Raith boss calls on players to build momentum

22-10-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Raith Rovers FC. SPFL Ladbrokes Championship. Gary Locke.
22-10-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Raith Rovers FC. SPFL Ladbrokes Championship. Gary Locke.

Raith Rovers boss Gary Locke felt his players produced their best display of the season in Falkirk - now he wants them to replicate it every week.

Rovers shrugged off a period of indifferent form to produce one of their finest results in recent years with a 4-2 victory at venue that has proved notoriously difficult for previous Raith sides.

And with another promotion rival up next as Queen of the South visit Stark’s Park on Saturday for the live BBC Alba 5.15 p.m kick-off, Locke is calling for another big performance.

“I thought it was the best we’ve played,” he said “We’ve had two or three really good performances this season but to go to Falkirk, score four goals, and win in the manner we did, I was delighted.

“At times we played some great stuff, but the only way you’re going to play as well as that is through hard work, and I thought our work-rate was great as well.

“There’s one or two players who were maybe off form the last few games but they looked back to how they started the season. If we can keep that going and gain a wee bit momentum then great, but we’re not going to get carried away.

“It’s one good performance, but we’ve got to make sure we do that on a more consistent basis.”

The result went some way towards answering questions over Raith’s ability to make a top four push this season after a run of only one win in seven.

“We believe massively in the squad we’ve got - and we say that to the players every day,” Locke stressed. “We see their quality day in, day out and we’re just asking them to replicate that on a Saturday.

“It’s been a hard run and to take four points from two fixtures against Hibs and Falkirk is great. The next two games are equally as hard and we’ll need to be at our best to get anything out of them.”

The first name on Locke’s team sheet this week is likely to be Mark Stewart after the striker marked his first league start of the season in Falkirk by scoring twice and setting up another in one of his best displays in a Raith shirt.

“It’s been a frustrating period for Mark, and me, because I’ve not been able to pick him,” Locke said. “He played pre-season and got injured, then he came back against Forfar, and got injured again.

“He’s been unfortunate because we know his quality and that he’s got so much to offer the team but he’s not really been up to pace to start games.

“But now he’s had a run of four or five weeks where he’s trained every day. I felt he was a player who could cause Falkirk problems and fortunately for us he did that.”

Rovers face a Queens side who have lost their last two fixtures after a previously unbeaten start to the league campaign but Locke is expecting a tough game.

“They are up near the top of the league for a reason,” Locke stressed. “They’ve got quality players and they’ve started the season well.

“We’ve had a blip, Hibs have had a blip and now Queens are having one - but they are the only team who have beaten us convincingly this season so we know how tough Saturday is going to be and if we’re enot at it, we’ll come unstuck. We have to make sure we put in similar peformance to Saturday.”

Bobby Barr was on crutches this week after injuring his knee against Falkirk so is highly doubtful, although Hearts loanee Liam Smith may return to the squad.