‘Quality’ names in the frame for Raith job

Dumbarton boss Stevie Aitken has spoken to Raith but is not the only candidate for the manager's job.
Dumbarton boss Stevie Aitken has spoken to Raith but is not the only candidate for the manager's job.
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Raith Rovers are hoping to appoint a new manager before the end of the month.

The board of directors are currently in the process of narrowing down potential candidates following the departure of Ray McKinnon to Dundee United last week.

Laurie Ellis, assistant manager, has followed McKinnon to Tannadice along with fellow coaches Darren Taylor and Grant Johnson leaving the door open for a completely new management team.

A number of names have been linked with the Stark’s Park vacancy, however, the Press understands that reports this week of Stevie Aitken emerging as the clear frontrunner are exaggerated.

The current Dumbarton boss has been spoken to but is only one of a number of candidates that the Raith board are considering.

Albion Rovers boss Darren Young is also believed to be in the frame, while former Rovers players Danny Lennon, Stevie Crawford and Colin Cameron are all among the bookies favourites.

Eric Drysdale, Raith chief executive, said: “We’re in the process of thinning out the list of candidates, which is quite lengthy.

“Last year we had 140 applications, but this year it’s more about quality than quantity.

“Yes, we have dozens of applications, but it’s quite noticeable that the overall quality of applicant is higher than previously seen.

“There are one or two stranger ones shall we say, but most of them are credible so we’ve got a bit of a task on our hands to narrow that down.”

To ensure they get he right man to replace McKinnon, the board has sought the advice of senior players Kevin Cuthbert and Jason Thomson.

“We know it’s important that we make the right appointment and, apart from speaking amongst ourselves and agreeing the criteria, we have spoken to Jason and Kevin and tried to tease from them what they as senior players feel makes a successful coach and manager.

“What are the attributes, for example, that made Ray McKinnon do as well as he did, and what should we be looking for in our new manager?

“Names were deliberately not mentioned, we weren’t looking for them to suggest names at all.

“It’s purely the characterstics and attributes that in their opinion would work, and we’ve taken that into account when looking at the names that have come in.

“The selection process is ongoing and when we reach our decision we’ll make an announcement.”

Drysdale believes that the high standard of applicants is a reflection of the increased profile of the club following the play-offs.

“We did well in the second half of last season, got into the play-offs, got a bit of publicity and that’s clearly gone far and wide,” he said.

“People recognise the potential that exists to hopefully one day take the next step with this club into the Premiership.”

With a strong nucleus of the play-off squad already retained on extended contracts, Raith do not need to rush into an appointment, however Drysdale is keen to get someone in soon, adding: “We would certainly say it would be May rather than June.”

Meanwhile Raith are believed to be closing in on the signature of Craig Barr.

The defender was in advanced talks with McKinnon prior to his departure and a contract extension for the 29-year-old could be finalised in the next few days.