RAITH Rovers stalwart Laurie Ellis will be honoured for 10 years service with a testimonial match next month.
The popular defender has totalled a decade in a Rovers shirt over three separate spells, which the club will mark in a special preseason fixture against his boyhood favourites Hearts at Stark’s Park on July 14.
The match was the initial idea of club historian Ally Gourlay who approached the board of directors last year to inform them that Laurie had hit the magic 10 – and the wheels were set in motion.
With a fixture now in place, Ally is leading a committee of volunteers who will help organise Laurie’s big day.
Speaking to the Press this week, an emotional Ellis said: “I couldn’t believe it when this game was offered to me – but I’m delighted.
“I never imagined I would get that kind of recognition. It’s going to be a great occasion for my family.
“It’s hard to describe how grateful I am to the club, and the team that is putting the testimonial together. I’ll always been indebted to them.
“My only regret is that I’ve not managed to do 10 years in one spell, because I would have loved to.
“That’s not going to take away from the time I’ve had at the club, or from how special it is for me to play at Raith.”
Ally paid tribute to the player, adding : “Laurie is one of club’s all time greats without a doubt.
“I’ve known him since he was 18 when he arrived at the club first time around and there’s a sense of pride at having watched him develop into the player he is now, and see how respected he is.
“There’s not a single fan with a bad word to say about Laurie, and a lot of that goes beyond the football to the type of character he is.”
In 129 of years history, Ellis is the club’s 19th top appearance holder, with the potential to rise even further up the table next season.
Ally added: “When you think about players who have come and gone there’s nobody more worthy of game like this than Laurie for what he’s given to club in many different aspects."
The match is likely to be Hearts first on Scottish soil since lifting the Scottish Cup, and organisers hope that will help attract a bumper crowd to boost Laurie’s coffers.
Ellis’ close relationship with Raith fans should guarantee a good turn-out of Rovers faithful.
Laurie added: “Football is a very critical industry, but I’ve always given my all and the fans here have appreciated that.
“I could be here for hours talking about grateful I am to them.”
For a full in-depth feature on Laurie Ellis’ Raith career, pick up a copy of this week’s Fife Free Press