Leicester loan striker keen to impress at Raith

Raith Rovers new signing Harry Panayiotou in action against Rangers - Credit - Fife Photo Agency -
Raith Rovers new signing Harry Panayiotou in action against Rangers - Credit - Fife Photo Agency -
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New Raith Rovers signing Harry Panayiotou saw his hopes of a dream debut goal against Rangers on Tuesday night dashed by a controversial refereeing decision.

The on-loan Leicester City striker had the ball in the net just 15 minutes after being introduced as a second half substitute, but his cool finish came just after referee Euan Anderson blew for a foul against Lewis Toshney.

Raging Raith boss Ray McKinnon branded the decision to penalise Toshney as “outrageous”, and Panayiotou also saw nothing wrong with the challenge that put him through on goal.

“It was a good experience playing against Rangers - a dream come true,” the 21-year-old told the Press.

“It was just unfortunate about the goal, which should have counted, but we’ll go again next game.

“The gaffer is not very happy with it because it should have been 1-1 and we could’ve got a point out of it, maybe more.

“It happens in football. The ref got it wrong.”

It was the only glimpse of goal Panayiotou got against Rangers but it was all he needed to find the back of the net.

“Finishing is one of my main points - give me one chance and I’ll take it,” he said, which will be music to Rovers fans’ ears after five games without a goal.

Panayiotou will now be hoping to earn his first start in Raith’s next match away to Falkirk a week on Saturday.

“I was so eager to get on and show what I can do,” he said.

“I felt relaxed and now hopefully I can keep going.

“Hopefully I can get a start or come on again to show the fans what I can do.

“I want to prove to everyone what I’m capable of because I know what I’m capable of.

“As long as you believe in me I know I’ll deliver.”

While his focus until the end of the season will be on helping Raith’s push for the play-offs, Panayiotou has big ambitions to break into Leicester City’s first team.

“I’m a Leicester boy so it’s my dream to play for them,” he said. “I love Leicester and it will always be in my heart.

“I was on the bench a couple of times this season but unfortunately didn’t get on.

“I need to show them what I can do by scoring goals for Raith then go back in the summer and work hard.

“I know I can get there.”

The striker is hoping to emulate the rise of Leicester team mate Jamie Vardy.

“Vardy is a role model for me, as is Shinji Okazaki,” he said.

“Everyone is a role model at Leicester because they’ve got so many good players to learn from.

“Vardy probably has the best work rate in the Premiership for a striker so I need to emulate him for that.

“Okazaki’s got one of the best touches in the Premier League so I need to take bits from everybody and put it into my game.”