New Raith keeper Smith feeling confident after quiet debut

Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith

Debuts don’t come much easier than Graeme Smith’s first 90 minutes for Raith Rovers at Bayview on Saturday.

The 34-year-old goalkeeper was a spectator for much of the match as Rovers produced a dominant performance in the 5-0 win at the home of their derby rivals.

Smith (inset) signed for the club last week on a short-term deal until January after Aaron Lennox was ruled out for a number of weeks with a groin injury.

With Kilmarnock, Rangers and St Johnstone among his previous clubs, Smith will bring a wealth of experience to Stark’s Park. However, he was glad to get his first match under his belt after being without a club since leaving Peterhead at the end of last season.

“It wasn’t a perfect debut, there was a couple of things where my decision-making wasn’t quite there, but that will come with games,” he said.

“I’m not going to be too harsh on myself because it was good to get a clean sheet in my first competitive 90 minutes since May.

“The boys in front of me did really well, and keeping a clean sheet is always good whether you’re busy or not. So I’ll take that all day.

“I’ve been training a lot. I was in at Livingston helping out and I managed to play 30 minutes for them, I helped Motherwell U20s a couple of games, so I’ve been keeping myself ticking over, as well as doing coaching with Rangers.

“I’m confident in my own ability and I know how good I am when I’m performing well, and when I’m focused and training regularly.

“That’s hopefully the situation I’m in just now so long may that continue.”

Smith is relishing the return to full-time football at the age of 34 and admits he was impressed by what he saw at Bayview on Saturday.

“The boys were impressive all week in training, and then on Saturday they moved the ball well and East Fife couldn’t live with us,” he said.

“Fitness levels are going to be top notch with the guys being full-time and from back, middle to front we’ve got good depth in the squad, so I think we’ll be strong this year.

“We’re top of the league right now,and that’s the position we want to stay in.

“We’ll give ourselves the best chance if we go out and perform like that because I don’t think many teams will be able to live with us.

“It’s a really good changing room so it’s exciting times.”

Smith, who will combine his training at Raith with a coaching role at Rangers, revealed that his connection to the Kirkcaldy club came via fellow goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert.

“I grew up with Kevin,” he said. “When I was going through the apprentice stages at Kilmarnock, he was at St Johnstone and we’ve always just kept in touch.

“Him and the manager know what they’re getting from me. They’re getting experience, organisation, and saves, but hopefully not too many!

“I know I’ll get openness and honesty in return from them. Hopefully we can have a good relationship going forward until January, where we can take stock of how well I’m doing and make a decision from there.”