McHattie dazzles for Raith at both ends of the park

Kevin McHattie - credit - FPA  -
Kevin McHattie - credit - FPA -

Kevin McHattie may have dazzled BBC Alba viewers with a sublime piece of skill, but it was in his defensive duties that the Raith Rovers full back impressed most in the 1-0 win over Queen of the South on Saturday.

The 23-year-old bamboozled Queens defender Darren Brownlie with a highlight reel stepover that any Brazilian would have been proud of in a move that almost led to a Rovers goal.

However, at the other end, McHattie showed the uglier side to his game as he made several crucial blocks and interceptions to prevent the Dumfries side from scoring.

“That’s the main thing as a defender – clean sheets,” McHattie said “That’s something we try to do every week. We’ve got the players who can go up the park and score goals, so as a defender that’s the main point.

“It’s a team game but you try to do your individual things to help the team out. It’s great to come off the park to think you’ve stopped a goal-scoring chance.”

McHattie has shown why Gary Locke was keen to bring him to Stark’s Park with recent impressive performances, while he has also chipped in with a couple of goals.

“We’ve got good wingers at the club who get up and down, which helps me out,” he said. “If I go, then Chris Johnston or Bobby Barr, or whoevers playing in front, will sit and do the job for me, which I find great.

“It really helps my game.”

After taking seven points and keeping two clean sheets from three games against sides in the top four, the former Scotland Under 21 says the spirit in the squad is high.

“Everyone gets along with each other and it’s a great changing room to be in,” McHattie said. “It shows on the park when the team comes together like Saturday and grinds out result.

“The game was a battle, but it’s pleasing to play so poorly and come away with three points. The boys stuck at it, battled away and got our rewards. It’s a great three points for us.”

McHattie grew up a Raith supporter in the family home in Glenrothes so is all too aware of the importance of this weekend’s Fife derby fixture at East End Park.

“It’s a massive game for the fans – and the players as well,” he said.

“We’re up to third now so if we can pick up another three points we’ll put ourselves in a great position going into the international break.”