Raith boss keen to freshen up squad

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Raith Rovers boss Ray McKinnon revealed that he is keen to bring a freshness to the team next season after releasing eight players, and making his first new signings.

Alloa midfielder Ryan McCord became McKinnon’s second new addition yesterday (Wednesday) when the 26-year-old put pen to paper on a one-year contract at Stark’s Park, following on from the capture of recently released Dundee United youth player Darren Petrie (19).

McKinnon views his two new additions as key components as he looks to build his own team.

“The squad is coming together nicely,” he told the Press. “We want to bring the age of the squad down to compliment the players that are here.

“We’re hoping to add some youth, energy, hunger and pace into the team.

“We looked at the squad and decided we wanted to bring a freshness to the club.

“We want hungry players who are at a good age with most of their career in front of them.”

Confirmed as leaving Stark’s Park this week were Dougie Hill, Kevin Moon, Christian Nade, Calum Elliot, Martin Scott, Liam McCroary and Ryan Conroy, who has joined Queen of the South.

Retained on new contracts are Grant Anderson, Jason Thomson, Kevin Cuthbert and Rory McKeown, on top of those previously reported, bringing the number of players currently signed to 19.

Paul Watson and Ross Laidlaw remain in talks.

McKinnon is keen to add a few more faces before the start of pre-season training on June 22, but is thrilled with the business done so far, including the signing of McCord - a player he tried to sign for Brechin - and who is held in high regard by supporters of Alloa.

“He’s a super talented footballer and has the gift of being able to dictate games,” McKinnon explained.

“He’s technically gifted and can pass the ball with both feet. He has an excellent range of passing, can pass short into the hole, or make a longer pass over the top.

“He’s an overall excellent football player and we want to play as much football as we can at the club next season.

“We see him as a good foil for Ross Callachan in there, and full-time football can bring the best out of him.”

McKinnon is also pleased to acquire Petrie, a player he previously worked with at both Scotland youth level and while on loan at Brechin City.

“He is a natural left-sided player who can play left midfield, left back and left centre-half,” he said. “He has brilliant attributes, is a very good athlete, has a great attitude and a lovely left foot.

“We’re working within constraints so we need players like Darren who can cover different areas of the pitch.”

McKinnon has also been working behind the scenes to build his back-room staff with an announcement expected soon.

Meanwhile, the make-up on next season’s Championship was confirmed on Sunday when Motherwell defeated Rangers in the play-off, ensuring Rovers will be making trips to Ibrox again next season.

“Rangers will invest heavily in squad this year - that size of club should be in league above us,” McKinnon said.

“It will be a tough ask to compete with them but it’s a great challenge and one we’re looking forward to.”