Looking up the league

4012017 SSFF raith partick 'Grant Murray & Paul Smith count down the minutes - Raith Rovers against Partick Thistle at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy
4012017 SSFF raith partick 'Grant Murray & Paul Smith count down the minutes - Raith Rovers against Partick Thistle at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy

RAITH Rovers spent the majority of last season looking over their shoulder as they battled against relegation.

But after a solid start to his first season in charge, manager Grant Murray wants the focus to be on looking UP the table.

Seven games into the campaign, Rovers sit in the top half of division one on 11 points - three points better off than the same stage last year.

Bottom club Dumbarton visit Stark’s Park this Saturday - a team without a win so far this season - straight off the back of a 5-0 drubbing at Livingston.

If Murray’s hopes for the season are to be realised, these are games his team must win.

“First and foremost we have to be positive and looking up the table is a key thing for us at this moment in time,” he told the Press.

“We’re sitting in a half-decent position, but Saturday is a huge game for us. We’re at home again so the onus is on us.

“I’ve never played Dumbarton in all the time I’ve been at Raith so it’s a new challenge.

“They will be looking for a reaction to a heavy defeat, but as a football player you have to be motivated for every game.

“You can’t take your foot off the pedal no matter who you’re playing, whether Dumbarton are at the wrong end of the table or not.

“After this we don’t play again for a fortnight and you want to enjoy that free week knowing you’ve had a good result.

“That would allow us to go into the final game of the first quarter against Cowdenbeath with lots of confidence.”

Murray admitted he was still “sore” after being denied a victory over league leaders Partick Thistle by an injury-time equaliser.

However, he was able to draw on the positives from the match, in particular the display of wingers David Smith and Grant Anderson.

“People might see it as a good point against Partick because of the form they were in,” he said.

“But we felt the game was there to be won, and to lose a goal so late was disappointing.

“That disappointment changes when you look back and realise it was a great performance.

“We take all the positives out of the game. Grant and David were both excellent. They got at the full backs and sent a lot of deliveries into the box.

“They were also put in there to stop Partick’s full backs going forward and we feel it worked for us.”

After missing the last three games with a calf strain, striker Pat Clarke returned to training this week and is pushing for a place in Saturday’s squad.