Raith boss positive goals will come as Leicester striker seals loan move

Stark's Park - Kirkcaldy - Fife -  Raith Rovers card collection launched - with Lewis Toshney, Lewis Vaughan & Jason Thomson -   credit - fife photo agency -
Stark's Park - Kirkcaldy - Fife - Raith Rovers card collection launched - with Lewis Toshney, Lewis Vaughan & Jason Thomson - credit - fife photo agency -

Raith Rovers boss Ray McKinnon has urged his players to remain positive in their bid to get back on the goal trail.

Rovers remain fourth in the Championship but are currently going through a sticky spell with only one win in 10 league games and no goals scored in the last four.

However, McKinnon insists that there is enough encouragement in the performances to suggest that results will turn around.

“We’re not the only club that’s gone through a spell of not getting the rub of the green, and not putting the ball in the net,” he said.

“It’s part of football, and it’s just about handling it. The players have got to handle it, and we need the crowd to help them handle it. The last thing we want is people afraid to have shots at goal.

“If someone said at the start of the season that we’d be fourth right now, you’d have snapped their hand off, especially with the problems we’ve had.

“We had chances on Saturday, and if one of them go in it’s a different story. I’m not getting hung up on it, and I’m not putting pressure on the players.

“Everybody has got the responsibility to keep creating chances and if we keep doing it, the law of averages says we’ll bury one.

“That is the message to the players - keep going out to win, keep being positive, and keep creating chances - and when we take one, everything will be fine.”

Raith’s striking options have been boosted with the capture of Leicester City striker Harry Panayiotou (21) on loan until the end of the season.

Panayiotou has progressed through the youth ranks at the English Premiership leaders and scored on his only senior appearance for the Foxes, which came against Leeds United on the final day of the 2011-12 season.

The striker is a regular scorer for Leicester’s under 21 side and was named the club’s U21 player of the year last season.

He has also earned six caps for Saints Kitts and Nevis, scoring four times including a hat-trick in a World Cup qualifer against Turks & Caicos in March 2015.

Panayiotou trained with his new Raith team mates for this first time this morning and subsequently tweeted: “Happy to have joined @RaithRovers_FC on loan to the end of the season, now to show everybody what I can do.”

Mitch Megginson left the club this week to sign for Championship rivals Alloa Athletic after finding first team opportunities limited at Stark’s Park.

Rovers have also had two strikers on trial this week - Norway youth cap Mergim Hereqi (23), who had a trial with Chelsea in 2012, and former Hamilton Accies striker Joel Thomas, who is back training with the Kirkcaldy club again after returning from France.

Rovers run of four consecutive home games continues with the visit of Queens on Saturday followed by the rearranged match against Rangers on Tuesday, which was postponed on December 5.

“Queen’s are a good strong side, like us, but if we continue to work hard, defend as well as we can and be at our best, we’ve got every opportunity to win that game,” McKinnon said.

“Tuesday night is a shot in the dark. If you win or even take a point it’s a bonus, but if you lose nobody’s expecting anything.

“Rangers are a quality team, but if we put in a solid performance I reckon we can do something against them.”

Off the park, Rovers are releasing a new series of collector cards to encourage younger fans to attend matches following on from a successful pilot project last year.

The 2015/16 Raith Rovers Collector Series features 31 iconic images of players, management and backroom staff.

The aim is to get kids attending regularly, helping them identify the full squad and encouraging them to interact with the players to get their signatures.

Beginning on January 30, members of the Roary Club will get a free pack of five cards every game they attend.

Some of the cards have been signed by the players and placed randomly in the packs. Later in the season, there will be a half-time trading station set up to help Roary Clubbers complete their sets along with a signing session with players.

Cards can be collected before each match from the Supporters Trust Table in the South Stand concourse, or the ticket office if in the Turnbull Hutton stand. Membership of the Roary Club is free and open to anyone of primary school age. Email roaryclub@raithrovers.net to sign up your youngster.