Next game is only target for Raith boss

Raith Rovers manager Barry Smith. Pic: George McLuskie
Raith Rovers manager Barry Smith. Pic: George McLuskie

Raith Rovers players did not meet their points target for the first quarter of the league campaign – because boss Barry Smith didn’t set one.

Rovers claimed an impressive 22 points from 27 in the opening round of fixtures, which is an even better start than both previous title winners Dunfermline and Livingston managed.

However, Smith is a firm believer in keeping all focus on the next game, and his only target for the players is to claim three points from the trip to Stranraer on Saturday.

“I know myself what will win the league, but when you set targets you get disappointed if you don’t meet them,” Smith told the Press.

“There’s no point in looking too far ahead. You end up getting carried away and you lose focus.

“We just ask the players to win the next game – it’s as simple as that. We don’t need any other target than the next game.

“Looking at the bigger picture I’ve got a fair idea what’s won it in the past few years, but we’re just concentrating on the next game at Stranraer and the target for that is three points.

“There’s a long way to go, but we’ve definitely got ourselves into a good place. It’s now about mantaining that consistency, and that’s the challenge we’ve set the players.”

Raith have relied on youngsters from Craig Easton’s development squad in recent weeks with Dave McKay, James Berry, Jamie Watson and Jack Smith all receiving first team call-ups due to injuries.

“We always knew they would get opportunities, and the thing with young players is making sure they are consistent,” Smith said.

“They might come in and drop out, but that’s because they still young and not the finished article yet, so we just ask them to do their jobs, use the experience to make them better, and next time they are in the team they might stay in a wee bit longer.”

Kevin McHattie and Aaron Lennox are both nearing a first team return but Kyle Benedictus is due to get an x-ray update before stepping up his recoverey from a broken leg.