed that while he is happy with the players he has at his disposal, efforts to add to the squad are on-going.

“Players are always getting put to us, whether by agents or clubs looking to put someone out on loan,” he said.

“It’s something that’s never on the back-burner, but we’ll only bring in any player that is the right type for us.

“We feel we’ve got versatility in the squad. Mark Stewart can play left, right or through the middle, and Grant Anderson has popped up on the left before.

“Nowadays wingers are quite happy to play on either side, and look to cut inside on their stronger foot.”

The Press understands that Murray has held talks with former Manchester United and Hibernian winger Danny Galbraith (22), who spent last season with Limerick in the Irish Premier League.

However, Galbraith featured as a trialist for Premiership side Hamilton Accies in a 1-0 friendly win over Hearts in midweek.