Raith boss giving no play-off clues in dress rehearsal against Falkirk

Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon. Pic: FPA
Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon. Pic: FPA
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Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon will keep his cards close to his chest this later today when potential play-off opponents Falkirk visit Stark’s Park.

McKinnon has rotated his team and tactics to good effect in recent weeks in order to keep players fresh, and to keep his play-off rivals second guessing.

With two defeats and a draw, Raith have yet to beat Falkirk this season but McKinnon stressed: “Performance and attitude is what’s important to me.

“If we win, great, if we don’t then we’ll move onto the play-offs.

“We’ll probably change things up again because it’s important that no-one knows how we’re going to play in the play-offs.

“But you can be assured that whatever team we play against Falkirk will be competitive and trying to win the game.

“The last thing I want to do is roll out the team I’m thinking about for the play-offs every week.
“We’ll keep changing it up and keep the freshness in there. We can mix it up right now and keep the quality and standard the same, which is important.

“Whoever plays on Saturday, it might be the team that plays in the play-offs, it might not be.

“I don’t think there will be any surprises in Falkirk’s team but I think we’ve got some things hidden.”

While Raith are heading towards the play-offs as the Championship’s form side, McKinnon insists there is no pressure on his players.

“We’re happy to be the underdogs because maybe this is the year of the underdogs - Leicester are doing it, maybe we can do it,” he said.

“We’ve nothing to lose - we’ve over-achieved already so our boys can go and play with determination, but with a wee bit less pressure.

“These clubs are all desperate to get into the Premier League but we’re there, and we’ll give it everything.”

With a play-off place already secured, McKinnon was delighted to see his team recover from a goal down to win 3-2 at Dumbarton last Saturday.

“We weren’t vintage brilliant in the first half, but there was a lot of good stuff in the second half and we’re still ticking along nicely,” he said.

“We had a chat at half-time and said that we’re not coming down here to lose momentum.

“Fair play to the guys because the challenge now is to stay mentally tuned in, and they are doing it.

“There’s still an outside chance of finishing third which keeps us focused on something to play for.

“Hopefully we can carry on into play-offs and have a right go at them.”

Raith will again be without Mark Stewart while Lewis Vaughan is still a few weeks from a first team return, despite scoring twice in the development league last week.

Scott Robertson returned to training this week after missing the Dumbarton match with a hip inflammation, while Iain Davidson will return to the squad after missing the past two weeks with injury and suspension.

For the second consecutive week Rovers will be involved in a 5.15pm kick-off due to the match being selected for live broadcast by BBC Alba.

In an attempt to tempt fans out of their armchairs, Rovers have reduced admission prices to £15 for adults and £5 for concessions.

Season tickets holders can also bring a friend for £10 if they present their season ticket book at the main office.