Man of the match says clean sheet was a team effort

Raith Rovers defender Euan Murray -  credit- Fife Photo Agency
Raith Rovers defender Euan Murray - credit- Fife Photo Agency

Euan Murray admitted that Raith Rovers were made to work hard for their clean sheet against Arbroath on Saturday.

The 23-year-old defender claimed a deserved man of the match award after a dominant showing at centre-half alongside Iain Davidson.

The pair were in the right place at the right time throughout a testing 90 minutes against a side who were previously unbeaten away from home in 13 months.

“It was a great win,” Murray said. “We knew Arbroath were going to come here and make it difficult for us, and try and make us not play our usual game. I thought they did that, but we dealt with it well.

“We weathered the storm for the first half hour and we’ve got players like Vaughany, who’s on fire at the moment, who scores a goal out of nothing, and from that we go on and control the game.

“If we can do our job and keep a clean sheet then we’ve got a better chance of winning the game.

“For us a clean sheet is the best we can do, and I thought the boys in front of us helped us out too, and big Smithy had a part to play as well behind us.

“It’s a team performance and collectively we’ve done well to win the game.”

Raith used the same system that helped deliver Irn-Bru Cup success at St Mirren the previous week, with five across midfield helping ensure a solid defensive display.

“The gaffer identified that shape, and if you look at Arbroath, they were unbeaten away from home in a year so they’re obviously doing something right,” Murray said.

“They were maybe expecting us to come out all guns blazing, but we thought if we could be compact, frustrate them, and then get ahead we would dominate the game better.

“Even going forward we were still a threat.

“It’s not going to be same shape every week but for this type of game it probably worked out for us.”

Murray has seen his position chop and change between centre-back and left back due to injuries, and although he prefers to play in the middle, he has performed well in both, helping the club to the joint best defensive record in Scotland, alongside Celtic, with just five league goals conceded thus far.

“I’ve done it a few times at various different clubs, although centre-half is my preferred position,” he said.

“I’m comfortable enough in both, it just takes you the first 10 or 15 minutes when you move a position to get your angles.

“We’ve been unlucky with injuries but it says a lot about the team spirit and the type of characters we’ve got that we’re still doing well.”

The victory was an important one as it took Raith five points clear at the top of League One after the gap had been reduced to three following the defeat to Albion Rovers a fortnight ago.

“We knew without the gaffer having to tell us that we dropped way below our standards against Albion,” Murray said.

“It was a blip for us, but that’s the kind of characters we are, that we come out and win the next two games.”