Lots of positives for Raith boss after Dons defeat

Raith manager Ray McKinnon -  Credit -  Fife Photo Agency -
Raith manager Ray McKinnon - Credit - Fife Photo Agency -
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Raith Rovers 0 Aberdeen 2

Raith Rovers’ pre-season preparations continued with a 2-0 defeat to a strong Aberdeen side at Stark’s Park this afternoon.

The Dons arrived in Kirkcaldy with a Europa League qualifier behind them, while for Rovers, this was a second friendly outing under new boss Ray McKinnon following the midweek defeat to Hearts.

Despite the defeat, Raith could once again be pleased with aspects of their performance against last season’s Premiership runners-up, particularly an impressive first half showing where the hosts were twice denied by the woodwork.

The game turned in Aberdeen’s favour after the break, particularly once further first team regulars were introduced from the bench, and second half goals from David Goodwillie and Ash Taylor sealed the victory.

McKinnon was pleased with his players’ efforts.

“Aberdeen are playing in Europe at the moment so it was a great work-out for us,” he said.

“I thought we did great for long periods in the game.

“In the first half we should’ve scored a couple of goals and we were unfortunate not to.

“We tired a bit towards the end but they were bringing on international players and we were bringing on young kids.

“There was lots of positives again and I’m very pleased.”

McKinnon made two changes from the Hearts match, with Darren Petrie starting at left back, and the teenager impressed with a strong showing.

Mitch Megginson was also handed a start up front and the former Aberdeen striker’s pace caused problems to the Dons defence.

Raith saw plenty of the ball in the opening exchanges and almost took the lead on 10 minutes when Megginson’s cut back was diverted onto the left-hand post by Kyle Benedictus.

The same post was struck again four minutes later as Ryan McCord chested down Jason Thomson’s cross and fired in a low effort that brushed the upright.

Aberdeen threatened for the first time on 17 minutes as Goodwillie beat the offside trap and forced Kevin Cuthbert to save his angled drive with his legs.

The woodwork was struck for a third time on 20 minutes as Goodwillie - who had a loan spell at Stark’s Park in his Dundee United days - curled a delightful 18-yard effort onto the top of the crossbar.

Ross Callachan was denied the opener on 27 minutes by Dons’ keeper Scott Brown who flew to his right to keep out the Raith midfielder’s well struck volley from the edge of the area.

At the other end, Cuthbert made an equally good save on 30 minutes showing good reactions to push away a thunderous 20-yard strike from Barry Robson.

The game quietened down after half-time until the hour mark, when Aberdeen brought on a further four first team regulars to turn the game in their favour.

The Dons took the lead in the 64th minute when a deflection in the box fell kindly for Goodwillie six yards out and he toe-poked the loose ball past Cuthbert.

The visitors sealed the victory on 74 minutes when an unmarked Ash Taylor glanced home Robson’s corner kick.

Despite a few promising moves, Raith failed to threaten the Aberdeen goal in the second half, while there was an injury scare for Craig Wighton who limped off with a twisted ankle.

The Kirkcaldy men are in action again on Wednesday, when Dundee visit Stark’s Park.

Raith Rovers: Cuthbert, Thomson, Petrie, Toshney, Benedictus, Callachan, Anderson (Court 88), McCord, Wighton (Matthews 69), Megginson (McKeown 72), Craigen (Vaughan 50). Not used: McGurn, Bates, Robertson, Ford, Campbell.

Aberdeen: Brown, Quinn, Rose (Taylor 60), Storrie (Considine 60), Shinnie, Smith, Robson, Pawlett (Ross 72), Wright (Flood 60), Shankland (McLean 60), Goodwillie. Not used: Hayes.