Locke delighted to be back in the dugout with Raith

Raith Rovers appoint new manager Gary Locke. Pic: Steven Brown

Raith Rovers appoint new manager Gary Locke. Pic: Steven Brown

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Gary Locke said he was delighted to be back in the dugout as he was officially unveiled as the new Raith Rovers manager at Stark’s Park this afternoon.

The former Hearts and Kilmarnock boss has been appointed on a two-year contract and replaces Ray McKinnon who made the move to Dundee United last week.

Locke held off competition from several candidates to land the Rovers job and is hoping to emulate the success of his predecessor, who led the Kirkcaldy club into the promotion play-offs.

The 40-year-old had been out of work since resigning from his post at Rugby Park in January with the Ayrshire club sitting second bottom of the Scottish Premiership.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth back into it again.

“Very rarely you get a job on the back of a manager doing so well.

“Following in the footsteps of Ray is going to be very difficult because he did a fantastic job here. I know Ray well, and the season Raith had last year was magnificent.

“I’m just hoping I can replicate that in the season ahead. It’s going to be very difficult.

“There’s a lot of big, big clubs in the league - it wil be very competitive - but it’s certainly a challenge I’m looking forward to.”

Eric Drysdale, Raith chief executive, introduced Locke to the media and spoke of his delight at securing a coach with a “terrific CV”.

“Gary impressed us hugely at the interview and from speaking to a number of people within the game, we are certain that we have got the right man for the job,” he said.

“Obviously it’s a tall order to surpass what happened in the season just ended.

“Under Ray McKinnon we did very well getting to the play-offs but the hope is we can match that, or improve on that next season under Gary’s leadership.”

More from Locke’s first press conference will appear on Fifetoday in the coming days, and in next week’s Fife Free Press.